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  1. #1
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    Default Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    Has anyone found any great solutions for controlling Yellow Jacket wasp and hornet problems? I've found powdered sugar works very well as an attractant, and I took the zapper out of a bug zapper light, and made a wasp zapper. (Very dangerous I know...) I've been successful in making a dent in the overall wasp and hornet populations,killing hundreds at a time, but I still have huge pressure this year from the wasps and hornets, and have lost many small nucs to these predators.
    Beekeeping 12 yrs, 2 recent - 10 Hives - 6a - Engineering Solutions against Winter Losses! - WARMBEES.COM

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    Quote Originally Posted by warmbees View Post
    Has anyone found any great solutions for controlling Yellow Jacket wasp and hornet problems? I've found powdered sugar works very well as an attractant, and I took the zapper out of a bug zapper light, and made a wasp zapper. (Very dangerous I know...) I've been successful in making a dent in the overall wasp and hornet populations,killing hundreds at a time, but I still have huge pressure this year from the wasps and hornets, and have lost many small nucs to these predators.
    Wouldn't powdered sugar attract honey bees? How about a picture of your zapper...
    Robbin NW Florida(8A) / 14 hives / 3 nd Year / 4 TF - 10T {OAV}

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    Make traps: use a clear soda bottle and clear soda so you can enjoy the view of dead critters.
    Make a hole in the top "shoulder" of the soda bottle, save the cap and cap the bottle when you're done making the trap. To the soda bottle add soda and vinegar and a chopped up strip of banana peel. Let it sit inside the house for a day or so to "ripen". You can cut the hole on the day you want to hang the trap outside to keep the house from smelling like vinegar and banana peels.
    Make sure that the mixture smells "vinegary", you don't want bees to be attracted to the sugar in the soda.
    http://suburbanrancher.wordpress.com...rnet-trapping/

    I am using these right now but instead of banana peels I added pieces of turkey to see if the smell of meat works as well. I may be adding more traps with banana peels and compare the 2 for effectiveness.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    Install robber screens that will keep the wasp and hornets out.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    Robbin, one would think that powdered sugar would also attract honeybees, but I have not seen a single honey bee go to the powdered sugar. I've killed many hundreds of wasps and hornets and not a single honeybee.

    Slow Drone: I have installed robbing screens and they help a little for awhile, but the yellow jackets are so persistent that they also learn to go around the sides eventually.

    I'll include a picture of my zapper, but with the express disclaimer that it is an electricution hazard, so anyone contemplating building one, needs to build a shield around it or make other arrangements for safety. I don't leave mine on unless I am around. It seems to be most effective that way anyway. Since wasps are also colony based, they go back and tell their buddies. So I place powdered sugar in the bucket and let go for a few hours, and then come back and turn it on for 20 minutes while I am out there, either in the garden or observing/working my bees. This way the 50 or 100 that are in the bucket, get fried, and anything that comes within the time period as well. Then I sprinkle more sugar and leave for awhile. So mine is not turned on unless I am there to watch and keep anybody away that comes out to the back.

    WP_001681.jpg

    Good News. While I was out taking this pic, and killing many by hand, I was walking my fence line, and came across a yellow-jacket nest. So tonight will be a joy to clobber when they are all there for the night! Anyone that reads this stuff might ask how I am going to do that. With this, I am an expert. I have found two methods that work very well to take out a yellow jacket next. First, dawn dish soap works very well on wasps and hornets. I have a 2 liter hand pump spray bottle from Lowes or Home Depot that works well. I simply fill it with water and then add a very generous squirt of Dawn dish soap. I have tried other brands and they work with varying effectiveness, but Dawn works best. It takes them out just as fast as RAID but without the toxicity. I can hand it to a grandchild and have no concern for poison issues. Second, and of course more fun, you can obtain rodent smoke bombs from your local farm supply. These are used for gofers and the like. You can simply light one off, stick it in the hole of the yellow jacket nest and then cover with dirt or something. The smoke bomb will kill everything in the nest. I then dig out the nest and smash all the eggs and larvae. Either method works well. If you choose the Dawn method, test your mix first, and if it doesn't kill within about 15 seconds, then add more detergent. Don't be stingy, that stuff is cheaper than RAID or any other poison! 1 bottle will last me for 10 refills of my sprayer.
    Beekeeping 12 yrs, 2 recent - 10 Hives - 6a - Engineering Solutions against Winter Losses! - WARMBEES.COM

