Destroying a yellow jacket nest

Asked June 9, 2016, 11:34 AM EDT

I discovered a yellow jacket nest beside the foundation of my home yesterday afternoon while watering my roses (and they discovered me also--several nasty and painful stings from them protecting their colony). Ordinarily I'm a "live and let live" person with insects, but I want to kill them and destroy the nest because it's so close to my house and I will be gardening and watering in that area. I have a well and septic system and live very close to a reservoir, so I want to be sure to use an insecticide that won't be environmentally toxic. The information I've read online seems to indicate that Pyrethrum is the safest, because it says it's made from chrysanthemums and can be used around the home. We bought Spectracide, which has the ingredients of Permethrin, Tetramethrin, and Piperonyl Butoxide, but the label says to use it only on impervious surfaces and not anywhere near where water drainage may occur since it is toxic to aquatic life, so we won't use this. Is it okay to use Pyrethrum instead on this nest? I read about natural methods to eliminate a nest, but some of them have negative comments and sound a little iffy, and I need to get rid of this nest as quickly as possible. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated!

Wake County North Carolina insect issues yellow jackets

1 Response

Your 'live and let live' concern and worry about pesticide contamination is appreciated. I would use the Spectracide since it's highly effective and the chemicals will bond with soil particles and travel only a limited distance. Because you are particularly careful, there is an alternative, from U KY, https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef620 : Sevin (tm), or Ficam (tm), dust is also very effective provided a handduster or similar type applicator is used to dispense several puffs of the insecticide dust into the nest opening (an empty, dry liquid detergent bottle, filled no more than halfway with dust and shaken before dispensing works well). Their article goes into when to apply the powder. Sevin is extremely safe, and this mode of application will not be putting the dust onto flowers that pollinators will be coming to. Thanks again for your concern about the environmental effects of using pesticides. Incidentally, pyrethrum is often considered safe because it is natural, but something can be natural and very toxic.