Expert Tips on How to Get Rid of Yellow Jackets When You Can’t Find the Nest
Yellow jackets are one of the most unwelcome pests in any yard, more so if they encroach on your home. Learning how to get rid of yellow jackets safely and quickly is a must if they set up a home on your property. Unlike getting rid of flying ants or getting rid of gnats, yellow jackets can deliver very painful stings that can lead to complications in some people. Therefore, when these pests are a problem in your area, there are several things you can do to prevent them, like looking out for nests, sealing off any cracks or gaps in your house, and removing standing water. Here, we have gathered expert recommendations for attempting to get rid of yellow jackets and how to prevent yellow jackets so you can begin to tackle a yellow jacket problem before it becomes too serious.
Locate the Nest
Locating a yellow jacket nest can be relatively easy outside. These wasp-type insects are very active during the day, so following a yellow jacket at a distance should lead you back to their nesting hole relatively quickly. It is worth noting that these bugs typically form their nests within tall structures such as trees and rotting wood, or under the ground. It may even be in your house’s roof pitches or eaves. Inside the home, yellow jacket nests may be in your attic, or if you are particularly unlucky, they may have found space inside your wall cavities.
Cover the Entrances to the Nest
Covering the entrances and exits of a nest is a controversial tip when trying to get rid of yellow jackets and other ground-dwelling insects such as getting rid of ground bees. While some professions say this will only anger the yellow jackets into finding an alternative way out, others say it is the ideal method for dealing with yellow jackets indirectly. If trying this method, cover the yellow jacket entrances with a glass bowl at night when they are not as active. This method works best if the nest has been located underground. Ensure there is no gap between the bowl and the ground by piling sand around the outside rim – Yellow jackets are able to find the smallest of holes to escape in and out of. Weigh down the bowl and allow it to sit for a week or more undisturbed to cut the nest off and starve the yellow jackets.
Dump Dry Ice
Dry ice can be hard to get a hold of in some places, but it is a fast, non-toxic option for those seeking to use natural methods of removing yellow jackets. Dry ice kills yellow jackets and many other pests on contact and again works best for nests underground. Dump finely broken up dry ice into the entrance of a yellow jacket nests and quickly cover the hole with dirt or a bowl with a tight seal. Although this method is fast, it does require close contact with the nest which could result in stings.
Consider Commercial Killers
There are multiple commercial pesticides and insect killers on the market that are some of the best options when it comes to pest control. Using purpose-made products is one of the only ways to ensure the job is done properly the first time. There are multiple types of conventional treatments from dusts that can be applied directly to the nest and drenching which involves soaking the nest with a chemical pesticide – both of which will continue to work for weeks after the first application. Alternatively, commercial bait and traps save you time and hassle when trying to remove yellow jackets and are sure to have the right products and quantities.
Construct a Bait Trap
If buying a commercial trap is something you want to avoid, it is possible to make your own protein trap with things around your home. Fill a five-gallon bucket with warm, soapy water, and hang a protein bait such as tinned fish, liver, or chicken a few inches above the surface. It is important that the bait has a strong smell to attract the yellow jackets to it. They will be attracted to the food but likely slip and drown in the water below. This method is great to use alongside other control methods but may not be 100% effective on its own due to the time it will take to kill all the yellow jackets.
Destroy the Nest
By far the most direct and risky approach would be to destroy the yellow jacket nest while there are yellow jackets inside of it. While this is not recommended, it may be carried out with the correct clothing and equipment. For a ground nest, wait until nightfall, when most yellow jackets will be less active, before pouring a half and half mixture of peppermint castile soap and water into the nest’s opening, following with a large amount of boiling water. It is important to wear heavy-duty clothing with long sleeves and trousers, with closed shoes, head protection, and thick gloves when doing this as yellow jackets will swarm. After a few days of no activity, dig the nest out and dispose of it, removing any yellow jacket bodies too. For an aerial nest, slip a thick drawstring bag around the nest completely and close it fully. Twist the nest so that it breaks free from the tree before fully submerging the bag and nest in hot water, weighing it down with a brick or log to hold it under for a few hours to ensure all yellow jackets are dead.
Call a Professional
As is the case with any pest infestation, calling a professional is the best way to get rid of an infestation properly and safely. A professional will be able to use methods not readily available to untrained homeowners, as well as access high-quality safety equipment to limit the risk of injury.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How do I get rid of yellow jackets when I can’t find the nest?
If you cannot find the source of your yellow jacket problem, set up a food bait trap. Yellow jackets will collect the food and allow you to carefully follow them back to their hive location. Be careful not to disturb the hive once you have found it, however, as a disturbed colony is likely to become defensive and attack.
2. Do yellow jacket nests have two entrances?
Yellow jacket nests may have more than one entrance, meaning blocking or spraying killers down one hole could force angry yellow jackets out of another hole to defend their space. If the nest is in your home, forcing the yellow jackets out of their nest from a new hole or a less used hole may cause further damage to your property.
3. What are some natural remedies for getting rid of yellow jackets?
Some natural remedies for getting rid of yellow jackets include using peppermint oil as a repellent, hanging an imitation nest to deter them, creating a protein bait trap, covering the nest entrances to starve them, and dumping dry ice into the nest to kill them.
4. How can I prevent yellow jackets from nesting on my property?
To prevent yellow jackets from nesting on your property, you can use peppermint oil as a deterrent, limit their food sources by keeping outdoor areas clean, hang an imitation nest to ward them off, and clean up your garden to remove potential shelter opportunities.
5. What should I do if I get stung by a yellow jacket?
If you get stung by a yellow jacket, immediately leave the area you were stung to avoid attracting more yellow jackets. Clean the sting area with soap and water, apply a cold compress to reduce swelling, and take pain medication if needed. If you experience severe symptoms or allergic reactions, seek medical attention.