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    Indeed yellow jackets are persistent! I've used a lot of different robber screen designs because of wasp and yellow jackets. I'm using one design on my nucs and another on my big hives both are working well both can only be entered from the top. You hit the jack pot finding that yellow jackets nest always makes me feel better when I can find them. Good luck and be careful taking them out!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    Some Followup!

    It turns out that the yellow jackets remained a much bigger problem than I even realized! They would have been responsible for the entire loss of my apiary, had I not totally come to the realization of the problem, and taken extra steps. As it stands, I am down to one hive with about 1 frame of bees, that are alive today in February.

    Some history to help everyone see the extent of this, I had 6 hives that were at least 3 frames of bees or more in late August. I had 3 that were at least 1 full box of bees, 1 that was nearly 2 boxes of bees, and my strongest was nearly 3 full boxes (deep langs) of bees on the day of inspection from the Utah State Entomologist. This was the basic status of my apiary at the time of this thread.

    End of Year / Start of Winter:
    Because of the yellow jacket pressures that started this thread, I had been trying to kill them off by hand in about every way that I could think of. I necked the weaker hives down to 1 or 2 bees wide, but felt like, and indeed observed, that the stronger hives were capable of holding their own and defending, so I left them with about half of their bottom boards open. They had a lot of traffic due to the high bee counts. However, as October rolled around, I began lifting boxes to estimate weights and evaluate which ones needed some quick feeding and evaluate who could make it through the winter and etc.

    Other than the occasional look and feel in October, I didn't disturb much. Upon returning from a Halloween vacation to Disneyland, I discovered that some of the hives that had previously had been nearly heavy enough to make the winter, were practically empty!!! I also discovered some significant robbing and a greater number of yellow jackets literally stealing the show!!! I shut down the smaller hives, and concentrated on my second strongest hive, which seemed to be getting the brunt of the robbing. It was only 2 nights later, when I went out at night with a flashlight that I discovered my second strongest hive was absolutely empty and literally all of the activity that I had been seeing the prior 2 days was robbing! OOOuuuuuucccchhhhhh! Really? My second strongest was completely gone??? There was not a pile of bees on the ground, or any other real evidence of a crime. The next morning (temp in the low 30s (F)) I also inspected my previously strongest hive. Small miracle, there was a queen and about a baseball size cluster of bees in the upper most super! IIInnnnnCCCrrreeeedddiiibbbllleee! First I couldn't believe they were still alive, but worse, I could not believe that my strongest hive that was literally 3 full langstroth boxes of bees, just 30 days earlier, were all but totally decimated! Further, the weaker hives that I had choked down to 1 or 2 bees were still 1 frame or more in size. I then carefully observed both morning and evening, the very methodical but steady destruction of my bees, by yellow jackets! There was a steady stream of yellow jackets entering and leaving all hives with either bellies full of honey or bee parts! And this mayhem was going on completely unchecked, because it was cold enough that the bees had to retreat to a cluster ball for dormancy (no guards), while the yellow jackets were still able to continue predation!

    Given all of my observations and experience since the start of this thread, and the fact that I had several hives this year, actually abscond due to high yellow jacket pressure, leaving empty boxes and no clue as to what happened (if you hadn't been aware of the yellow jacket pressure prior). I'm prepared to throw out a theory, or at least a potential qualifying contributor, of yellow jackets being a possible answer to at least some of the reported cases of CCD! Don't anybody shoot me, before considering that there are enough beekeepers out there that take a hands-off approach, that unless they were to closely observe, while keeping hands off, might come in the fall for an inspection and find totally empty hives, and conclude that it must have been CCD...

