Yellow jacket follow up.
I mentioned in my previous post about the attack on Callie and I of the yellow jackets. What a nasty group of insects they are.
I scoured the Internet for solutions to the problem, also asking my readers for hints. Barry came up with the best warning, to only approach them at night. That is when all the nasties are back in the nest and asleep. However they are very light sleepers so one must be quick.
My particular group of yellow jackets are living in the earth. They use abandoned rodent holes--those damn voles again--for their nests. Below is a drawing of a YJ nest.
These can be the size of basketballs. You really have to admire them for the engineering and construction.
I read one solution on the Net that had me shaking my head. A fellow dumps gasoline in the hole, then lights it. Mercy, where are his brains? Besides losing ones eyebrows and burning down the carport, how toxic is that? Instead, I opted for a non-toxic but odd method. Mother Earth News said it would work so I chose the glass bowl over the hole method.
I dressed in my home made protective gear and prepared for battle. All skin is covered and that is a mesh laundry bag over my head. I scared both the dog and cat in this get up and could only hope I had all openings covered. I was still smarting from the attack the day before.
Sneaking up on the hole in the dead of night in my odd gear. I slid a glass bowl quickly over the hole and goodness did all Hell instantly break loose. YJ after YJ smacked his head on the glass as they attempted to get to me. That age old adage "you don't want to stir up a hornets nest" came to life before my eyes.
I had to hurry the plopping of the bowl in the dark --you only get one chance. The flashlight beam showed one side of the bowl was dangerously close to the hole edge so I put a larger bowl over the first one. I then piled gravel around the edges to be sure.
That has worked, the second bowl caught the few that eventually escaped the first bowl.
Because I double bowled the entrance, the condensation that formed won't let me get a picture of the YJs. This borrowed photo from trevdec's YouTube video is exactly how they looked however.
The reason this works is that since the yellow jackets can see the sunlight, they keep trying to exit the same hole. Had the hole been covered with something like a board, they might just have made a new exit. Good thing they aren't as smart as they are nasty.
As much as my stings still smart, though they have now settled down to intense itching, I am not enjoying this. I am having to wait for them to starve to death which is quite cruel. Many times I have wanted to go out and remove the bowl to set them free. Only knowing they would probably put me in the ER has stopped any release attempts.
Had we not been attacked nor the hole being only 3 feet from my car in the carport, we might have lived in peace. Knowing Callie's penchant for digging vole holes, I could just see her trying to dig that hole out. They could kill her.
Even knowing that, it has been hard. If I ever have to do this again, I will find a
quicker, more humane way that is still green.
Yellow Jackets are not pollinators but do eat some garden pests like caterpillars. I would love to live and let live. Sometimes we just have to take the harsh approach for safety's sake. But I don't have to like it. Life is complex for the tender of heart