Country Living Series

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Baaaaaad wasp year

We are having a very very VERY bad summer of wasps and hornets.


Wasps are stinkin' everywhere. It's impossible to step foot outdoors without having these nasty hymenoptera hovering around, making outdoor work impossible. Don tried to do a wiring job on a small trailer the other day and got driven indoors within minutes. I've been getting bombed while taking Mr. Darcy for his afternoon walk. I can't water the garden except in the very early morning otherwise I'm too harassed by the wasps or hornets.



Early one morning I was out in the garden, idly watching the cows who were grazing outside the fence where we have some extra tractor tires stacked and waiting to use as garden beds. Suddenly one of the cows snorted, shook her head, swished her tail with agitation, and moved away from one of the tires. A closer inspection revealed a massive paper-wasp nest within. We're talking massive. Oh great.


And this is just one of several known nests. Some are small, and some are underground, but they all contribute to the sense of walking on eggshells whenever we set foot outdoors.




We've set endless traps and caught thousands of wasps, but it barely makes a dent in the population.


I'm most bitter about my watermelons, which were developing absolutely beautifully until the wasps discovered them. Now every single melon is being systematically hollowed out by seething masses of wasps.






The other day Don had some tractor work to do, clearing brush from a spot, which he did early in the morning to minimize wasp activity. He had to spray out a wasp nest that had formed inside one of the tractor implements. Then -- I'm not kidding -- he donned a full bee suit with zippered veil to work on the tractor. If he'd uncovered a nest while working on the tractor, he would have been severely stung without the bee suit. As it turns out he did NOT uncover a nest, but as we joked later, if he HADN'T been wearing the bee suit, he'd have found five.


So it's that kind of summer. Miraculously, though we've been bitten several times by irascible insects, we haven't been stung (at least, not since Don got one nasty sting back in June while on the tractor). Knock on wood that track record continues.

We need a good hard freeze or three to kill all these nasties off. However since that would also kill off the garden just as it's maturing, I guess we'll have to be patient and keep dodging.

19 comments:

  1. We have been plagued by the little devils as well. One of my granddaughters was stung while helping me dead- head a lilac bush earlier this year, & you are right that nothing seems to deter the little buggers. I have sprayed nests & set traps as well, but they are everywhere. The only thing that has helped at all is the smoke from the nearby wildfires, but that keeps me in the house, too! - Marivene

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  2. At night, when the wasps are sleeping, creep out and put a cup of petrol (gasoline) down the entrance? The fumes seem to kill them although setting fire to it afterwards is optional... Otherwise, some carbaryl powder puffed at the entrance of the nest? (with bee suit for safety)

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  3. We were visiting Washington and were swarmed and stung by yellow jackets while walking on a paved, city trail. Down here in Texas, we often have yellow jacket nests by the house but never once had anybody been stung.

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  4. After dark, flood all the nests you know o with gasoline. You don't have to torch them, just gas them. Any nest that you don't kill out, go back and redose.

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  5. We too are bombarded by these pesky critters. They have devoured our ever-bearing strawberries . We picked about 4 out of the last crop and the Yellowjackets got the rest .Yes a nice freeze would be welcome , but not this time of the year .
    Bluesman

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  6. We have had yellow jackets up the wazoo here in the Willamette Valley. Also nasty flies. We have had fly traps hanging from the patio rafters and have filled five and working on #six. Pesky things keep getting in the house and are driving me and my dog batty!!!

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  7. Heat, as I understand it, makes them worse.

    One of the few creatures I do not grieve over when I kill them.

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  8. Patrice this has worked well for many of us on the Benewah:

    Wasp killer

    WE TRIED THIS...AND IT WORKS! THE WASPS ARE NEARLY GONE IN TWO DAYS. Be sure to buy 'Frontline PLUS' so it has the fipronil as the main ingredient.
    Those of you that know we have honeybees - this won't harm them because they don't go after protien...👍
    Just be sure to put the bait up where pets won't get into it!

    (copied and pasted from a Google Search)
    A recent conversation with the lead etymologist for the Idaho Dept. of Lands said that Idaho in general has had the worst yellowjacket infestation in 25 years (this was last year).

