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Surprises in the Viburnum

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 photo IMG_7075_zps1a8b9ae4.jpg

While trimming some of the viburnum shrubs in the zoo, one of our horticulture department staff found these two large nests. The top one is belongs to aerial yellowjackets (probably Dolichovespula arenaria) and was discovered right above a pathway through the Children's Zoo. When I took it down I noticed that they had already started producing next year's queens.

The second one belongs to bald faced hornets Dolichovespula maculata, which are also yellowjackets (notice they are in the same genus) but are black and white instead of black and yellow. They are also much larger than most species of yellowjacket. I generally leave them alone since they are not as aggressive as some other species, and are beneficial predators of other insects. Some sources say they'll even prey on other yellowjacket species. Unfortunately this nest was discovered right over a picnic/special event area, so I took it down.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 9th, 2014 02:52 pm (UTC)
How do you go about taking them down? There were 4 different kinds of wasps that make my outbuildings home at my old place. Mud-daubers, yellow jackets, little underground wasps that look quite adorable but are very territorial. And last year, these giant, mostly black with thin pale yellow stripes, wasps that I hadn't seen before. They were holding the whole front porch and half the front yard captive, so I started on a regular 3 a.m. raid armed with my spray bomb, all to no avail.

After them attacking my poor little puppy when he was just laying on the grass 10 feet from their nest, I knew they had to go. There were half a dozen buried into Hunter's fur, riding him like rodeo cowboys as he howled and the only way I could get them off of him was to SMACK the poor dog with my leather work gloved hand. So not only was he being stung repeatedly, he was being smacked by his human. He was not a happy puppy.

I decided to man up and deal with this in a more forceful manner and waiting till the middle of the night, I grabbed my broom, marched out to the porch and thwacked that 10 inch ball of doom good. The ball didn't even budge. What DID happen is within literally a second, I had been stung 8 times and I exited stage left, screaming like a little girl. I had never felt such horridly painful stings. So, for the next 5 loooong nights, I sprayed, thwacked and water bombed the nest till I had eradicated them and they never came back.
Aug. 9th, 2014 03:33 pm (UTC)
First, I suit up.
I wear this:
And a pair of these:

Then I get a can of this:
And fit it into this:
which is at the end of a pole that can extend up to 18 feet.
Then I spray the entrance hole of the nest, usually off-set a little bit from the very bottom. Then I usually slam the bee pole into the side of the nest to make a hole to access the upper chambers of the nest, and soak the nest with the wasp freeze.
If I had one of these:
I'd cut the branches around the nest so that it would come down more or less in one piece. Since ours is not currently available, I've been turning the bee pole around and bashing the nest down like a piñata. Then, using the bee pole again, I usually hang one of these:

up where the nest was, to collect the returning workers who were out of the nest at the time of the removal. I generally do this whole process as early as possible in the morning.

Edited at 2014-08-09 03:35 pm (UTC)
Aug. 9th, 2014 03:55 pm (UTC)
So... you're saying that I shouldn't have tried to eradicate them in my tank top and shorts and bare feet and thwacking them with an old broom? Lesson learned, mine fiend. PS, you look VERY SEXY in that suit and without the beard! ;)
Aug. 9th, 2014 04:08 pm (UTC)
Well gosh thanks. Yes, perhaps a tank top and bare feet isn't quite enough protection. I managed to get stung doing a treatment a couple weeks ago despite having all the gear on.
Aug. 9th, 2014 04:11 pm (UTC)
Where could you have possibly got stung with all that gear on?
Aug. 9th, 2014 05:31 pm (UTC)
She snuck in under the veil and got me on the neck!
Aug. 9th, 2014 05:34 pm (UTC)
That's why women should never get married. Too painful.
Aug. 11th, 2014 12:52 am (UTC)
i just had to do a whole bunch of this.

needed to do work on the roof, and found a variety of stinging things within a 25x25 area. all apparently living together ...

basically, everything but bumble bees.

and yes, turns out i had honey bees living in a soffit hole.

i like that remote can sprayer. i like that a lot.

got the head net and hat (WIDE brim), clothes and scarf, but sometimes they tag me too. good thing it's just annoying for me.

the tree pruners are wonderful.

good "on contact bug be dead" that's even electrically rated. works pretty well, but they need to make bigger cans. i've not seen the kind you're using before. i used to have a case of something from an electrical contractor. that was like magic. 40 foot spray, instant death. had to clean out a barn that was infested. that was amazing.

the sticky trap looks awesome though. is it the color? or is it attractive to them in some way?

Aug. 11th, 2014 01:03 am (UTC)
Dunno why the sticky trap works! It's sold for flies but it works great for wasps as long as you put it in the right place. You can also bait it with a food lure--I use sweet and sour sauce for yellow jackets--and hang it near trash to help with those issues.

I'd be interested in seeing the bigger aerosol cans--sucks to blast out 8 bucks worth of juice for every nest but not a lot of choice. I was using a botanical (mint) spray that worked just as well but cost a bit more, for PR reasons, but it's no longer available. Wasp Freeze seems to be standard issues with the pros.
Aug. 11th, 2014 01:15 am (UTC)
oh great, and i don't even NEED a Supr Bee Pole (head), but now i want one. that looks really well made compared to most of the others

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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