Yellow Jacket Like Picnics

Patricia M. Arledge, Sharpe, Kenneth W.  |  11/5/2013 1:19:41 AM

News Article for August 12, 2013:

Since it is just about time when football is starting to gear up along with tailgating and outside food activities you probably have noticed an increase in the presence of yellow jackets. Their food sources are starting to diminish so they are more interested in what we have to eat.

Yellow jackets are meat eaters and are also very fond of sugary sodas left unattended. They like pet food and just about anything you put in a garbage can. They frequently visit picnics and places where you are cleaning game or fish.

It is bad enough when they want to hang around when we are eating but even worse is when we accidently encounter their nest. Yellow jackets are wasps that live in paper nest. Usually they will build the nest in the ground and the nest can be large. It is not unusual to have hundreds or even thousands of yellow jackets on one nest which is built in the shape of a plate with many layers like a high rise apartment.

I have seen yellow jackets get into the walls of houses and fill the interior of an old car seat. I have stepped in nest under trees, ran over them in pastures while clipping, had them take up residence in a flower pot and hidden under the firewood pile. Unfortunately they do not take kindly to being disturbed and are tenacious in their pursuit.

This is not a job for an aerosol can of flying insect spray. It takes volume and determination to defeat such a formidable foe. I have found that the garden sprayer is also not a good choice nor is the approach at night advisable.

I want to see my enemy and know if he is advancing so I can retreat. First, locate the nest during the day by the constant going and coming of wasp seeking food. If you are observant you can clearly see the yellow jackets glittering in the sun.

Most of the time the nest will be in the ground so just figure out where the primary entrance is located, there may be more than one. Wait for early morning or late afternoon so everyone is home when to make your ambush. I would not however do this in the dark.

Mix up 3 gallons of water with the recommended amount of insecticide plus 8 ounces of liquid soap in a 5 gallon bucket. I would use Sevin, Orthene, Malathion or permethrin.

Ease up to the hole and dump (not pour) the contents, drop the bucket and exit swiftly. The excess will usually drain into the hole. Go back the following day and see if there is still activity to and from the nest. If you see activity, repeat the process.

For more information on these or related topics contact Kenny at 225-686-3020 or visit our website at www.lsuagcenter.com/livingston.

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