    He said there is an insecticide that will fix the problem:

    Fipronil is a broad-spectrum insecticide that disrupts the insect’s central nervous system. Fipronil is the main ingredient in Frontline and other flea and tick killer used on dogs. Recall that Frontline is placed on the dogs back at the withers and keeps the dog free of these pests. It is not harmful to pets or humans in the dosage of casual contact. It will kill other yellow jackets that come into contact with it as it dies in the nest.

    Several of the flea and tick killers available at your pet store or at Big R (Petco, etc.) contain Fipronil. But be careful to get the product that contains only Fipronil as its active ingredient. When Fipronil is coupled with other ingredients, the wasps will ignore it.

    Mix 6 to 10 drops into a golf ball sized gob of raw hamburger (if you macerate it in a blender it works better). Place this gob of poisoned meat into a small plastic cup. Add 1/2 of a cotton ball on which you squirt half the contents of a tube of RESCUE Yellowjacket Attractant found at most hardware stores. Place the poison bait cup in the shade 2 to 4 feet off the ground and 10 to 15 yards away from doors, patios, grills – people trafficked areas. 80% of the Yellowjacket nests within 100 yards will be dead within 24 hours. 95% will be gone in 48 hours. Renew the bait every day (Yellowjackets don’t like dried or rotting meat). After 4 days 100% of the Yellowjacket nests within 400 sq. yds. Will be dead. Repeat baiting after 4 weeks for a few days. It should end you problem.

    As a monitor on the success of the project this person kept one of the Rescue Yellowjacket Traps in the yard and dumped it every night to check on the quantity of wasps in the area each day. The count dropped from several hundred/day to 2-4 wasps/day in 2 days and in the forth day, there were none.

    1. Use only Fipronil – no other active ingredient. It’s found in flea and tick killers.

    2. Mix 0.1% with hamburger. 6 to 10 drops per golf ball sized gob. Macerated burger is better.

    3. Add Rescue Attractant

    4. Renew bait daily.

    5. Continue use for 4 days.

    6. Repeat after a month for a few days.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Patrice many of us here on the Benewah have hand good luck with this:
    Wasp killer

    WE TRIED THIS...AND IT WORKS! THE WASPS ARE NEARLY GONE IN TWO DAYS. Be sure to buy 'Frontline PLUS' so it has the fipronil as the main ingredient.
    Those of you that know we have honeybees - this won't harm them because they don't go after protien...��
    Just be sure to put the bait up where pets won't get into it!

    (copied and pasted from a Google Search)
    A recent conversation with the lead etymologist for the Idaho Dept. of Lands said that Idaho in general has had the worst yellowjacket infestation in 25 years (this was last year).

    He said there is an insecticide that will fix the problem:

    Fipronil is a broad-spectrum insecticide that disrupts the insect’s central nervous system. Fipronil is the main ingredient in Frontline and other flea and tick killer used on dogs. Recall that Frontline is placed on the dogs back at the withers and keeps the dog free of these pests. It is not harmful to pets or humans in the dosage of casual contact. It will kill other yellow jackets that come into contact with it as it dies in the nest.

    Several of the flea and tick killers available at your pet store or at Big R (Petco, etc.) contain Fipronil. But be careful to get the product that contains only Fipronil as its active ingredient. When Fipronil is coupled with other ingredients, the wasps will ignore it.

    Mix 6 to 10 drops into a golf ball sized gob of raw hamburger (if you macerate it in a blender it works better). Place this gob of poisoned meat into a small plastic cup. Add 1/2 of a cotton ball on which you squirt half the contents of a tube of RESCUE Yellowjacket Attractant found at most hardware stores. Place the poison bait cup in the shade 2 to 4 feet off the ground and 10 to 15 yards away from doors, patios, grills – people trafficked areas. 80% of the Yellowjacket nests within 100 yards will be dead within 24 hours. 95% will be gone in 48 hours. Renew the bait every day (Yellowjackets don’t like dried or rotting meat). After 4 days 100% of the Yellowjacket nests within 400 sq. yds. Will be dead. Repeat baiting after 4 weeks for a few days. It should end you problem.

    As a monitor on the success of the project this person kept one of the Rescue Yellowjacket Traps in the yard and dumped it every night to check on the quantity of wasps in the area each day. The count dropped from several hundred/day to 2-4 wasps/day in 2 days and in the forth day, there were none.

