Yellow jack infestation

Asked August 25, 2016, 9:50 AM EDT

Hi. I have (or had) a nest of yellow jackets. I tried twice to get rid of it with the spray you fire down the nest entrance. Twice I think I missed. The third time I watched them carefully during the day and I think I found the entrance and treated again. The entrance appears to be next to a set of flagstone steps that lead to the second tier of our yard. However, this morning there are about six of the wasps flying around where I thought the entrance was. I'm wondering if the entrance got sealed as we searched for it (we had to trim back some pachysandra and poke around a bit) and these are stragglers who now can't get in? If the entrance simply got sealed by accident, will the wasps dig out again?

Allegheny County Pennsylvania yellow jackets

1 Response

I think they would dig out. Some suggestions from an entomologist:

Here are a couple of suggestions: (1) Try pouring a soap and water solution into the entrance. Many types of soap will work, including dish and laundry soap (2) If the above doesn't work, visit your local hardware store or garden center and purchase a product labelled for yellow jacket control. Follow all label directions. Insecticides should be applied late evening or at night when all foragers are inside the nest. The nest entrance should be identified and marked during daytime. A quick knockdown insecticide is preferred because yellow jackets may fly out to defend the colony when disturbed. Yellow jackets are attracted to light, so do not hold a flashlight while applying an insecticide to a nest. Direct the insecticide dispenser nozzle toward the nest entrance for best control. Check the colony entrance the next day for activity and reapply again if necessary. If daytime control is necessary, the person should wear protective gear including a hat, veil, coveralls, and gloves because returning foragers will likely attempt to defend the colony. The above suggestions are for killing yellow jackets in their nests. The following advice comes from Clemson University Cooperative Extension: TRAPPING: There are several inexpensive non-toxic bait traps available for yellow jacket control, available at garden centers and mail order catalogs. Traps should be placed around the perimeter recreational areas well in advance of outdoor activities. Traps may be placed along side dumpsters or restaurant loading docks. Most trap directions call for a reservoir to be filled with an attractant such as sugar water. Exhausted yellow jackets fall into the liquid and drown. Traps should be serviced daily to remove dead insects because the odor can become very offensive. Wash the trap with soap and water after several days use. Monitor the traps’ attractiveness to beneficial insects such as honey bees and alter the bait if necessary. Raw bologna has proven to be a very successful yellow jacket bait and it does not attract beneficial insects. HOME-MADE TRAP: A yellow jacket trap can be made by hanging a piece of raw fish or liver (slightly diced on the exterior) about one to two inches above a container of detergent and water. The detergent acts as a wetting agent and eliminates surface tension causing the yellow jackets to sink. Foraging yellow jackets are attracted to the raw meat and will often become overloaded with food and fall into the water and drown. This method of yellow jacket control is not as efficient as nest elimination, but it may help reduce the population to acceptable levels. I hope this helps,

-Dr. Jaime C. Piñero, Lincoln University of Missouri, Assistant Professor / State IPM Specialist

Our PSU entomologists suggest calling in a professional pest control agent:

Thanks, G.