Jump to content

DIY yellowjacket wasp control


Joe Frickin' Friday

Recommended Posts

Joe Frickin' Friday

About eight years ago I made a silencing cabinet for my shop vac so that I could sandblast in the basement without driving Masako crazy:

 

2015-08-diy-yellowjacket-control-001-L.jpg

 

 

It works really amazingly astonishingly well;

 

If you're wondering why it's sitting out in my yard for that picture, well, last weekend I discovered an underground nest of yellowjacket wasps in my yard, and a couple of days ago I remembered

in which a guy used a shop vac to collect yellowjackets from a nest in his house's wall. According to his video, he left his shop vac running for several hours. I really wanted to try the same thing with my yellowjackets, but I didn't want to annoy my neighbors with all that noise, so yesterday I hauled the silencing cabinet upstairs and out into the yard. With an inch of soapy water in the bottom of the collection bucket, I taped the suction hose to the end of a long pole, set the business end right next to the yellowjackets' nest entrance, and fired it up:

 

2015-08-diy-yellowjacket-control-002-L.jpg

 

And promptly started laughing. With the shop vac effectively silenced, I could hear perfectly whenever one of those little bastards got sucked in and rattled their way down the hose to the shop vac. Each time it was as if someone had chucked a pebble into the hose. It was glorious. Each time a scout returned from the field and approached the nest, they had no idea what was going on until they were suddenly caught in a category 5 crosswind and disappeared down the hose. Within 30 minutes, there weren't many scouts returning to the nest, because there weren't many left in the field. Every yellowjacket that tried to leave the nest got sucked in the instant they dared take wing. Here's the business end of the hose, with a couple of nest-dwellers wondering why it's so damn windy out today:

 

2015-08-diy-yellowjacket-control-003-L.jpg

 

 

The capture rate tapered off after about 45 minutes. I had discovered the nest last weekend when I was watering the landscaping with a garden hose, which had inspired them to temporarily evacuate their flooded nest. So now I shut off the shop vac for a minute while I aimed a torrent of water down their tunnel. Sure enough, once I shut the water off, a whole bunch more wasps came out and started swarming around the entrance – and promptly got sucked up when I turned the shop vac back on. :grin:

 

In the end, I got two bucketfuls of the little buggers. Here's the second load:

 

2015-08-diy-yellowjacket-control-004-L.jpg

 

 

I was curious for a headcount, but rather than simply eyeballing it and trying to keep track of which ones I had already counted, I paste the picture in a CAD program, copied/pasted a green dot over each dead bug, and then had the CAD program add up all the green dots:

 

2015-08-diy-yellowjacket-control-005-L.jpg

 

 

Believe it or not, there are 349 green dots in that picture. And that was one of two loads, which means I managed to capture and kill somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 yellowjackets. By this point there wasn't much activity left. It wasn't quite zero, but I didn't want to babysit the operation for several more hours, so I finished the job after dark with a half-gallon of boiling-hot soapy water poured down their hole with a funnel:

 

2015-08-diy-yellowjacket-control-006-L.jpg

 

 

Done deal. I checked this afternoon, and there's no activity at the burrow. Victory is mine! :thumbsup: In hindsight, the boiling-hot-water-after-dark trick probably would have been enough to wipe out the nest all by itself – but the shop vac action was immensely entertaining; I highly recommend it. :grin:

Link to comment
Dennis Andress

Cool! So, next time how about filling the nest with propane and tossing in a match. That would be good reading!

 

Link to comment
Cool! So, next time how about filling the nest with propane and tossing in a match. That would be good reading!

 

You've been watching Caddyshack, ain'tcha.

Link to comment

Actually I think Dennis has been watching Mythbusters - they seem to be focusing on explosions lately.

 

Good idea Mitch, thanks. Every year this time we get a nest of the little darlings and it makes for an interesting yard mowing season. (BTW: ground hornet sprays really kill grass, I mean really kill it. Time to replace soil in spots)

Link to comment

So, we just finish purchasing a new house on 30 July. It's a nice spread with 5.5ish acres and a barn. I've got a Rottweiler so the first thing I wanted to do was lay the underground fence for her territory, which included going around the barn. She gets about two acres to play in, which means she has two acres to find a spot to lay down and sleep,....lazy dog.

 

The homestead has been empty for about eight months, and while the grounds around the house have been kept up, not so much for the barn area. Grasses have grown to 4+' high out about 10' or so from the barn.

