bees or wasps underground-help!

decodivasAugust 12, 2002

While pulling weeds around my flowers today, I noticed a round sunk in area in the ground and either bees or wasps burying into it. Several flew out when I pulled a weed nearby. Anyone know of a product I can buy to extinguish them or should I call a pro? Thanks

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You can buy hornet spray that comes in a can that will shoot about 10 feet. You can stand back and hit them from a safe distance. Try and get the spray to go right down the hole. Do it at night when it is cool. That way all of them will be in the nest and not out foraging for food.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 7:24AM
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Get an exterminator for these kind. You never know how big the nest is without digging it up. And once you disturb them they are very aggressive. We just had a woman killed by underground nesting wasps not too long ago. She was just mowing her grass.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2002 at 1:47PM
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Yes get a pro! My mother was gardening a stirred up hornets that had taken up residence under her house. She was stung multiple times until she passed out (broke 2 ribs on the way down.) These things can be VERY dangerous.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2002 at 5:06PM
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Try placing a fan next to the nest. I've heard of bumble bees coming out of the nest to attack the fan and just exterminating themselves.Might work on wasps!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2002 at 11:44PM
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This works for sure: Wait for a nice cool night so they are less active. Soak a rag in gasoline and place it over the entrance, cover it with a garbage bag and a weight (rock). The fumes will kill them overnight.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2002 at 12:03PM
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The nerve agents work just fine, shoot 10-20 ft, and remain lethal for almost 24hrs. If you don't move, you don't even have to leave the area immediately after spraying. It's somewhat important to know what you are dealing with though. How big is the area? How often are insects arriving/leaving the area? If it is a constant stream, you are dealing with a relatively mature nest (> 100 individuals). What do they look like? Are they yellow jackets (small, yellow & black banded), wasps (either black or yellow & black banded with a thin mid-body), or hornets (mostly black with white butts and white facial highlights). The yellow jackets and traditional wasps will drop almost instantaneously when you spray them. The hornets, on the other hand, are still quite able to attack for about 30-60 seconds after spraying. Hornets almost never nest underground though. They much prefer building somewhat ornate nests above ground, complete with front & back doors, drainage channels, and covered ventillation shafts.

Since this is an underground nest you won't need to remove it once you kill it. Just smooth out the depression. A somewhat less-known fact about wasps -- they will not nest in an abandoned nest, so if you leave it there you will never have another "queen" take up residence.

I had the "pleasure" of elliminating a mature nest of hornets in a tree in my front yard this past weekend that was about the size of a basketball. Emptied an entire can of spray into the two doors and saturated the entire outside of the nest. The next day I sprayed a little more into the ventillation shafts and reapplied to the doors. Cut the branch and removed the nest the next day.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2002 at 2:33PM
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I asked this on the bee forum, and they informed me they were hornets. We had left an unused fence panel lay on the ground and they had built under it, so no sneaking up on them. But my husband sprayed hornet spray betwewen the slats (and then ran for it). We waited a couple days and did it again. When we were feeling brave again (I got stung 5 times in the discovery phase and they left scars), we raised the fence panel and a 2x2 foot by 1 foot deep hornet nest wwas atttached to the fence and went down into the ground. All the hornets were vacatted, but not dead. They like water sources and the bee forum said to keep them from landing on the pool while you are in it, to put a pan of wwater with a little bleach !!! in it between the nest andd your pool.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2002 at 11:11AM
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If you have skunks in the neighborhood, maybe you'll get lucky & one will find & dig up the nest. That's happened at my yard a couple of times, once to an in-ground nest & once the skunks found & destroyed a nest in a low yew. (The larvae, and possibly the adults, seem to be a tasty snack for these mammals.)

But yeah, the easiest way is to wait until dusk & saturate the entry & surrounding area with hornet killer. Although the gasoline trick sounds pretty effective...LOL

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 7:43AM
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A trick my husband uses it to drop a screen on the nest before he sprays. It gives you more time in terms of running away.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 2:34PM
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These things can be VERY nasty! I mowed over a nest once and got hit 12 times in one leg. I was sick for about 24 hours with a fever of over 101 and my leg swelled almost double its normal size.

To me, it would depend on how isolated/confining their entrance/exit is. If it just a sunken area like a stump hole and they are just lining the walls of the hole, then get help. I have seen this and it is pretty scary! If it is a small hole (about 1 inch or so) into their nest and "sink whole is just where the ground is sinking in to the nest then you can probaby manage.

Not fancy but tried and true is the gasoline thing mentioned earlier with a twist. Wait until dusk, that's when the pests are most dormant and all are back home. Stick the nozzle of a gas can into the hole, turn it up and pour in the gas... depending on the nest size 1 pint or so up to a gallon. Have a big rock ready to place over the hole AS SOON as you remove the nozzle. Make sure you look for an alternate exit/entrance before you start and cover it first if one exists.

