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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Moore County, NC
    Posts
    210

    Default Bee-Lining Yellow Jackets

    This post if only for those who have decided that they must find and remove yellow jacket nests to save their honey bee hives.
    Ok Folks, for those of you who have been having trouble with yellow jackets and want to find and remove the nest here is Sherpa's bee-lining primer:
    1. Obtain a small (hand sized) fish that has been cleaned, but with the skin still on (keeps it from drying out). A small bream or bass works great.
    2. By watching your hive determine in what general direction the yellow jackets are going when they leave your hive.
    3. Go in that direction about 200-300 feet and find a small tree that has a clearing around it.
    4. Skin a small limb of the tree, cut the end of the limb to a point and hang the fish on the limb. The best time for this is in the early morning.
    5. Place some grease around the trunk of the tree to keep ants away.
    6. Go home and return in about 2-3 hours. The fish will have attracted the yellow jackets and they will be biting off small pieces of the fish and returning to their nest.
    7. You can follow the yellow jackets to their nest.
    8. If you are having trouble seeing the yellow jackets, you can flag them. You will need a piece of cigarette paper (the kind that people used to roll their own). Tear off a corner of the paper and make it into a small triangular "flag" with a long "tail". The tail should be just longer than the length of the yellow jacket. Take a small piece of fish and attach it to the end of the tail of the flag by rolling it into a ball. (You want the piece to be about the size that the jackets are biting off). You are going to trick the yellow jacket to take this piece of fish with the flag. When a yellow jacket has landed on the fish, and IS WELL UNDER WAY biting off a piece of the fish, you slowly slide the tail end of your flag with the fish under the yellow jacket's abdomen up to its jaws. You want the yellow jacket to grasp your piece of fish with the flag.
    9. The yellow jacket will take the fish with the flag attached back to the nest. Don't make the flag too big or the yellow jacket will bite the flag off.
    10. If you want to practice giving the jackets some fish before making your flag, just put a small ball of fish on the end of a pine needle and use it to push under the yellow jacket when the yellow jacket is biting off a piece of fish. You can use a pine needle that is long enough to be a little distance from the "business end" of the yellow jacket. If you give the jacket a slightly larger piece than they would normally bite off, they will sometimes try to fly with this larger piece and it is easier to follow them. You could try this before using the flag method.
    11. When you are following the yellow jacket and you see that it makes a sudden downward movement, you are near the nest so slow down and don't step on the nest. Repeat, DON'T STEP ON THE NEST. IF you lose sight of the yellow jacket, STOP where you are and look around. You may be very near the nest. Backtrack and try again. It really helps if you have some help in following the yellow jacket.
    12. If you determine that the nest if a long way from your fish, you can put another fish closer to where you followed the yellow jackets.
    13. Once you find the nest, be sure that you observe it to determine if they have more than one entrance (about half the time). Mark the location of the nest so that you can easily find it at dusk.
    14. Obtain a road flare and return to the nest site at dusk. Once you have determined that all the yellow jackets have returned to the nest, light the flare and QUICKLY put the lighted end of the flare into the entrance. The flame will kill the guards and the smoke will put the yellow jackets to SLEEP. Leave the flare in the entrance about 10 minutes. After that time you can dig up the nest and dispose of the yellow jackets in whatever means you find appropriate (soapy water). Remember the jackets are asleep not dead. They will awaken in about 5 minutes if not killed. If you want to take the nest with larvae home to use as fish bait, put the nest in a paper bag and store in the refrigerator. If the nest has a second entrance, you must cover it before you put the flare in. Put the flare in the end that has the most activity. Sometimes you only find a 2nd entrance after the flare is in and you see smoke coming out. If so, quickly seal this entrance.
    15. Remember, don't step on the nest and don't start a brush fire. Also if you find yellow jackets of different sizes or markings on the fish they are from different nests. You will usually see them competing for the fish.
    When I was younger (12 yrs old) I used this method many times to find yellow jacket nests. Local fisherman would pay for the nests and this is how we made some spending money in rural SC. If used properly, you can find find nests this way without getting stung.
    If you have questions PM me before you go out or leave a question here.
    I will try to get up some pictures, but I don't think that I can do it before next week. Happy hunting.
    Last edited by Sherpa1; 08-12-2007 at 10:36 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Windsor,NC,USA
    Posts
    285

    Default

    Thanks Sherpa, I watched a few yellow jackets this morning take off with some bee larve and I saw the general direction. I put the trap out with a peice of ham and some orange juice, but have only caught 5 or 6 in two days.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,032