    This near total devastation, would have indeed been total, if I hadn't intervened, and since I happen to be the inventor of the WARMBEES In-Hive Warmer, and conducting studies regarding winter warming of hives, I was able to get warmers in these very tiny colonies, and keep them alive for some additional time. That's another story, not necessarily appropriate for this forum, but I do still have one small viable colony with about 1/2 of a frame of bees, this 2nd day of February.

    I began this thread with a severe need for any ideas to control yellow jackets, all the while trying everything I could think of myself... One very promising possible solution that I intend to further evaluate this coming year, is a class of selective poisons that I began trying at the critical first week in November. In total desperation I called my brother and described what was happening, and he mentioned that in Tennessee, he had a similar problem but with Honey Ants, as well as Wasps, and that back there, they used a couple of poisons, with great success! The first was TERRO, an ant poison which he successfully stopped an ant infestation of millions of ants! And the second was called HOT SHOT, which is marketed for killing cockroaches. Hotshot is successfully used on cockroaches and is very effective. Here is the kicker... Both of these poisons have Boric Acid or Borax as the active ingredient. Terro is basically a sweetner laced with BA, and Hotshot is a granular product made of mostly BA. Both are placed where the critters eat, and both are a delayed action, so the product is carried back to the main hive or body of that species and fed to the babies and queens! The BA, then kills the entire hive of pests. Eureeeeeka!

    So I'm going to preface this next comment by saying that the jury is still out on this, after I purchased both of these products at Lowes, and began tinkering with how to deliver to just yellow jackets and not bees, the very next day, the yellow jacket activity was cut in at least half, but I would say by probably 80% and by 2 days. None!!!! Now at about 3 days, the first cold snap hit, and I couldn't tell you that nature didn't play a part in it. 2 weeks later, I did get some more yellow jackets and repeated the application, and again 1 day later, none!!! Again followed by another cold snap. So I am anxious to try again this spring, but I am very hopeful that I have come upon a solution to what would have completely kiled off my entire apiary!!!!!

    I am very interested in any input from anybody having tried or done anything similar... I began to experiment with my own concoctions, and have come up with one that really seems to attract only yellow jackets. Below is a picture of my delivery, in placing just 6 or 7 drops across the top of one of my severely affected hives, and as you can see, the yellow jackets are dining outside the hive rather than in! The powder is a mix of powdered sugar laced with Hotshot. The drops are basically Terro. I say basically, because by the time I took this picture, I had already consumed my bottle of Terro, and refilled it with my latest concoction, which was my attempt at home-made Terro. So lest some manufacturer think I'm run a-foul here, I will say it is Terro. All that aside, I am hopeful and encouraged that I may be on to a solution for my wasp problem! I hope this might help somebody else!


    WP_002027.jpg
    Beekeeping 12 yrs, 2 recent - 10 Hives - 6a - Engineering Solutions against Winter Losses! - WARMBEES.COM

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/al...ht-p-1268.html

    I think the key is a pecticide that is slow acting, non repellant and undetectable combined with a bait not attractive to honey bees.

    I haven't used anything like this, it looks like it has the potential to go horribly wrong.

    Good luck

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    I regret what happened to your hives warmbees. Here in Europe some French, Spanish and Portuguese beekeepers are dealing similarly with the velutina wasp. They use a toxic-acting Fipronil, that wasps carry to the nest. They report that after 2 to 3 days, wasps leaving the apiary pressing for a period of about 3 to 4 weeks. The velutina wasp has not yet come to my apiaries, but she is getting near and near. All the information I can gather about the fight against this pest is very welcome. Thanks for your report and once again my regret and solidarity.

    You can see here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ibB8ptMgvQ " Trojan horse " strategy to be called into action .
    "We are two abysses - a well staring the sky." Fernando Pessoa

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    Thanks Mbeck, and your summation of my rather long thread is great!

