Throughout the summer months, it is not uncommon for humans to have close
encounters of the stinging kind as they use lawn mowers, edging tools or any
other lawn equipment that makes noise. The sounds made by various lawn
tools will anger and disturb yellowjackets in the immediate area. These
stinging pests (often misidentified as ground hornets or honey bees) will often
take a bulldozer "hostage," as the equipment operator abandons the
equipment for safer ground.
Yellowjackets are Vespids (Family Vespidae), a group of
some of the more dangerous of the stinging insect pests. Yellowjackets are
among the smallest of this group of stinging insects.
These pests are social, building nests that can be quite large. Nests are
made from a material called carton or paper. This material is produced by
females who combine their saliva excretions with wood fibers to form the
familiar looking paper nest. A paper nest can be built by hornets, paper
wasps and yellowjackets, but the yellowjacket nest is usually not visible.
This nest is usually underground but their are many cases where these insects
have built nests above ground in the wall voids of homes. A home in
Valdosta, GA was seen with a huge nest built on the exterior wall of the
structure, with a nest so large (about 12 feet long, along the side of the wall)
it was easily seen from the road.
Underground nests and hidden wall nests are eliminated with the same procedures
and pest control products mentioned in the Yellowjacket Elimination section of
A yellowjacket nest resembles a hornet nest and can be inhabited by thousands of
workers. In most areas of the country, the majority of the pest population
does not survive the cold winter months. In parts of Florida and
California it is not uncommon to find perennial nests that live throughout the
entire year. This situation creates even larger colonies in the nests,
which is a great hazard to the unsuspecting person or family dog that ventures
too close to the nest or nest entrance.
The German Yellowjacket is another stinging insect that is often found in
attics, crawl spaces, inside hollow blocks or other voids of homes in the
northeast United States. German Yellowjackets found in other areas of the
United States usually nest beneath the soil, in ground burrows or nests.
Yellowjackets will feed on a variety of items that contain sugars,
proteins and carbohydrates. Some of the foods this pests are seen eating:
beer, aphids, caterpillars, flies, meat (usually from the carcass of a dead
animal or fish,) and various items found in garbage cans. Left-over
citrus drinks and residue from beverage cans are the main reason why schools
have problems with children being attacked or stung while on campus.
Without regular emptying and cleaning of all trash receptacles, schools can
expect yellowjackets or wasps to have regular attendance on their
property. While school personnel should be told about the severity of the
problem and instructed to constantly monitor and clean such receptacles,
students should also be involved. Their participation in keeping trash in
trash bins (instead of close to trash bins!) will go a long way in the
sanitation, prevention of stinging pests.
Common Mistakes in Eliminating Yellowjackets, Hornets, Bees
- Trying to kill yellowjackets with a Wasp Freeze rarely works. A
wasp freeze is designed to sharp-shoot a stinging pest or their exposed
nest. This is fine for visible paper nests under the eaves of your
home but a waste of time for nests in the ground or in voids of a
structure. A wasp freeze has a quick knock down on most insects but
has no residual and will not spread out inside of a void, as will an
- Spraying a liquid insecticide into a void will not penetrate the large
nests of yellowjackets. The insecticide solution will follow the path
of least resistance, not blowing out sideways as will a professional dust.
- Many over the counter dusts found in lawn and garden centers are simply
too heavy for this job. You need the precise formulation of a
professional dust for the job.
- Do not attempt to eliminate an underground colony or one that is in a
wall void during daylight hours! You will get a better kill and will
have a safer outcome if you wait until dusk. More about this in our
yellowjacket elimination section.
The best yellowjacket elimination job starts with locating any possible
entry points leading to the nest. This is true of ground nests as well as
wall nests. It is best to locate these entrance holes during the afternoon
hours. During this time period, the workers are easily seen as they forage
for food and return to their home. To create a safer environment for
yellowjacket extermination, place a small object close to the entrance hole so
that it is easily seen. This is very important, as you will see in the
second step of the operation. If you can see entrance holes, go to the next
step in yellowjacket elimination. If you are unable to pinpoint the
exact location of the colony's entrance, it might be due to grass, weeds, ground
cover or landscaping. In this case, it might be necessary to broadcast
the general area with a professional liquid insecticide, using your hose end
sprayer. A pump type garden sprayer is not suggested for this job.
Eliminating yellowjackets, bees in a wall void or other such above ground nest,
follow the guidelines in Yellowjacket elimination in voids.