    Default

    Excellent, very well described. I only wish you would stop calling the wasps, bees.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Moore County, NC
    Posts
    210

    Default

    Joseph,
    I have removed the two inadvertent uses of the word "bee" in referring to a yellow jacket in the body of the post. I was trying to write this quickly this am to get onto the forum. I am retaining the use of the term "bee-lining" since it refers to a methodology that can have different applications. Please accept my humble apology for offending your purist sensibility.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,032

    Smile

    Thank you Sherpa1.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
    Posts
    5,080

    Default

    Joseph, It was written in NC. All soft drinks are cokes, all stinging insects are bees, all copy machines are xerox machines, ETC. ETC. ETC.

    Us'ns beeks ain't that much keerful wif our'n speakin'.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Beaverton, OR
    Posts
    47

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yoyo View Post
    Thanks Sherpa, I watched a few yellow jackets this morning take off with some bee larve and I saw the general direction. I put the trap out with a peice of ham and some orange juice, but have only caught 5 or 6 in two days.
    Tuna fish works well! caught 15 in a couple of hours with when the tuna was straight out of the can. Works a little better the next day. After 4 though you'll need to change out the tuna.

    One of our beekeeper from Salem, OR used this method and had one of those tall tube type traps completely full in a couple of hours.
    SIStone

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    North Hills, CA USA
    Posts
    454

    Default

    Sherpa1, thankyou for taking the time to describe the proven procedure on locating YJ's nests. I will certainly will give it a try.
    Walt

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    1,848

    Default

    Sherpa-thanks for so precise and easy to understand instructions--good job!
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default

    I can't imagine getting something pushed up under the yellow jacket without them taking off.

    Maybe if the weather was cooler and they moved slower. Here in FL they are small and very fast.

    I can see a honeybee for at least 100 ft, but as of yet have been unable to follow a yellow jacket for more than 10 ft. as they fly fast and very erratically.
    Troy

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default

    THANKS! Sherpa1. VERY interesting; especially about the "flag" with a "long" tail; maybe could be used in other experiments/research with insects.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Hillsdale, NY
    Posts
    8

    Default

    They live in a stack of bee boxes, (where I had another colony of bees) in a paper nest about the sise of big. I haven't wached to see if they are living on my bee larva, but my hive is stong and making honey. I do want to dispose of the squaters though, so I can make use of the equipment they have userped. Maybe the road flare isn't so good in this aplication?
    NO

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    278

    Default

    good thread Sherpa1...sounds like you got it down good....I wiped out my first hive of yellowjackets when i was 11-12yrs...Got stung alot running into there nest clearing wooded building lots...My younger bother, as a child, once got stung so badly picking raspberries over a unknown nest, he looked like a Chinaman for 2-3 days....eyes swollen shut...thats when i became a yellowjacket hunter...lol I've found lots of nest over the yrs, but never used a bait, just mostly watched where they were going and followed,until i lost sight, i'd stay in that same spot,until i saw another and followed, this is how i finally found the nest...I us to burn them out with gasoline, but have used a garden hose, water....for many yrs now, takes longer to do the job, but trying not to poison the earth these days...this is my experience with hunting down yellowjacket nest for over 40 yrs..
    Your sure right though, having been a comm. fisherman out of Montauk Pt.,Ny for 20yrs, i know how atracted yellowjackets are to fish..! I'm sure going to give your method a try, never to old to learn a new trick...
    Kevin M.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Moore County, NC
    Posts
    210

    Default

    Thanks Kevin,
    I am going to try to get some pictures up this weekend. I am working the late shift this week and won't have time until then. Your story reminds me of the time that my 12 yr old cousin stepped on a YJ nest. They chased him for over 1/4 mile. His Dad finally ripped the boys shirt off and the YJs were still attacking the shirt. He was stung over 20 times. Had to take a trip to the doctor for some shots. By the way, I have found that August is the worst month for YJ's attacking the hives. We used to always rob the hives in June or early July. They seemed to have the most brood during that time.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    751

    Default

    What species are they? I gather they're similar to our ground nesting wasps, but the way they're described, they sound a lot more defensive. A good solution to attacks on hives is to put them on screen bottoms, with permanently reduces entrances; nicve are about 3 1/2 inches wide and 1.4 inch high. Most of the wasps end up trying to get in through the mesh, while those that do find the right way in get massacred. I've often got more dead wasps than bees outside hives.
    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

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