    Thanks for the response, and I not only appreciate your concern and thoughts, But I also share them, and have been very much applied at researching and observing, while I have made these attempts. In fact I sat out there for hours in the cold 40's, observing how the bait was being taken, and ensuring that bees were not attracted. If the baits had not been taken by the time I wanted to go inside, I would either cover them up, or wipe them off, to ensure that nothing bad happened while I was not there observing. I'm very much aware that it is allowing poisons to be taken back to attack the yellow jacket nests and that some would argue that that is irresponsible and not eco-friendly, but I would remind anyone in this thought path, that my entire apiary is on the line here, and it is a worse tragedy to me, of having the more useful and valuable honeybees not be totally destroyed here either! I'm just tipping the balance back toward my interest and financial investment! I'm seeking some harmony here. One argument could be made that the presence of my apiary is artificial to my neighborhood ecosystem, and that its presence is responsible for an above average concentration of yellow jackets in the first place. So should I cease and desist, simply because of the yellow jacket population?

    I am quite conscious and concerned with proper ecology and environmental issues, as I have been wrestling with issues like the super fund cleanup site, that is our local Airforce Base, and the fact that I have cancer and it very possibly may have somehow come from all of that. Hence the reason for posting the request for additional thought from this fine community on the subject.

    MBeck, I hope you see that my response, which could be taken as perhaps a bit defensive, really isn't with respect to your comments, but is in fact a wrestle of my own thoughts throughout this whole experience, especially, as I have seriously considered creating my own formula to sell via my website, as a product, which entails an incredible amount of possible liability and legal forethought. So I have many thoughts on the entire subject of pesticides and especially with the prospect to one used specifically around bees. So please know that I have some passion inside me on this subject, but it is in harmony with your thoughts, not apposed to them. Ren
    Last edited by warmbees; 02-02-2015 at 09:42 AM. Reason: Add Mbeck to initial response as the direction the response was intended.
    Beekeeping 12 yrs, 2 recent - 10 Hives - 6a - Engineering Solutions against Winter Losses! - WARMBEES.COM

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    Thanks Eduardo, for the link.

    I am still studying the entire subject, however, as poisons go, I guess I can't prove this yet, so facts are not necessarily in evidence here, but I believe Boric Acid has been around a long time, and Borax the soap, is well a soap, and at least I perceive this to be more on the biodegradable scale or of nature, since Boric Acid or Sassolite, as it is found naturally occurring as a mineral on our planet, to be readily available and abundant to some degree. So I perceive it to be not too big of a punch back, or danger to the ecosystem, per se. Ren
    Beekeeping 12 yrs, 2 recent - 10 Hives - 6a - Engineering Solutions against Winter Losses! - WARMBEES.COM

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    We really got hammered with yellow jackets last fall.
    We ain't guuna take it no more!

    So a few of us purchased Onslaught insecticide with the Alpine baiting stations to use this fall in our yards.
    I talked with an ex OSU entomologist, and she gave me some useful information:

    First of all, yellow jackets are ground dwellers and they only forage about 100 yards or so from their nest.
    They are not like honey bees that forage for miles.
    So, if you can poison the nests around a yard you should be good to go.
    They are not like bees that could move back into your yard as a swarm.
    Once you rid the area of jacket nests, there will be no more until a queen overwinters next spring.
    Bottom entrances are also part of the problem.
    Yellow Jackets mainly forage about 6" off the ground. If you have top entrances, (I don't) she said that would really help.

    In Oregon, the legal use of Onslaught insecticide to control yellow jackets is kind of odd in that you follow the directions of the baiting station, not from the chemical label.
    You will have to ask your pesticide folks for info for your state.
    So we'll see how well it works.
    You are supposed to begin the baiting as soon as they become noticeable.
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    Nice video on that link Eduardo, and oh, gee, some yellow jackets as well!

    This is very similar to what I was seeing here in my yard. The bait I put out was very strongly accepted by the yellow jackets and almost no bees took interest.

    Some quick research came up with this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12852627
    which shows some comparison with Fipronil and Boric Acid... Very intersting. I'm still leaning toward something we have seen in use for centuries, and that naturally occurs, rather than new pesticides that we may not understand as well. The trick, as I see it, is to come up with the right attractants to cause the selection of the predator to be very specific. It appears that the Fipronil in the video was very successful at this. Ren
    Beekeeping 12 yrs, 2 recent - 10 Hives - 6a - Engineering Solutions against Winter Losses! - WARMBEES.COM

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    Aaaw a kindred spirit.