I had a rather large nest (I learned) at the bottom of an emankment surrounding my pool. I checked around locally and the concensus was the gasoline treatment. I got my trusty lawn mower gas can, a 5 gallon can, waited until dusk, confirmed that there was not another entrance/exit hole but the one and went to work. I said I learned it was a fairly large nest b/c when I stuck the nozzle in the hole and turned the can up, gas drained in so fast that I just stopped at about 2 gallons and it was still going strong. Never saw another ground hornet after that. However, I did put a red flag by the hole and told the landscapers not to smoke near that spot for the next couple of weeks or else risk ending up in the lot next door!

Another effective method and less drastic are the hornet/bee traps. You can get them at Lowe's. It is a bag you fill with apple juice concentrate and a hormone supplied with the kit and then hang them near the nest. The bees/hornets cannot resist it and go in and can't get out. I used this one when some hornets decided to take up residence in an exterior wall of our house by going through the weep/vent holes in the brick (clearly the gas thing was not an option here). The traps did a good job luring the bees out and the then exterminator dusted all of the vents with a substance that bees/hornets hate to keep them from returning.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 1:47PM
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I have had good luck over the years using my shop vac. I attach a 2 liter soda bottle to the end of the vac hose/pipe to make a larger opening, lay it right at the hole but not covering it and let it run for 4-8 hours while I watch the little buggers struggle and get sucked away. I don't open the vac for a couple of days though I'm pretty sure they get pretty banged up on their high velocity journey and probably die within minutes.

This method is very selective in that I only get the yelllow jackets going in and out of the underground nest. Sprays and gasoline wreck the grass and as another poster noted new bees won't reuse a vacant nest.

The first time I used this vacuum approach I had a large nest of yellow jackets under the alum siding behind a spotlight mounting box at 2nd floor level. I fashioned a hook (coat hanger) to a 15' length of PVC and hung it from the fixture hooking that to the shop vac. When activity subsided I would jiggle the PVC to rattle the bees and they would swarm around again and get sucked away.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 10:03PM
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That Shop Vac idea is pretty neat. I would imagine leaving the vac in the sun for a couple of hours will kill the wasps, but you're probably safer to leave for a few days.

I saw something on Discovery channel about wasps invading a bee hive. The bees let the wasp in and then instead of stinging it, surround the wasp with the bodies and start "vibrating". Their body temperature rises as does the body temperature of the wasp, which kills the wasp. Apparently the wasp has a few degree lower tolerance for heat than the bees. Nature is pretty amazing sometimes.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 11:28AM
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Hornets absolutely WILL reuse a nest abandoned by other wasps, particularly bull hornets (black with white dots) which are nasty little devils. I see it happen frequently on my property if I don't remove a nest quickly. Remove those old nests as soon as possible .

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 3:29PM
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OK - it sounds like some of the ideas would work - any updates from anyone? From MY knowledge I received in a past job at a pest control company. First remember the BEST time to try to do anything to bees, hornrts wasp, etc. is VERY early morning (or late evening) about 5am as the sun comes up before they "wake-up" and activity begins. Then, since most chemical products wont work, the best way to treat the insects underground is to find the hole(s) and cover the area with a tarp. Weigh down the edges with something such as bricks to seal it all the way around (I had said HOLES incase you see more than one and they could come flying out of another if you only cover one). Slide a garden hose under the tarp, and turn it on. Leave it running at least an hour or so (maybe two) depending on the size area you are doing - you can determine - making sure to flood the area well. Leave the tarp on for a few hours (just to make sure).

I had also read this info - I dont know if it works...

first try pouring a soap and water solution into the entrance. Many types of soap will work, including dish and laundry soap.

If that doesn't work, apply an insecticide into the nest opening. Be sure you use a product that is cleared for use in lawns or soil. Dusts are more effective than liquid insecticides because liquids do not always reach the nest. After you are sure all the wasps have been exterminated, cover the nest entrance with soil.
When treating ground-dwelling wasp nests, use one of the following insecticides: *
carbaryl (e.g. Sevin) as a dust
chlorpyrifos (e.g. Dursban) as a dust
carbaryl (e.g. Sevin) as a liquid concentrate
acephate (e.g. Orthene) as a liquid concentrate
diazinon as a liquid concentrate

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 4:54PM
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DH used his leaf blower/vacuum on a pole to eliminate a very large nest of VERY aggressive brown hornets who had taken up residence in our siding, way up high. Propped it up, left it running for several hours, cleaned the machine of nasty hornet soup and did it again the next day..and the next..and the next.

