Will watering a yellow jacket ground nest kill or relocate the bees? kill

Asked October 6, 2019, 2:40 PM EDT

I've just come across a yellow jacket ground nest in an abandoned rodent hole, in a yard I maintain. I live in Vermont, so winter is close at hand. Firstly, I'd like to mow the area, but I've read that even nighttime mowing isn't a sure thing as they can be aggressive. Also, I'm guessing that this time of year is when all who live are settling in, so maybe not a good time to get them to leave by water or other means? My second question is, if I wait until tonight, and put a large rock over the opening and try to mow more safely, is there commonly a second escape route from the nest ?

Vermont

5 Responses

How to Get Rid of a Yellowjacket Nest That's Underground

Written by Kathy Adams; Updated December 14, 2018

Wait Until Dusk

No matter which option you choose to get rid of the yellow jackets, wait until dusk or later to deal with their nest. Yellow jackets are least active once the air cools and it becomes a bit too dark outside for them to see well.

Mint and Boiling Water

A mint-based Castile soap, mixed with water, is an effective method to get rid of ground-based yellow jackets, especially if you follow up with boiling water. Mix 1 pint each of the liquid soap and water, and then pour it into the hole entrance using a watering can with a long spout. Immediately follow the soapy-water treatment with at least one kettle full of boiling water, being sure to keep your hands, face and feet out of the way of both the water and the steam.

Keep pets away from the treated area for several days.

Safety Precautions

Although yellow jackets are inactive in the evenings, it's best to wear protective clothing, just in case. Wear sturdy closed shoes, full pants and a long-sleeved shirt when working near the nest hole. Tuck pants into socks, or place rubber bands around the bottoms of the pant legs to prevent stray wasps from crawling inside. Keep pets and young children indoors or at least well out of the area as you work on getting rid of the nest.

Hello,

I hope the above information is helpful. You do want to wait until dusk, and stay away from the nest as far as you can. Over the counter products do work quite quickly. You may have to treat more than once.






Thank you so much for getting back to me firstly. Secondly, is there any way to relocate The nest without killing them? Or to block the top with say a heavy stone until spring, and relocate them then? I guess the question is more like, is there a way to save them at all?

Thank you so much for getting back to me firstly. Secondly, is there any way to relocate The nest without killing them? Or to block the top with say a heavy stone until spring, and relocate them then? I guess the question is more like, is there a way to save them at all?

Thank you so much for getting back to me firstly. Secondly, is there any way to relocate The nest without killing them? Or to block the top with say a heavy stone until spring, and relocate them then? I guess the question is more like, is there a way to save them at all?

The yellow jacket colony will not survive the winter; only the fertilized queens will survive and in the spring they will each seek out new nesting sites. Any attempt to control them will be easier and probably more successful if done in the spring. You can dig up and destroy the nest then or, if you see it is already active, use a registered pesticide. This article from the University of Maine has additional information.


Rob Kurth