    Harry Vanderpool, thanks for your response. I had assumed that yellow jackets would forage for similar distances, and so efforts like mine might carry for similar distances. The info from your expert about yellow jackets is helpful, and encourages me that my efforts won't be too impacting on the yellow jackets ecosystem. I'm aware that yellow jackets also consume other insects, that are considered nuisance pests, and are beneficial in that sense.

    Well said: "We ain't gonna take it no more" - exactly how I felt, only with a little bit more helplessness, against a formidable army, undertone! But by dang, I wasn't going down without a fight! Hence this update portion of the thread! I have at least succeeded in preserving 1 tiny colony to this point. But the lethal blow by the yellow jackets, more than a month ago, is still playing out, and may result in the total demise, yet! The timing of the blow is the real kicker. The resultant weakness of the hive going into the start of winter, meant certain death, without my intervention. The entire process is bitter sweet - The collapse of my apiary is most frustrating, to say the least, but the successes of my warmer design, in keeping these tiny survivors alive this long, is more than I could have hoped for on that front, so I'm a bit of a mess with emotions on the home front.

    I'm going to investigate this Onslaught that you've mentioned. Thanks for the info. Ren
    Last edited by warmbees; 02-02-2015 at 10:20 AM. Reason: Punctuation
    Beekeeping 12 yrs, 2 recent - 10 Hives - 6a - Engineering Solutions against Winter Losses! - WARMBEES.COM

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    I've just started getting a yellow jacket problem, Harry, did the Alpine with Onslaught kill yellowjackets without killing your hives? Seems dangerous to me, but I'm starting to get worried....
    Robbin NW Florida(8A) / 14 hives / 3 nd Year / 4 TF - 10T {OAV}

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    Quote Originally Posted by Robbin View Post
    Harry, did the Alpine with Onslaught kill yellowjackets without killing your hives?
    I haven't used it yet.
    You really need to CAREFULLY read all if the information from the Alpine Bait Station:

    http://www.alpinepest.com/?m=11Extre....htm?m=11&s=45
    Click on each bar down the right hand side and carefully read the information.
    Onslaught is a very powerful insecticide.
    It can be safely used around your hives IF USED CORRECTLY.
    I get the idea that it could wipe out a hive easily if used willy-nilly.
    When you read the mixing instructions it appears that a bottle of this stuff should go a long, long way.
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    It sounds like the onslaught plus the alpine bait stations could be the answer. What spooks me is a micro encapsulated pesticide. The particles are coated, encapsulated, and bees pick them up as pollen and carry them into the hive killing the queen and brood nest. In the past micro-encapsulated insecticides have been murder on bees.
    Dave

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    The important point of the methods of poison, that I chose to illuminate here, is that they are specifically targeting their intended pest...

    Dave, this means that these are not just broadcast out around your hives in their natural forms as a pesticide that would otherwise have multiple or broad spectrum use. By placing them in a specific bait or trap that lures only the intended pest, we focus the intent down to, hopefully a single target. Ren
    Beekeeping 12 yrs, 2 recent - 10 Hives - 6a - Engineering Solutions against Winter Losses! - WARMBEES.COM

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    And when magpies, cats, and raccoons get the traps the poison is scattered. If you think magpies and raccoons will leave them along with tuna and chicken in them, I have a surprise for you. I actually think the method is reasonably safe if the directions are followed. I am just playing devils advocate.

    We have a lot of wasps and some yellow jackets, but we have never lost a strong healthy hive to them. They are more of a nuisance with nucs, but not as bad as robbers from other hives. There are frequently dead wasps, and yellow jackets in front of the hives. We have them every year, but on alternate years they are much worse.

    For us our greatest threat is varroa mites. They will definitely take out strong hives.
    Dave

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Yellow Jacket Wasps and Hornet problems!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Burrup View Post
    And when magpies, cats, and raccoons get the traps the poison is scattered. If you think magpies and raccoons will leave them along with tuna and chicken in them, I have a surprise for you. I actually think the method is reasonably safe if the directions are followed. I am just playing devils advocate.
    You bring up some good points to think about and work around.
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

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