An Effective and Non-Toxic Solution for Getting Rid of Yellow Jackets Nests


 Yellow Jacket photo by D Griebling

Yellow jacket image (above) taken by D. Griebeling 

I’m not someone who delights in killing pests, and I don’t often advocate for their demise. In fact, I usually do my best to avoid killing them (for example, if an indoor spider gets too close for comfort, I usually capture it in a jar and release it outside). Last summer, however, I had to make an exception to my live-and-let-live policy, when I noticed that yellow jackets had built an active nest right next to the front door of our house.

It was an underground nest in a flower bed along a pathway. There were so many yellow jackets coming and going from the nest throughout the day that we couldn’t keep our front door open for very long, and I worried that our dog would inadvertently step on the entry to the nest and get swarmed and attacked. Furthermore, I learned that yellow jackets sometimes raid honeybee hives to steal their honey, and they have been known to kill honeybees in the process. This is a sufficiently good reason to get rid of the jackets, in my opinion. Some of our neighbors have honeybee hives, so it felt like killing these yellow jackets was a just and neighborly thing to do.

(Honeybees are suffering from a Colony Collapse Disorder. Note: If you have a problem with a swarm, nest, or hive, check out online photos of bees, yellow jackets, hornets, etc. to make sure you know which of these you’re dealing with. Honeybees and other pollinators are extremely important, and they almost never sting; please don’t kill them.)

I didn’t want to use toxic insecticides, which could kill the flowers in our garden and poison our dog and the honeybees, along with the soil and groundwater around our house. So, thinking we were being clever, my husband and I tried putting the garden hose down the nest entry hole and flushing the nest out with water. This scheme did not work. We tried it a few evenings in a row, and the tenacious buggers would shoot out of the nest alive (seemingly unfazed by the water) and quickly rebuild a new entry hole. One evening, they went into attack mode and my husband got stung. They won these battles, but we were determined to outsmart them and win the war — without resorting to the use of Raid, professional chemical insecticides, gasoline, or any of the other toxic and hazardous substances that are commonly suggested.

6/4/2020 9:02:43 AM

For a large nest of paper wasps I called a number from someone who had put up signs for free wasp removal. This person did it to sell to MSU so they could use the bees venom to make medicine for those allergic to bees. So may want to call a college to see if they have a list of persons who do this.

9/16/2019 5:48:59 PM

That is a paper wasp not a yellow jacket . It has orange antennas . A yellow jacket does not . Also this species while looking almost identical are generally longer and thinner in size . Paper wasps generally build their nests above ground as well . And are less aggressive. The yellow jacket is very aggressive and builds it's nest underground or inside the walls of a structure.

8/31/2019 3:12:32 PM

If instead of glass bowl, you put a mesh strainer over the nest hole at NIGHT, the you can pour your boiling water in whenever you care too. Killed a whole nest this way. Just be sure the strainer has no gaps around the bottom. The yellow jackets are highly agitated by the strainer and keep trying to attack it instead of creating another exit.

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