When broadcast treating an area, there are two
pesticides that work better than others: Cypermethrin and Talstar. Both of
these products are synthetic pyrethrins that are safer to use than Dursban,
Diazinon or other harsh products. These two products are also far better
in performance. Yellowjackets, wasps and hornets do not like Cypermethrin!
Pour 4 to 8 ounces of Cypermethrin insecticide concentrate into your hose end
sprayer. Attach your sprayer to a garden hose. You may now safely
spray your pesticide solution over the entire area. Begin with fence
lines, flower beds, tall grass or weeds, or any area where you suspect
yellowjackets to forage or where possible entrances to their colony could
be. If there is not too much flying insect activity, you can broadcast
your liquid insecticide during daylight hours. Watch your step! The
power of your garden hose sprayer will give you the reach and distance needed to
do the job but you should still be on the lookout for yellowjackets and their
colony entrance holes. After your Cypermethrin treatment, you may go on to
the next step in yellowjacket elimination.
Once a nest or colony entrance has been located and
marked, you will be able to apply your pest control products in the correct
area. However, do not attempt to eliminate an active yellowjacket nest in
the middle of the day. This is very dangerous as it invites multiple
stinging workers to your exposed face and skin.
The best time to do this pest control job is at dusk. During this time you
will have some visibility but the insects will be settling down for the
day. Wasps, bees, hornets, yellowjackets prefer to rest at dark.
This gives you two distinct advantages:
- All workers will be in the nest, instead of foraging and gathering food
for the colony. This gives you an excellent kill.
- If workers are at rest in the ground, you know where they are.
This means there is a far greater risk to you!
Now that you have located and marked the entrance holes to your
yellowjacket nest and the sun is just going down, you are ready to apply your
product. Injecting a professional insecticide dust into the entrance hole
is your best bet. The two best products for this job are Delta Dust and
Drione Dust. Both have their advantages. Drione Dust has a faster
knock down on any bug, especially stinging wasps, hornets, honey bees or
yellowjackets. Delta Dust is almost as quick as Drione but has the
advantage of being water proof. If the soil in or around your colony is
damp, Delta Dust will give a better residual than Drione which is severely
damaged by moisture. When in doubt, combine the two dusts together.
This combo will kill more stinging yellowjackets than you can imagine. The
Drione container is large enough (due to settling of the material) to add 1 Lb.
Delta Dust to the Drione Dust. Close the Drione lid and shake the
container to thoroughly mix the two products.
Once your products have been prepared, carefully approach the colony entrance
holes. Walking heavily or tripping over lawn equipment or children toys,
pet toys, pet food and water dishes will create vibrations in the ground that
might arouse the unsuspecting yellowjackets. Flip open the top of your
Drione Dust container, insert the tip into the entrance hole and quickly
"puff" the insecticide dusts down into the colony. Six or seven
puffs or bursts of dust will create a cloud of dust that penetrates and travels
through much of the colony. As workers move through the colonies they too
will distribute the dust even further throughout the paper nest.
During this application, you might hear the sounds of insects starting to move
about. If so, go back to the house. You can finish the job another
evening. Safety first!
Locate bee or yellowjacket nest entrance holes, in the same manner as inspecting
lawns. The difference in eliminating stinging pests in voids is that
only one dust is necessary and you will need a small tool to do the job
Once the entrance holes have been located, inject Delta
Dust into the holes with the use of a Crusader
Duster. Any crack, crevice or small opening in the general area of the
entrance holes should also be treated. Just as in lawn colony elimination,
this job should be done just before dark when bee activity has stopped but there
is just enough light for you to see to work. If work must be done after
dark, the use of a flashlight might backfire. Any emerging pests can be
attracted to the light source. If a light must be used, cover a flashlight
lens with red transparent material. This red light will not be as bright
as white light but it offers you extra protection. Insects do not see well
into the red spectrum of light.
After thoroughly dusting all possible holes, wait two to three days to examine
the situation. If there are any living bees, wasps or hornets remaining
after this time period, reapply your Drione Dust. Two to three
applications might be necessary for large nests.
To help prevent further infestations, spray the exterior of your home 3 to
4 times each year. Use Demon
WP (a Cypermethrin product) for this job. These types of pests cannot
The insecticide also gives a great chemical barrier that is safe for family and
pets but works great for spiders, scorpions,
ants, roaches, silverfish
and many other household pests.
EC Cynoff EC
Drione Dust Delta
Pest Control Supplies
Yellowjackets, Yellow Jackets