Organic Response to Yellow Jackets?

Discussion in 'Organic Gardening' started by History Detective, May 12, 2016.

  1. History Detective

    History Detective

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    Hi, everyone! While pulling out some ivy that is growing out of control along my backyard fence, I discovered there is a hole in the ground where yellow jackets are flying in and out. It is very near a lilac tree that I need to prune into shape, and every time I go to work on the lilac tree, I have to back away because it stirs up the interest of the yellow jackets. Do you happen to know of any organic-gardening means of getting rid of these pests? Thank you so much for your help!
     
    History Detective, May 12, 2016
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  2. History Detective

    Beverly

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    Hummm, i've been struggling with wasps (large and very small) all of my gardening years. They love to eat the butterfly caterpillars that choose to call my garden home. I believe the wasps generally make their homes in nests and are not as mean as yellow jackets? It sounds like the yellow jackets make their homes in tunnels or just a hole in the ground? I would try fire and/or water and before that i would probably put some DE around the place where the yj's are emerging. Then i would put a little pile of dried leaves and set it on fire to create a nice amount of smoke and then run like h...the wind. Or i might try flooding them out...also running like the wind. I've never had problems with yellow jackets in the garden, but i think they will attack. Whereas, when i knocked down a couple wasp nests, they swarmed but did not come after me. There are traps available on the market that have toxic bait that stays inside the trap, presumably with the dead yellow jackets. Someone who knows what they are talking about should show up soon:)
     
    Beverly, May 12, 2016
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  3. History Detective

    History Detective

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    Thank you so much, Beverly! Your response made me smile. I'll be sure to get my running shoes ready for action!
     
    History Detective, May 12, 2016
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  4. History Detective

    Beth_B

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    Fire is organic, isn't it? :whistle:

    I don't like to use pesticides or synthetic chemicals unless as a last resort. And many wasps are non-stinging and beneficial...

    But yellowjackets, no. A few years ago the guy mowing my property ran over a nest and got badly stung. And l have dogs, and little kids next door who come on my property to play or whatever. And the nest was about 15' from my front door. So, l waited until evening when they were in the nest, piled up some sticks and brush, had a little bonfire and no more wasps, they've never come back. (Sorry, wasps.)

    Like fleas, mice, rats and mosquitoes, wasps are critters that serve a purpose in the greater scheme of things. But l dont want them serving their purpose in my house or on my property!
     
    Beth_B, May 12, 2016
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  5. History Detective

    History Detective

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    Thank you, Beth_B! Yes, yellow jackets are a dangerous pest indeed. Fire is sounding like a good option.
     
    History Detective, May 12, 2016
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  6. History Detective

    Beverly

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    Many people encourage wasps (not yellow jackets, though) in their gardens because they do eat many pests, but i have a pollinator/butterfly garden and it really pains me when i see them eating or parasitizing the caterpillars that want to grow up to be butterflies. Wasps will have to go to someone else's garden to be appreciated. I trap them in glass jars and sometimes i electrocute them, i also have found some ways to out smart them so they don't find the caterpillars without having to bring the pillars into the house;) I have every kind of wasp and even though i try to kill them or turn the hose of them, i have never been stung and they never come after me. The big brown wasps are especially gentle, except when they are eating the caterpillars.

    @Beth_B, when you built your little fire above the yellow jacket nest, were any able to escape? and did they come after you? and yes fire is organic and adds potash to the soil, but great care must be taken when using it. It's very interesting to me to hear that the yellow jackets never returned. Good job!

    @History Detective it would be great if you would let us know the outcome.

    Sometimes you ask a question and end up being the expert:)
     
    Beverly, May 13, 2016
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  7. History Detective

    Beth_B

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    @Beverly, no. It was a fairly painless process (for me at least) and hopefully for the wasps as well. None came out after l started the fire although a few came back the next day looking for the nest. :( l did feel bad but not THAT bad! Yellowjackets are aggressive and it really hurts when they sting. I've been stung many times and don't have much sympathy.
     
    Beth_B, May 13, 2016
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  8. History Detective

    History Detective

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    Hi, everyone! I discovered a water-filled trap for yellow jackets at a garden store, and I am going to test it out to see if I can dwindle their numbers before making a choice for a more permanent solution. I do think fire is going to be my best solution, but as I studied the problem again last night, I determined it might be wise to coordinate that with the neighbor on the other side of the fence in case things should go awry during the process. My father reminded me that we once had a neighbor who attempted to light up a yellow jacket nest and the man hadn't realized it had been built into a gopher hole that stretched quite some distance in his yard. I don't remember that incident myself, but my father got a good chuckle out of it.
     
