Saturday, August 02, 2008



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**I've been planning to paint our house right after my Grandson Eli and his parents (Dana and Geoffrey) visit in mid-August. As soon as they head home, I want to have the house primed, caulked, and prepared for a new coat. I want to pop the paint can tops and get started. However, a little over a week ago, Edwin pointed out some "bugs" or "bees" that were crawling into the south wall of our house. Investigation soon showed that there were many of them - enormous numbers, in fact - and that they were not mere bees or ordinary bugs, but fierce and easily angered yellow jackets. So, we have gone to war indeed.
**Where the siding, old fashioned T-111, overlaps between the lower and upper floors, about eight foot above the foundation level, these critters were coming and going in hoards, droves, and busy little clouds. Upon close observation I noticed that some of the "inbound" enemy were carrying tiny little bundles of dark material. Suitcases? Luggage? Household goodies for the colony? I'm not sure, but I suspect it is material they have scraped from decaying wood surfaces like fences for use in building nest and hiving compartments for brooding more yellow jackets.
**Even more oddly, I also noticed that as many as a third of the "outgoing" insects were also carrying bundles, except these tiny burdens were pure white. My first thought was larva, as the initial examples were like tiny grains of rice or maybe these were their eggs. Alas, it turns out to be not so. These white bits are minuscule portions of the attic insulation! The beasties seemed to be mining our insulation wee bit by wee bit. Over time, several days in fact, it became clear that a lot of material was being flow away to some unknown distant location. Is it another colony elsewhere? Are they just depositing it away from inside the wall where they obviously were dwelling now and need space, or is there some other explanation?
**I have attacked with a wasp and hornet killer-in-a-can, and the numbers are way down, but still they come. I have wrapped a long lath in toweling material and nailed it in place to impede easy entrance, and I am keeping that moist enough to rub some of the pesticide off upon any individual that forces entrance or exit. A couple of times a day I soak down the strip and fill the adjacent gaps. I'm hoping that a constant diet of the spray and enough harassment will either kill or discourage these pests , and do so in time for me to paint the house in two or three weeks.
**Maybe you can shed some light on this problem. Ever hear of a similar situation? Anyone out there familiar with dealing with yellow jackets that are ensconced inside a house wall? Is there any certain way to avoid being stung? I'm sensitive to insect venom anyway, and the three (or four) hits I've taken so far are quite enough, thank you.
**Neither the library not the local extension service has been of any help. I have not yet found any useful guidance on-line, and I'm too cheap to call an exterminator until I have had a go at doing the job myself. I'm going to look for someone to question when we visit the county fair next week, but meanwhile, who has some timely, pertinent and useful advice to share?


At 10:15 PM, Blogger David said...

I was just stung by yellow jackets for the first time in my life, so I'll tell you how we killed this nest. Ours was built into the block wall on the back side of the swimming pool. Treatment was a spray foam called "Enforcer Wasp & Yellow Jacket Foam." One application worked. A second for good measure.

At our old house we observed the yellow jackets entering the top of an exterior wall and coming out the interior wall near the floor. We solved this one by a quick call to a professional exterminator, who used a powder application. I am guessing it was Drione or Sevin Dust, as the online bloggers seem to recommend it.

Bee careful!

At 2:07 PM, Blogger brenvanc said...

I don't remember where I heard this (maybe Ken A. or Eric D.) but they warned about sealing up the yellow jacktets inside the house walls because if they couldn't get out they would eat their way out another way. -- Brenda

At 6:04 PM, Blogger Linda said...

John, I'm afraid I haven't had to deal with yellow-jackets, but we had bees that invaded our house (in Newberg) in a similar fashion, going in between the siding and the brick facade at the front of the house. We ended up having to call an exterminator, but we were very lucky, for he agreed to smoke them out in exchange for keeping the bees. He raised them for their honey. Didn't cost us a dime! Of course, yellow jackets won't work for that kind of a barter. Still, as I recall, the exterminator's fees were not steep (but then that was back in about '93.

Good luck. If you're like me, these stinging insects are frightening!


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