So you're on the lawn mower, doing some weed eating in the back yard, or clearing some brush out of the woods. Engines are blaring and grass clippings are flying everywhere around you. What you didn't see was the yellow jackets. A few minutes later you're cursing about the painful stings and now want revenge! 

Yellowjackets are a potentially very dangerous wasp encountered around homes and buildings. While most people suffer only temporary pain from yellow jacket stings, they can be life-threatening to persons who are allergic to the venom. People who develop hives, difficulty breathing or swallowing, wheezing or similar symptoms of allergic reaction should seek medical attention immediately. Itching, pain and localized swelling can be somewhat reduced with antihistamines and a cold compress.

So, if you're reading this article perhaps you were just attacked and stung by yellow jackets, and are now anxiously looking for the best way to destroy their nest so it doesn't happen again. 

First you have to locate the nest, which will most often be located underground in an old rodent burrow, beneath a landscape timber, or in a rock wall or wall of a building.




Once the nest is located, it can usually be eliminated several different ways:

  • Carefully apply a wasp and hornet spray insecticide into the nest opening. You can use a synthetic or organic wasp killer. Organic wasp killer chemicals use plant oils and fatty acids that are biodegradable and safer for other living things. Both versions come in spray.
  • Sevin dust is also very effective provided a hand-duster or similar type applicator is used to dispense several puffs of the insecticide dust in to the nest opening (an empty, dry liquid detergent bottle, filled no more than halfway with dust and shaken before dispensing works well).

Note: To prevent yellow jackets from escaping the hole lay a fine mesh screen over the opening to the nest after spraying.



Destroying the nest...

Similar to hornets, yellow jackets are extremely aggressive when the nest is disturbed. It may be prudent to call a professional pest control company, particularly when access to the nest is difficult.

If you decide to do the job yourself, treatment should be performed at night when all the yellow jackets are in the nest and less active. It's best to pinpoint the nest opening during the daytime so you will remember where to direct your treatment after dark. 

To treat, approach the nest slowly and do not shine the beam of the flashlight directly into the nest entrance as this may startle the wasps; instead, cast the beam to the side to illuminate the nest indirectly and place the light on the ground rather than in your hand. 

If the nest is located away from high traffic areas, another option is to wait and do nothing. In regions that experience cold winters yellow jacket colonies die off naturally after the weather turns cold.



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