Tuesday, July 19, 2016

So Long, Suckers!

For several weeks now, I've noticed wasps hanging out by Elsa's back end, but wasps love looking for ways into beehives, so I haven't paid much attention to them until now.

Today, I wanted to split Elsa since this is her 2nd season, and Dr. Delaney has intimated that the best time to split is just after the spring flow has ended. However, as soon as I opened the cover, a cloud of yellow jackets flew straight at my face. Ugh. They'd made a nest under the roof.

Yellow jackets peeking out

Because of the way the roof is constructed, there was no way to get at the nest from underneath. If there had been, perhaps the wasps never would have taken up residence there in the first place. I had to remove the top in order to access the menaces.

Somewhere between the size of a pomelo & a soccer ball

I used expanding foam to fill in the cracks. Not pretty, but it's functional.

Wasps wondering what the heck happened
Usually, I leave wasps alone. They eat a lot of garden pests, and as long as they're not stinging me or my children, we get along fine. Today, though, they were bumping and stinging me the entire time. If I look at the situation from their point of view, I can't blame them, but I still can't say that I felt any remorse for destroying them. If I'd had napalm or a flame thrower, I would have used it.


  1. I've had the same quandry over helpful native insect versus death by some chemical, but that is quite a hornets nest! They're so aggressive, you absolutely did the right thing. Children and pets outrank wasps in the hierarchy of survival. That's just the way it is. BTW, what protection were you wearing? Beesuit or bugbaffler?

    1. I totally agree about children and pets outranking wasps. They're mean as heck!

      I haven't gotten around to ordering a bugbaffler yet, and I don't even own a full beesuit. However, I did wear a bee jacket & gloves and jeans under a maxi skirt. I know it sounds crazy, but a maxi skirt is my favorite when I'm inspecting bees -- they're long enough to cover most of the leg, but they're also loose enough that if you take a sting, it doesn't usually penetrate through to the skin. I put jeans on this time, too, though because I didn't want wasps flying up my legs.

      I still got quite a few stings, though, including one from a wasp that had crawled up under the back of my jacket. It's a good thing yellow jacket venom isn't nearly as painful as honey bee stings.

  2. Yikes! I'm surprised you didn't notice them before this! I was cleaning up some pots at the back of my garden the other day and a cloud of yellowjackets came up from somewhere. I haven't had a chance to investigate exactly where, but I need to find that out. My wife got stung picking tomatoes out in that area - I forgot to warn her. I'm thinking full on beesuit will be required to root out my nest - those buggers are nasty! I'll probably just plug up the hole when I find it. I do put out yellowjacket traps in the spring to catch the emerging queens, but have lately been noticing a lot of smaller yellowjackets flying around (youngins), so there always seem plenty to go around. Late in the season, they do a good job of cleaning up the dead bees in front of my hives, so they are of some use. ;-)

    1. Well, I had seen them; I just hadn't realized they had a nest! I don't know much about their development. Maybe they're like honeybees whose numbers kind of dwindle, dwindle, dwindle and then -- WHOOSH -- exploding bees!

      Good luck on your search & destroy mission. I heartily recommend a full bee suit if you have one -- and a flamethrower.


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