Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Do You Have A Yellow Jacket?

A few weeks ago when hurricane Irene swept through the East Coast, we had several tree limbs come down; one of them bringing a big yellow jacket nest. A little voice inside of me told me not to touch it, but because I am very curious and love to examine things I decided to poke it with a stick. BAD decision. The nest was active, very active, and before I knew it I was being attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets. Did you know that their stings are particularly painful because they don't just sting; they bite and sting, and sting, and sting, until there's no more stingin' to be done. They got me six times. Ouch! 

Apparently in the fall is when their nests have grown to their largest size. If a colony is disturbed, they can become very aggressive and sting....Yup, I found that out the hard way.

Fast forward to this weekend.....
I love to take walks and ride my cruiser around town. A few weeks ago I passed by a house and saw that they had a pretty big nest attached to the side of their house. Although it was really pretty, It blended in with the house color. I wanted to leave a note, but didn't have a pen. 

This weekend I rode by the house again and saw that the nest was still there, and had tripled in size. Luckily this time the owners were home. Fortunately they did know that they had a thousand plus unwanted guests, but were not sure how to address the issue. I don't have to get stung again to know that it hurts, therefore I did not offer up my yellow jacket extermination services; what I did say is that I'd research some techniques and write about them.....so here it is, if you have nests:

1. Locate them during the day. You may want to cover yourself with thick clothing so that they can't sting you.

2. Treat them at night because they are all in the nest, and because they don't see very well during the night your chances of being stung are reduced. If at all possible wait till a cold night because they have trouble flying in temperatures below 50 degrees.

3. Treat the nest with dust insecticide like Sevin or Dursban, but usually an aerosol will do as long as the poison reaches the nest.

4. Check the following day to see if they are dead, if not repeat the treatment.

The good news is if you find a nest in the late summer / early fall, you can typically leave it alone because the coming cold will take care of it.


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