 

Back to the fence, I actually had to work to do work, which means I had to weedeat a path so that the little cable/trencher (ugh, ugh) could work without getting bogged down by the grasses. I get to weedeating around the back side of the barn and I notice a slight burn in my ankle, (I don't ATGATT for yard work), then I noticed another burn, and another. The next burn was on the side of my waist, and I thought to myself,....gee, I must be getting stung by yellow jackets and lo and behold, yep, I was because I looked down and they were a'swarming.

 

I calmly stepped away from the area (ran) and swatted the remaining evil bugs off of me. After a few minutes of reorganization, I went back to the affected area with backup (wife with a spray can). I re-routed my weedeating to go a few feet farther away from the barn while the wife provided overwatch and then continued to lay my fence in the new rerouted area.

 

Later than evening, I went back to the hole and filled it with:

63bd3433-791c-43fa-b34a-01d6855e818d_400.jpg

 

No more bugs in that spot,....now to tend to all those grasses.

 

 

Link to comment

Thanks Mitch. My MnL is having issues with ground nesting bees and on a recommendation hung a fake wasps nest in the vicinity of the ground nest. So far it seems to be working but the "wasp vac" will be our backup solution. Maybe we'll even snag a few pesky voles in he process :)

 

As a side note (pun unintended), In your demo video I noticed that you used a dedicated db meter and wondered if you've ever had an opportunity to compare it to a db meter app on someone's smart phone. I downloaded a db meter app to measure the compressor noise from a recent refrigerator purchase but haven't had an opportunity to compare the results to an actual db meter and I'm curious how accurate the app/phone version is.

Link to comment

As usual Mitch, your solutions are well thought out and engineered to just below "over the top".

 

Thanks for sharing, although in my case it's not something I will ever do. When I was seven, a friend and I rode over an underground hornets nest and I got stung over twenty times.

That's when we figured out I'm allergic to bee stings! :dopeslap:

 

If I get a nest like that, it's a call to the exterminator, or you. :rofl:

Link to comment

Nasty buggers.

 

I tried the dark, soapy water trick. No luck.

 

Went to Lowes, got a can of something, poured it down the nest and never saw another.

 

But your solution was much more elegant and fun.

Link to comment
Joe Frickin' Friday
I tried the dark, soapy water trick. No luck.

 

Did you use boiling hot water, or just room temperature?

 

 

Link to comment
As usual Mitch, your solutions are well thought out and engineered to just below "over the top".

 

 

I don't know, it's real close. He used a CAD program to count them up. But we do expect more from engineers.

 

Well played, Mitch! :thumbsup:

Link to comment
Dave_zoom_zoom

Thanks Mitch!

 

I find you to be a never ending source of "good" entertainment.

 

God forbid, if your head should ever split open, it could be a little scary to see what's in there. :D

 

Dave

Link to comment

Mitch you never cease to amaze me. Keep it up. I opted for "simple" to kill the little nasties. My wife had a nest take up residence between the condenser and radiator or her truck. I'd never seen my wife run! But she did when they discovered each other. I got my Gortex raingear on, gloves and head net out and taped any access points and went out with both hands gripping raid wasp killer. Most of the action was over in 20 minutes, but I killed straglers for a couple of days.

Link to comment
As usual Mitch, your solutions are well thought out and engineered to just below "over the top".

 

 

I don't know, it's real close. He used a CAD program to count them up. But we do expect more from engineers.

 

Well played, Mitch! :thumbsup:

 

For those who aren't aware of Mitch's propensity for sharing his projects, here are a few more:

 

A Torsion Box Work Table

 

A Coffee Table

 

A Powdercoat Oven

 

The Adventure of the New Air Compressor

 

Enjoy, and sorry if you lose too much time going through these... :rofl:

Link to comment
I tried the dark, soapy water trick. No luck.

 

Did you use boiling hot water, or just room temperature?

 

 

Boiling hot. At dusk. Covered hole with board and brick on top. In the morning, I lifted the board and got harassed by some pretty mad flying stingers.

 

They are aggressive and followed me for a long way, but I had on my beekeeping gear on so no stings.

 

But after I poured the bottle of stuff I bought at lowes down the hole, no more problem and they didn't come back.

 

BTW have you seen the videos of pouring molten aluminum down into the nest and then digging it up when cooled off?

Link to comment
Guest Kakugo
Cool! So, next time how about filling the nest with propane and tossing in a match. That would be good reading!