    1. Use only Fipronil – no other active ingredient. It’s found in flea and tick killers.

    2. Mix 0.1% with hamburger. 6 to 10 drops per golf ball sized gob. Macerated burger is better.

    3. Add Rescue Attractant

    4. Renew bait daily.

    5. Continue use for 4 days.

    6. Repeat after a month for a few days.

    ReplyDelete
  10. +1 on the fipronil bait. We use canned chicken meat mashed up. Pour in 1 vial of PetArmor for dogs (45-88lbs size), that's 2.6ml of 9.8% fipronil. Mix up and divide between four plastic dixie cups. Hang 'em high to keep other critters out. Yellowjackets take the tainted bait back to their nests, feed their larvae, and then they all die. Fipronil is slow acting so there's plenty of time to fly it back to the nest to feed it to the larvae. 24-48 hours later, all nests within 3/10 mile (400m) are dead dead dead. Won't harm honeybees or any other bugs except flies that eat the bait.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh my, I am highly allergic to those darned yellow jackets, so thanks for the tips folks! I seem to be okay with honey bee stings, and possibly hornets (I see there is a 'jargon' difference) but do my best to avoid all stinging things. I may have to employ the fipronil baits come fall, when the yellow jackets start to get aggressive here in Ohio.

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  12. So funny. I'm a world away in Germany and we've had just your summer. Crazy heat wave and plague of wasps!

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  13. Am going out today to make this concoction, considering that I seem to be an all you can eat buffet for all worldly bugs, this is one I look forward to using and am so glad it will not harm honey bees.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh don't risk fires and pollution with gasoline, those wasp and hornet sprays work. The winter frosts may kill a lot of the adults, but obviously not all or you wouldn't have more next year. Go on jihad to discover and spray every place you see a nest, and a few places you don't but it makes sense to guess there might be one. That spray works. Use it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am massively allergic to yellow jackets. I can handle the others. I learned a trick for the ground hives. I put a heavy, clear glass bowl over the hive entrances and leave it there for at least two weeks. No poisons. The hive dies. But it must be clear. If it is dark they will just dig a new entrance.

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  16. Patrice
    I am sorry but I do not know how to contact you
    other wise. I have just read your self reliance
    articule. May I pease add a couple of ideas.First
    of all I like the bleach from Crosco better than
    Sams club. Sams club is too thick for me. It may
    not be for others.If there is no running water
    you may want to stack up on Windex and paper towel. I like the windex for my country tops and
    bath room sinks,etc. Also because of a very bad
    back I use swifer sweepers. I can go through about 3 a day if I want a very clean floor. Also add some liquid Perremint to the swifer sweeper.
    It will not hurt the pets that one has but mice
    hate the smell.But one should try the swifer sweeper now to see if they would use as much as
    i do. But both the windex and paper towel and
    swifer sweepers will keep the house much cleaner.
    Also Patrice any one who has toilet paper the Cosic brand do not use it, if you have a septic system.Last summer it went around in our valley
    every one who used the coscio brand of toilet
    paper ended up having to have there septics cleaned out.The toilet paper would not break down
    in the septics here in our town.So even now start
    to use something else and maybe have your septics
    cleaned out any way. Just for health reasons.
    Any way I am not sure if you like these ideas or
    not.Blessings Debby

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  17. I just spent a week counseling at a camp in the Cascade foothills of Oregon, and the wasps were bad there as well.

    This tip won't help you this season, but I learned some years back to put the yellowjacket traps out right after the last frost. The only critters flying at that point are the queens, and if the queen is trapped it's game over.

    Our paper wasps seem generally to adopt a "live and let live" mentality unless their nest is right by a door, in which case I wait for a cool morning and use the garden hose to wash their nests off the wall, but yellowjackets are born mean and get worse as their hive grows. Hope the trap-timing tip helps!

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  18. Debbie @ Lavender Mills FarmAugust 29, 2018 at 10:37 PM

    I tried something new this year: a shop vac. It worked! I plugged in a shop vac and put the nozzle up to the underground hole (not in) and the wasps coming and going were sucked in. By the end of the day they were all gone and dead inside the shop vac. No pesticides.

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