Bee nests

Asked August 11, 2018, 1:31 PM EDT

I have bees on my property that I am allergic to their stings. wondered if there’s any traps or Ways to get rid of those bees I have use fire and sprays in the past. These ground bees are hard locate the exact location of the nest. Do you have any suggestions? thank you Ron

Charlevoix County Michigan insect issues

1 Response

They are probably a type of wasp called a yellow jacket. The only bees that nest in large colonies in the ground are bumble bees. Identifying the nest entrance is key to eliminating colonies of yellow jackets. They will sometimes have more than one entrance as well. Locating the entrances takes patience. Depending on the location, you may be able to observe them from a distance with binoculars. You will need to do it during the day while they are actively foraging for food. You can try baiting them with a food source (see below regarding their food preferences). They usually will fly in a straight line back to the nest with the food that they gather at your bait station, so you can follow them right back to the nest. Once you locate the entrances, an insecticidal dust that is labelled for use against yellow jacket wasps can be applied to the nest entrances in the evening. You will want to do this at night, because they will not be as aggressive in defending their nests in the dark. If you need to use a flashlight to locate the nest, do not hold it in your hand as you apply the dust. Place the flashlight on the ground nearby to illuminate the entrance, but do not hold it in your hand. The wasps may react to the light from the flashlight. The dust needs to be applied into the entrance tunnel so that the wasps will pick it up on their bodies as they come and go the next morning. Be sure to follow the all of the directions provided on the insecticide product's label to protect yourself and others. The colony may take up to a week to die from the dust. This is the best way to eliminate an underground yellow jacket nest in Michigan. There are yellow jacket traps available for homeowners, however they can be tricky to use and some need to be checked and/or refilled daily which would pose a hazard for someone who is allergic to their stings. Choice of bait is very important as well. Yellowjackets forage for protein sources in the spring and summer, so meat or fish can be used as a bait early in the year. Later in the season, they switch their food source and are more attracted to sugary substances. A long term plan for yellow jacket control on your property may include placing traps out in the spring to catch newly emerged queens searching for a nesting location. Here is an MSU Extension article about yellow jackets: https://pestid.msu.edu/insects-and-arthropods/yellowjackets/ .