 

Back in the days we waited until dusk when all the yellow jackets had returned, poured down the hole a bucket of agri diesel and threw in a match. Not exactly as spectacular as liquified propane but a bit safer. :grin:

Link to comment

I like napalm and you can get it at your local Military supply house. We use it for everything including heating, cooking, and neighbor control. And YES, it works wonders on those pesky Yellow Jackets. :-)

 

Seriously, we use the common foam spray stuff and it kills them with a couple of treatments. The problem usually comes with the discovery more so than the eradication.

Link to comment

Mitch,

Surprised you didn't set up a sensor to count them as they entered intake.

 

We still use the dino based solution combined with fire.

Link to comment
Guest Kakugo
I like napalm and you can get it at your local Military supply house. We use it for everything including heating, cooking, and neighbor control. And YES, it works wonders on those pesky Yellow Jackets. :-)

 

I am sure most of us know napalm can be made with kerosene or diesel fuel and some easily available chemicals but I am not about putting the details here. :grin:

Link to comment
Joe Frickin' Friday

And now, for the funny ending.

 

This past Saturday, I noticed new yellowjacket activity around the nest site. I was mightily puzzled, because I was sure that a half-gallon of boiling water would have been enough to wipe out the nest. I figured I'd try that trick one more time on Saturday night, except this time with a couple of gallons from a BIG pot.

 

Time slipped away from me on Saturday night, so I ended up making preparations on Sunday night, a full week after the shenanigans that started this thread. I set a big pot of water on the stove, then headed outside to place the funnel in their burrow. And that's when I realized that I couldn't find their burrow anymore. It seems someone else had stopped by late on Saturday night:

 

2015-08-diy-yellowjacket-control-007-L.jpg

 

2015-08-diy-yellowjacket-control-008-L.jpg

 

I was again mightily puzzled. I went back inside and Googled "what eats yellowjackets," and discovered that skunks are famous for this sort of thing.

 

And then it all fell into place. My theory goes like this:

 

  • My half-gallon of boiling water last week probably did wipe out the entire nest.
  • During the five days after that, the dead yellowjacket adults and larva began to decompose.
  • The scent attracted yellowjackets from some other nest, who came to the area on Saturday afternoon to harvest all the free meat they could carry.
  • The scent also attracted the skunk, who came by on Saturday night to claim all the free meat he could dig up.

Well, that's that - no more yellowjacket problem whatsoever. I just have to go grab some dirt to fill in the bomb crater the skunk left behind, and I may end up having to buy a new spirea plant as well; this one was dug up pretty good, so I'm not sure it's going to survive.

 

Mother nature is nuts, man.

 

Link to comment

I had a similar yellow jacket/skunk encounter a few years ago. I got stung while mowing one evening after i bumped a fence post with the mower and woke up an previously unknown hive. Next morning i went out to locate the nest so i could bomb it and smelled skunk, like you i was greeted by a large crater and a few bits of nest. Problem solved, now if i could just convince the dogs that skunks need to be given a wide berth.

Link to comment
I hate wasps of all sorts, so very well done, Mitch!

 

Don't be so hard on "all" wasps. Parasitoid wasps have been introduced to counter the significant damage being done to local garlic crops by Leek Moths. And get this, these wasps don't sting.

Link to comment
I hate wasps of all sorts, so very well done, Mitch!

 

Don't be so hard on "all" wasps. Parasitoid wasps have been introduced to counter the significant damage being done to local garlic crops by Leek Moths. And get this, these wasps don't sting.

That's pretty interesting, but it seems so many times we hear of a case where some flora or fauna not natural to an area is introduced to eradicate something "pest", shortly after we read about the negative effects of that. Perhaps that really is the majority of cases, a matter of the press loving that kind of drama, or due to my very meager reading these days, I don't know. But wasps that don't sting? Wow! Who knew?

Link to comment
I hate wasps of all sorts, so very well done, Mitch!

 

Don't be so hard on "all" wasps. Parasitoid wasps have been introduced to counter the significant damage being done to local garlic crops by Leek Moths. And get this, these wasps don't sting.

That's pretty interesting, but it seems so many times we hear of a case where some flora or fauna not natural to an area is introduced to eradicate something "pest", shortly after we read about the negative effects of that. Perhaps that really is the majority of cases, a matter of the press loving that kind of drama, or due to my very meager reading these days, I don't know. But wasps that don't sting? Wow! Who knew?

 

Indeed! I've noticed that one particular bit of fauna is particularly hard on almost all aspect of new environments it moves into.... :wave:

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...