AARGGHH! Yellow Jackets in compost bin!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Tracy Rimmer, Sep 1, 2005.

  1. Tracy Rimmer

    Tracy Rimmer CF, Classroom & Books Mod Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    Manitoba, Canada
    Okay, I'm turning to you, my wise friends. A colony of yellow jackets has taken up residence in my compost bin. How can I get rid of them without resorting to chemicals and ruining my compost? Any ideas?

  2. pickapeppa

    pickapeppa Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    I can't wait to hear the response to this one, as I've had this happen in the past as well. It was a neighbor's compost pile that laid dormant for several years. They gave me permission to use it, and went in to turn the compost, and got chased out by a nest of bumblebees. That was the end of my composting, and perhaps the reason why the neighbors stopped using it. What eats bees? (besides my cats) :eek:

  3. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

    Dec 9, 2003
    your typical do-it-yourselfer might be stumped, but this isn't too difficult

    first of all, the nest is quite fragile
    you can easily squash it
    squashing works well if you can get to it

    second, yellow jackets cover their nest with paper
    If you can get the pesticide into the nest, it won't be in the compost

    third, an effective pesticide would be an aerosol pyrethrin
    pyrethrin is organic garden approved and has no residual
    it also should make a cloud when sprayed, not a jet spray
    don't use the 25 foot spray cans

    another possibility is a garden duster
    Diatomaceous Earth would work, but it wouldn't be as quick

    I use an aerosol with a tiny straw inserted in the spray tip
    I stick the straw right in the opening or through the paper
    2-3 seconds is all it takes

    the trick is to get the pesticide right in the nest
    this may be a little tricky depending on your compost bin
    you may need to make access before you try to exterminate
    If this riles them, just back away for 20 minutes, they'll calm down
    you might be able to get at the nest by coming from behind it

    if the nest is very large, it will have guards
    they are most interested in that which slows workers from entering/leaving
    their job is to keep you from blocking the entrance
    if you don't set off the alarms, you can stand right next to the nest

    dress up for the job
    wear a light jacket with elastic around the sleeves
    get a mosquito net to cover your head
    wear long rubber or plastic gloves
    do the deed, back away and watch

    I need to do it once and not return, since it's a business
    so I hang around the opening and make certain nothing is coming out
    you have the luxury of living there and can repeat the treatment

    don't buy into the malarky about it needing to be done in the dark
    they'll still come out mad as heck and sting
    nothing like running from a cloud of wasps in the dark

    good luck
  4. SherrieC

    SherrieC Well-Known Member

    Aug 24, 2002
    We had ground hornets really bad this year, and successfully got rid of them & a large hornet nest in oUr compost, just with 12 mason jars, and a big ole sun tea jar. Sneak up on em eye ball the entrance hole, if it can be covered with a mason, or big sun tea jar then plop one on snug it down, run. In case you over looked a hole. They arnet smart enough to tunnel under they fly towards the light until heat ehaustion over takes them. We had 12 holes at the side of the house all abandoned now. :lonergr: