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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Do it Yourself Discussion! => Topic started by: lizzzi on August 18, 2014, 08:39:04 PM

Title: Underground hornet nest
Post by: lizzzi on August 18, 2014, 08:39:04 PM
The kids just found a hole in the ground with several hornets coming out of it--fortunately no one was stung. Any suggestions for DIY destroying it--or should I call the exterminator? I will go out early in the morning while it's still cool, and double-check the location and mark it with a stick--then wait until tomorrow night to…do what?  Gasoline down the hole? Shoot a can of Raid in there from 20 ft.? Garden hose and dish soap? What really works, as opposed to what are urban legend nonsensical methods?
Title: Re: Underground hornet nest
Post by: Jacana on August 19, 2014, 12:18:25 AM
What geographic region are you in? Try to identify what they are first. In the US there aren't many ground nesting wasps. Yellow jackets are one possibility, they are small and fast. And they could be a huuuge problem this time of year, they are faster than you think and there may be hundreds or thousands of them. If the wasps are very large (well over an inch) they may be cicada killers, aka ground digger wasps. These are usually harmless but if they bother you or are near where the kids play you can kill the nests with insecticide sprayed (or dusted) in the entrance at dusk. Some people in Florida used boiling water, or ammonia, or whatever they had lying around, seemed to work for them. Look for other nests nearby too.

If it is a yellow jacket nest, be very careful! Call a pro if you can. There may be more entrances, carefully watch the area for workers zooming back and forth and watch where they go. From a distance. You can place bait to make this easier (they like jelly).

Regular Raid or gasoline won't work. No liquid will really be effective. Sprays and foams like Spectricide or Harris won't penetrate an extensive nest. You may have some luck with traps or poisons but may not. Poison baits are dangerous around kids and pets too. Call your local University Cooperative Extension for advice if you have one. Use an insecticide dust and duster legal for home use in your area and keep kids and pets far away for days. Don't do this if you are allergic, even the mild swelling kind of allergic. Hit and run... Once you've puffed the dust in, quietly place a brick over the entrance and leave fast and quietly. Remember, there's likely another entrance. If you hear sound or movement, leave immediately even if you haven't dusted because they heard you coming. Don't use a flashlight, it only gives them a target. Do it late dusk when you can still see or use a stationary lantern or something in a direction away from your path to safety. Wear protective clothing and plan your escape, remove any obstacles that you could trip over. Repeat if necessary in a few days. Oh, or call a pro.
Title: Re: Underground hornet nest
Post by: Trudie on August 19, 2014, 07:36:48 AM
We had this last summer, and you need to be careful especially when you're mowing in the area. 

If you want a free, expert solution contact your state's cooperative extension service and talk with an entomologist (bug expert).  Describe to them what you're seeing and they can suggest a DIY solution, which will probably involve using common spray chemicals.  Just do it at night wearing long sleeves and pants.
Title: Re: Underground hornet nest
Post by: Duchess of Stratosphear on August 19, 2014, 07:46:53 AM
I have these every year in my yard and if they aren't too close to the house, I just let them be. This website has some tips for dealing with them without chemicals:
Look under "Y" for "yellow jackets."
Title: Re: Underground hornet nest
Post by: lizzzi on August 19, 2014, 08:21:49 AM
Just to clarify, we're in a Great Lakes state in the U.S., and they are hornets or yellow jackets. They aren't too close to the house, but the children play out there, and the mowing is done by a lawn service--wouldn't want anybody to get hurt. I took a look early this morning and saw no activity, but as it was already daylight, I thought it might be too late to spray. I always kill wasp nests at night, but have never had to do an underground one before.  I've always used a couple cans of wasp/hornet spray (Raid), and that worked fine…but again, I've done big hanging nests…not subterranean ones. Thanks for all suggestions--I'll keep you updated.
Title: Re: Underground hornet nest
Post by: Spork on August 19, 2014, 08:26:51 AM

If they are the very small and aggressive yellow jackets -- I've had luck with Sevin dust.  I really don't like the stuff, as it kills all sorts of good creatures, too.  But, I've used it and it worked.

As others have said: they're wicked fast and aggressive.  You need to get in and get out fast.   And they definitely have multiple entrances.  All you want is enough dust around the entrance(s) that they walk through it as they come and go.

They're calmer as dusk approaches... I'd attack then.
Title: Re: Underground hornet nest
Post by: TrMama on August 19, 2014, 12:07:30 PM
Whatever you end up doing, call the lawn service today to let them know. Just in case you don't get all of them on your first attempt.

I inadvertently  mowed over an underground nest once. It was not a pleasant experience. Luckily, I'm not allergic.

We were living in Quebec at the time so I opted to just avoid the area and let winter take care of them.
Title: Re: Underground hornet nest
Post by: AllChoptUp on August 19, 2014, 01:37:13 PM
We had a big yellowjacket nest in the mulch of a flowerbed next to the driveway.  Every time we drove by it would piss them off.  Several entrances, lots of YJs.  Hubby suited up in head to toe rubber rain gear and went to war with them for three nights.  Used a red light flashlight and emptied multiple cans of raid into it, just poured it in there.  On the third night he dug it up and ran back to the house.  Some dead but lots still alive and very angry.  They finally gave up and moved the nest after a few days of terrorizing the area.

Next time we'll call a pro.
Title: Re: Underground hornet nest
Post by: lizzzi on August 19, 2014, 03:01:55 PM
So I called the county cooperative extension this morning and they gave me the names of three bee removal guys: I chose Bob the Bee Man, because how could I resist the name? He came out this afternoon, and diagnosed yellow jackets. In the warmth and sunlight, they were very active around the hole. He suited up and got some kind of duster, and dusted Tempo 1% Dust (cyfluthrin) into the hole. Said it has to go into the hole--you can't just dust around the outside. Said there should be no activity in 24 hours, and if there is, to call him and he will come back out. Cost to me was $60. He said we might not be able to get the Tempo 1% Dust, (see below), but that another do-it-yourself solution would be to use Sevin 5% Dust. (I checked online, and Home Depot carries this.) He said to get some kind of squeezable bottle, like an empty big ketchup bottle, fill it up half-way with the Sevin Dust, and squeeze it right down into the hole. He did indicate that yellow jacket nests only have one entrance. I have read differently online, and while I didn't contradict him, I will be checking the yard carefully, just in case.

Tempo 1% Dust is not available in big-box stores like Lowe's, Home Depot, and Walmart. It is available at and at  and at  It is banned in New York, Connecticut, and South Carolina.

Bob the Bee Man also said that gasoline, dish soap, and sprays like Raid are not effective for the underground nests--said the problem is that often these remedies don't take out the whole nest.
Title: Re: Underground hornet nest
Post by: Greg on August 23, 2014, 11:06:16 AM
Next time you can put a glass bowl over the ground nest.  Wasps can get back in (led by smell) but have trouble getting out and soon overheat and starve.
Title: Re: Underground hornet nest
Post by: lizzzi on September 01, 2014, 05:20:05 PM
Greg, I would be afraid to get that close to it. I do actually have a clear glass mixing bowl, and of course could drop it over the hole at night when the little demons are all asleep in there. I could, that is, if I were not too chicken. Buck-buck-buck-buck. Yeah, I know. But Bob the Bee Man did a thorough job, and lawn mowing some days later was no problem at all. It was worth the $60 to me.
Title: Re: Underground hornet nest
Post by: East River Guide on September 01, 2014, 06:08:04 PM
I used the foam.  Left the can in a stream but foams up when it goes in the hole.  Spray and run.  Took a couple of applications but no more yellow jackets.