Eventually, no more bugs. And no one got stung in the process.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 9:51AM
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I noticed a few yellow jackets the other day and thought about this thread. I'm wondering if the old baker's trick of a pan of honey would work. Obviously during the evening hours, place a shallow pan of honey near the nest. The wasps are attracted to the honey and get stuck. Certainly cheap and involves no harmful chemicals.

The drawback is that it might attract other insects including beneficial honey bees.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 8:48AM
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In regards to all I have read on here, I have hornet problems too. I am very familiar with yellow jackets, bald-faced hornets, honeybees, bumble bees, but the kind I have are what a lot of people call "bull hornets" which are really European hornets introduced to the US in what year I can't remember. A lot of people refer to them as Japanese hornets which is another name for the Asian hornet, which so far hasn't been introduced here yet..TG.. because they are bad news. Their venom is very potent and they are fairly well agressive and kill 20-40 people in Japan per year. They get to about 2" long as compared to the European kind that are around 1 1/4" long. The Euro kind are not near as agressive, but do have the capability of stinging if their nest is disturbed, but their sting is far less than the Asian "Jap" hornet. I have them here at my place and haven't been stung yet though I've had them dive at me and just go on. They usually build their nest in the crack of a tree somewheres, but not always and are hard to eliminate less you know where their nest is in which case conventional methods will work. They wander and unlike most bees don't go to bed when it gets dark because they fly at night also and light attracts them...I know. Like I said, they are not deadly like the Asian kind and not really very agressive but can be a pain in the butt buzzing around you and wondering if they will or not. I am Very familiar with these and just live with them for now and haven't found a good solution to get rid of them till I find where they nest at. They buzz around at night while we're cooking out and I just go on about my business and have had them gather at the door of my trailer in the woods here and wait till I open the door to get in sometimes...they don't scare me all that bad but don't want to go to bed with one of them in the house. Write me...

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 12:06AM
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Okay, I've read all the suggestions, but here's my problem. The area infested with ground bees is a large predominently sandy area (maybe 40 ft x 40 ft) with holes in tiny mounds of sand right next to the house. We're talking at least 50+ mounds. I noticed them in early spring and at first I thought they were nests of carpenter ants, but on closer inspection realized they were small bees. I sprayed the area twice with a pump spray of insecticide and that did not get rid of them. I really need to eliminate them as two members of the family are deathly allergic to stings and we have lots of grandchildren who visit regularly. Any suggestions other than bringing in an exterminater?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 8:50AM
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At my location, there are 2 species that nest underground. These are bumble bees and yellow jackets. The bumble bee is in the bee family and the yellow jacket is a wasp. Wasps do not loose their stingers when they use those and can sting multiple times. A bee stinger pulls out after it has been stabbed into the victim and the bee will eventually die. The bee stinger will have a venon sac attached and that sac can continue to periodically inject for up to an hour. To reduce the effect of a bee sting, grip the stinger below the venon sac with tweezers and pull it out. Do not squeeze the venon sac.

Eradiaction measures for the underground dwellers are best when delivered after dusk or dark when all members of the colony are home.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 2:16AM
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Here's an old time method I came across in an Audubon Guide to eliminate Yellow Jackets: at dusk place a large glass bowl over the opening of the nest. They will not build another opening and the nest slowly dies off. Kind of cruel but better than lots of poison or gasoline in the ground. I've used this method successfully twice. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 12:47PM
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I have hundreds of tiny wasps flying around my yard. I see no sign of a nest, no holes or depressions in the grass or anywhere. I've tried a chemical spray but so far no luck. Any suggestions or ideas?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 10:44AM
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Badminton anyone?

For the longest time I would attack bees and wasps with badminton rackets and wasp spray.

But I'm a male. :D

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 6:37PM
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I discovered a bumblebee hive surrounding a large boulder in my yard. There are too many ground holes to count. Will the bees die off this winter or do I need to destroy the area, if so how- it is a large area of many many holes? I have dogs who run through and near the area and do not want them to disturb the nest and get stung. I was planting blueberry bushes near the nest, that is how I discovered it, the bees did not get too up set. Are bumble bees less ill tempered than wasps and hornets? What should I do.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 5:35PM
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In all cases of dealing with [exterminating] I suggest rubbing thyself with deep woods OFF. I swiped the inlet of a yellow jacket nest off using an old fashioned grass whip and never got a sting, even though they were landing all over me. I think it made them drunk or something.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 10:18PM
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Jump, You got lucky. I would not even consider that any insect repellent would protect you. It might be worthwhile to try just in case one gets close that isn't totally ticked. It might help but do not think for a second that it will work like some sort of forcefield. I have just applied it before and then unknowingly weed eated by a nest and got lit up by two.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 10:01PM
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The tennis-racket style bug zappers work if you're not contending with a lot of them, and you're careful.

Mine is scarily powerful - takes D batteries, and makes a huge spark.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 12:23AM
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