I feed a feral cat who lives in the woods at my condo community. Sunday night, I was sitting on the ground in front of his feeding station and got bitten so badly by what I thought were fire ants, I spent an hour in the ER with oxygen and an EpiPen! A friend came today to spread diatomaceous earth on the ant hill and discovered, much to his dismay, that my assailants were yellowjackets, not fire ants. Can you tell me how to get rid of them? I have no idea where their nest is. "Charlie's" feeding station is made of wood. I assume they wouldn't be nesting in there. Last winter, I moved his cold weather shelters close to his feeding station and covered all three with a tarp so he wouldn't have to walk though the snow. There's straw in the shelters. Could they be nesting in there? I'm afraid to move the feeding station without knowing where the yellowjackets are. Thanks for your help.
Howard County Maryland
You can control yellowjackets by using a commercial spray to exterminate them. You will have the best success with this if you can locate the nest and then spray it at night when the yellowjackets are inside.
Here is additional information about them and what you can do:
What kind of spray do you recommend that won't kill everything else? And what if I can't find the nest?
There are many effective aerosol bee and wasp sprays on the market which will spray for long distances. We do not recommend any particular one. It will be very targeted and will not affect other insects in the vicinity.
Because you are allergic to bees, you should have someone else pull away the tarps and straw and move the other structures there. It is possible that the yellowjackets are in the structures, as they are cavity dwellers, but usually they are in the ground (in an abandoned burrow or tunnel). Once you get everything moved, you can observe where they are coming and going.
It is going to be unusually cool tonight--this should slow them down even more, so it should be a good time to move all the obstacles out of the way so you can see the nest opening.