I've pissed off the local yellowjacket population.
August 5, 2006 7:32 PM   Subscribe

Exposed a Yellowjacket nest in the backyard. How do I get rid of many pissed off wasps?

I was moving a tarp that had been sitting in a corner of the yard. When I flipped it over wasps came flying out. The nest is small, not much bigger than an orange. I'd say about 100 wasps all told. I was able to get inside the house without getting stung.

The nest is now exposed to the elements, which I suppose might help, but what to do now? Most extermination guides say to use dust, but now that the nest is face up, dust will just blow off of it. My main concern is that they'll just try to settle in another part of the tarp.

Obviously I'm not going anywhere near it until the sun goes down, and even then I'm not a fan of wasp stings.

Will the fact that the nest is exposed mean that the colony will leave on it's own, or should I plan more aggressive measures? I can't leave it be, it's now right next to where we sit out on the patio. It's an us or them situation.
posted by Salmonberry to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There are some good wasp sprays on the market with decent range. I think Raid has one that shoots a stream 10 or 15 yards away.

Also, if you don't want to go the chemical route, have you considered just spraying them really well with a high pressured water hose?
posted by internet!Hannah at 7:38 PM on August 5, 2006

Best answer: You can make a solution of soap and water (just dish soap or laundry detergent) and either pour or spray it on the nest (at night). Soap kills most kinds of bees and wasps, and is more environmentally friendly than a lot of pesticides. Plus, you already have it, and it's safe around people and pets.

You could leave the nest, but many species of wasp are aggressive, including yellowjackets. Might be better to get rid of them.
posted by bolognius maximus at 7:44 PM on August 5, 2006

Best answer: I second the soap and water suggestion. I bought a house a few years back that had been vacant for some time.... and was home to about 25 active wasp nests around the front and back porches.

I put a bit of dishwashing soap in a spray bottle, filled it with water, and went to work. Didn't get stung, killed all the wasps.
posted by bradth27 at 7:49 PM on August 5, 2006

My buddy just used a pretty clever trick to clear out a wasp's nest in his chicken coop: he vacuumed them out.

He put all of the chrome extension pipes on the thing, and stuck the end of it into the chicken coop right next to the nest with the vacuum turned on. The wasps flew over to attack the (very noisy) end of the vacuum cleaner tube and FWOOP, FWOOP, FWOOP got sucked up into the vacuum cleaner one by one.

Then he just threw the whole vacuum cleaner through an unliked neighbor's front window.

I made up that last part.
posted by popechunk at 8:35 PM on August 5, 2006 [6 favorites]

A friend and I poured gasoline down a subterranean bees' nest one time and lit that bitch up. It was very satisfying. Limited applications depending on surroundings, I suppose.
posted by kookoobirdz at 9:18 PM on August 5, 2006

A clean safe and easy way...
Grandpa Kipp's Sure-Fire Yellow Jacket Trap! (via)
posted by Hanover Phist at 9:29 PM on August 5, 2006

Response by poster: Oh sure, now you tell me about the burning option...well, that would have been too cruel. And dangerous. I think the tarp would have just melted. But I digress.

Two buckets of hot, soapy water have been poured on them and I feel really guilty about it. I'll know tomorrow how effective it was. Thanks for the suggestions!
posted by Salmonberry at 9:32 PM on August 5, 2006

Ya gotta wait for nightfall, that's when all the wasps are in the nest.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 11:09 PM on August 5, 2006

Diazinon. It might give you cancer 20 years from now, but it will kill those suckers dead. Actually, the most important thing in commercial preparations is the chemical the provides the immediate stunning to reduce the chances of you being attacked. All of these seem to use a potent solvent in the delivery agent so watch out for what it might fall on and stain. It won't affect most paints, but a little spot test on anything you are worried about can be in order.
posted by caddis at 1:14 AM on August 6, 2006

popechunk has the first part of a very effective way of emptying the nests of stinging insects. After you finish vaccuming them up, start your car and stick the vaccuum hose into the exhaust. This does them in with little effort and no chemicals.
posted by Raybun at 4:11 AM on August 6, 2006

No chemicals, you mean, other than the carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide that regularly spew out of your exhaust, right?
posted by The Bishop of Turkey at 8:05 AM on August 6, 2006

Two buckets of hot, soapy water have been poured on them and I feel really guilty about it.

posted by Bud Dickman at 9:21 AM on August 6, 2006

I'd just like to take a moment here to commend Salmonberry for not referring to the yellowjackets as "bees." Thanks!
posted by Rash at 11:22 AM on August 6, 2006

Response by poster: If only they had been bees. I love little fuzzy honey-making bees.

Looks like the water worked. Ixnay on the ellowjacketsya. Thanks guys!
posted by Salmonberry at 1:25 PM on August 6, 2006

Kerosene has always been my weapon of choice on wasps. Kills them in a couple of seconds, and the oil weighs them down so they can't fly around.

I used to work in a building with high bay lights, and until the exterminator did his work, wasps would fly into the lights, get stunned by the heat then fall on us. Everyone had a small bottle of kero on hand, and if a wasp landed near us we'd splash it. Instant death for wasps.
posted by tomble at 7:10 PM on August 6, 2006

That reminds me, I am off to spray some death into our basketball net. They love to put a nest into the break-away rim mechanism. Boy do they get riled on any shot other than a pure swish.
posted by caddis at 7:25 PM on August 6, 2006

I love little fuzzy honey-making bees.

I do too. But many people (including some on this very forum) don't discriminate -- to them, "honeybee" isn't part of the vocabulary -- if it flies and stings, it's a "bee."
posted by Rash at 11:37 AM on August 7, 2006

An old friend of the family almost killed himself trying to burn out stinging insects - the backs of his arms are sort of welded to his body. Find another way.

Vacuuming sounds intriguing.

A water hose with the spray set to wide has been protective for me, though it was sorta creepy to see a bunch of wet hornets crawling towards me.

And a word-nerd note: yellowjackets are actually not wasps but hornets, which are generally considered a more aggressive bunch.
posted by dragonsi55 at 5:53 AM on August 8, 2006

Yellow Jackets live in holes in the ground, at least they do in the South. You'll know it if you run a lawnmower over one of their nest holes ... real quick.
posted by madderhatter at 5:46 PM on August 8, 2006

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