    History Detective, May 13, 2016
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  9. History Detective

    marlingardener

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    Yellow Jackets don't have lungs--they breathe through their bodies. If you have an infestation of wasps, yellow jackets, or hornets, you can kill them with soapy water. Ordinary dish soap mixed with water and sprayed directly on the insect, or all over their nest or into their burrow, will kill the them by sealing up their "breathing" ability.
    If you are dealing with in-ground nests, I'd just pour about two gallons or more of hot soapy water into the nest.
    We keep bees, and appreciate them. Yellow jackets and their ilk we don't appreciate, and if they are setting up a homestead where we will be stung, they get a good dose of dish soap.
     
    marlingardener, May 13, 2016
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  10. History Detective

    History Detective

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    Thank you, marlingardener! I think I will try that out over the weekend. I've got plenty of dish soap for getting the job done...
     
    History Detective, May 13, 2016
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  11. History Detective

    Fernsdaddy

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    I had Yellow Jackets living in the roof of my front porch, I sprayed soapy water in the nest after 4 or 5 times doing that they moved to a new home some place else :), I've been told that yellow jackets and wasp won't return to a nest if there are dead yellow jackets or wasp in there old nest, I've never look to see if there was any thing in the nest.
     
    Fernsdaddy, May 14, 2016
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  12. History Detective

    mags

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    But wouldn't soap put chemicals in the dirt???

    I remember last year there were a whole bunch of wasps on this really old bench my dad has. What he did was wait until there were tons covering it and then all at once splashed boiling water all over the bench. When they were gone he repainted (retreated? can't remember) the bench in hopes of deterring them. It seemed to work just fine, but they are back again this year and the paint doesn't bother them a whole lot.
     
    mags, May 14, 2016
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  13. History Detective

    Beth_B

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    Just a small nitpick: chemicals are not all bad. Most are natural and everywhere. Dihyrogen oxide is a chemical*, just saying. ;)



    *One of the many chemical names for "water." :D
     
    Beth_B, May 14, 2016
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  14. History Detective

    mags

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    Oh I know that, dihyrogen oxide is a joke my dad makes a lot. 'Oh my god this soda had dihyrogen oxide in it! Can you believe the chemicals they put in our food?'

    I just wasn't sure if the chemicals in soap were the kind plants and animals wouldn't have a problem. :p
     
    mags, May 14, 2016
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  15. History Detective

    Beth_B

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    (y)

    Well, dish soap is often suggested as a "gentle" way to remove bugs and such from plants so l don't think it would be too harmful.
     
    Beth_B, May 14, 2016
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  16. History Detective

    Fernsdaddy

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    I've been using Dawn dish soap for years, The vet even said it was safe to use around pets.
     
    Fernsdaddy, May 14, 2016
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  17. History Detective

    marlingardener

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    Dawn dish soap is used to remove oil residue from waterfowl after an oil spill. Dreft flakes or Ivory bar soap mixed with water and a bit of vegetable oil makes a good spray for aphids and some other soft-bodied insects.
    We take great care to make sure our soil is healthy, and that we do nothing to injure our bees, hens, or the wildlife that frequent our pasture (and back path, judging from the armadillo holes all along it). We have a very happy lot of healthy critters here, even me when I'm filling in 'dillo holes!
     
    marlingardener, May 14, 2016
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  18. History Detective

    Beth_B

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    Original Dawn is also safe to use for temporary/emergency flea removal on very young, even newborn animals.
     
    Beth_B, May 14, 2016
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  19. History Detective

    Beverly

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    What is there to entice the yellow jackets into the water trap HD? Is it the water itself? I like @marlingardener suggestion of soapy water. The good old standby of soapy water solves so many problems but i would never have thought about it as a remedy for yj's. I don't know if it would keep them from returning in the same way the fire/smoke method does. Getting rid of them and not having them return has a lot of appeal. Good idea to have the neighbor standing around with the hose, if you try the fire method. Ha! i wrote this post a few days ago and just found it now waiting to be sent. Good dish soap discussion.
     
    Beverly, May 14, 2016
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  20. History Detective

    Esther Knapicius

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    me, I would not fuss with being nice to them. at dusk, pour some gas down their hole and light it. stand back quickly, or use a long stick to reach to the hole with the flame.
     
    Esther Knapicius, May 14, 2016
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