Hornets! (Not in the NBA): How to get Rid of Question

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I posted this question under Food-Growing and Gardening Tips, but after the last couple of evenings I have had, it could have probably been put under "safety".

Well this year we just seem to be over-ran with hornets which build there nests in the ground and on the sides of buildings. We are building fence and it seems like we couldn't have hit more nests if we had tried.

I have never taken well to using sprays since most of them make me ill and post Y2K they may become scarce or even more expensive than they are now.

Well, with out going into too much detail, I have had mixed success the last few evenings with kerosene alone, kerosene set on fire, and yes, I must confess, I did find out first hand that gas (as well as its fumes) ignite very quickly. I am not sure if I am using enough kerosene or gas or what?

Could someone please post suggestions and proper "safe" ways to exterminate these nests?

This might also be a good place to include treatment of stings. We have always had good luck with witch hazel for stopping the sting.

Thank you very much.

-- Lilly (homesteader145@yahoo.com), July 27, 1999


The only luck I've had with in-ground hornets was using a spray that comes out as a stream (not a mist).

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), July 27, 1999.

While it may not be the safest, I use gasoline. I use about 2-3 cups, put it in a coffee can and just dump the entire thing on the nest in one big splash. Use protective eyeware, ect, for safety. It kills them instantly and they do not return. If you elect to use this, make sure there is a fire hose nearby, no ignition source for the gas and take precautions.

-- smfdoc (smfdoc@aol.com), July 27, 1999.

Lilly, I had a yellow jacket problem this year and talked to the extension agent. Their plan worked fine.

You need Raid or Ortho or some other brand wasp/hornet spray. It comes out in a stream so you can stand about 15 feet back and spray it right in the hole.

Wait until after dusk. If it's dark and you use a flashlight, cover the lens with red cellophane. Do not wear bright colored clothing. Once nest activity has slowed, stand about 15 feet back and spray the Raid into the hole. The leave the vicinity quickly, but without running.

Do this each evening until there is no more activity at the nest. Then, fill the hole with sand or dirt.

These were the instructions given to me by the extension agent for ground nested yellow jackets. I would think that Raid would be more effective and environmentally safer than the gasoline/kerosene route.

-- Puddintame (achillesg@hotmail.com), July 27, 1999.


I feel your frustration. I have small ants or small weevils in my pantry. I've spent several days removing all the goods, spraying, checking each item, spraying the counters, tables, on which the goods were placed, and replacing the items in the pantry just to find more the next day. These guys are so small that I can't determine whether they're ants or weevils. I first found them by my honey jar. On the second removal of goods, I found them in a can of bread-crumbs. They'd either gone under the plastic lid or come OUT from the plastic lid, but there was a 1/4" hole in the aluminum foil UNDER that plastic lid. I threw the bread crumbs away, yet I STILL see them...now laying dead from the spray. I'll wait another day or two and take it all out again and repeat the process. This mess makes the leaking water jugs (still leaking) in the garage seem like NOTHING.

I'd really like to catch one of these suckers alive on a piece of tape and see what they are under my microscope. Unfortunately, my slides are in a box about 5 boxes under my daughter's stuff in the garage, so I don't have a lot of motivation to uncover them. Actually, I'm not SURE they're in that box under those 5 boxes, and all this moving stuff back and forth has me a bit frustrated at the moment.

-- Anita (spoonera@msn.com), July 27, 1999.

Anita...you need to check all the food in that cupbd.. Make sure you throw it out if the bugs are in it. Here in Florida we have all kinds of critters that get into the foods. We have to examine things like Oat Meal at the store to make sure it doesn't have bug holes in it already. Most of those bugs come in the food and you bring it home from store. I have had good luck by taking a tuna can and putting ONE mothball into it and setting it up on the top shelf, AFTER I have gotten rid of everything in the cabinet. I keep cereals and flour and all that kind of stuff in jars with tight lids. That way I can see the bugs if they are in there. It also doesn't allow the mothball smell to permeate the food.

Taz...whose chickens were VERY well fed the first year in Florida.

-- Taz (Tassie@aol.com), July 27, 1999.


How ya been lady? Sounds like we need a good "bug link" for identification of these pests! Darn bugs...must be summer. But at least the ants varieties seem to be getting smaller as the season goes on.

I don't know if they are weevils, flour bugs or what, but I broke one of my own rules and purchased a baking mix (which I love to use) some time back which I swear every other time I get it I get bugs with it. I didn't buy it to store, just to use now and kept separate from other food (see I knew better).

Last night opened a box and there they where. Well, I am thinking like some have suggested on this forum, be sensible, be strong, run it through a sifter and let 400* F do the rest. So I pour it out in a bowl and there was one huge "bug creature" looking up at me (yes, I am pretty sure he was looking at me). Geez I got to much food around here for this nonsense.

I don't know if I can mention the name here or not? Whatever the name might be, it sure is iffy if I will ever buy it again.

Hmmm, just thinking outloud here you understand...maybe you could move the water jugs to the pantry, or the food to the garage, and the bugs might drowned??? :-)

-- Lilly (homesteader145@yahoo.com), July 27, 1999.

Using commercial insecticides is certainly more inviro-friendly than either gasoline or kerosine. So, I'd highly recommend that route. Secondly, I always try to work on hornets/wasps/bees after dark. Just do your homework before hand, in the light of day. Figure out a safe distance ( 10-15 ft is a long way after dark) and plan your escape route if needed. I walk right up to the nest/hole after dark. Use the 'stream' spray....part of the secret is getting their wings too wet to fly. And don't be afraid to use 2 cans...soak the bejeebers out of 'em. Putting something heavy on top of the hole helps....retards evaporation and blocks escape. Do watch out for the 'crawlers'..they don't fly after spraying, but they can crawl. After forty plus years of farming, I've scored a few successes with this method.

-- Ninh Hoa (tech@univ.now), July 28, 1999.

Take it from someone that is alergic to all bee stings. Get some benedryl. If you get stung, take 2, and about 4 to 6 hours take 2 more. You can always help with the swelling and itching by doing the following.

Get some epson salts and heat in water until you can hardly stand the temperature of the water. Place a wash cloth into the water then ring out the excess moisture. Place the wash cloth over the area and wrap in plastic. Leave there until cool. Repeat.

-- (cannot-say@this.time), July 28, 1999.

Lilly, I've used gasoline, which has only worked if you light it. I've also used "Wasp and Hornet Spray", which works great. Gasoline on the side of your buildings is not so good, eh?

I don't like using gas OR kerosene, as they will possibly soak into the groundwater, although the gas won't do so much if you burn it all up, I guess.

I was at the Oregon Country Fair three weeks ago, and we had two nests in the ground in our booth (here, we call them "yellow jackets" but they are not the same as the wasps we used to call yellow jackets in where I grew up in Texas. Those made paper nests under the eaves of the house; the nests were fairly small, more or less flat on the end away from the house, and had honey-comb looking cells which were visible on the outside. (These Texas type "yellow jackets" are pretty harmless; they sting, but they don't hurt all that much, you won't ever step on their nests in the ground, and you won't get attacked, chased, stung and bitten by several of them at once, like our local yellow jackets here in Oregon.

Anyway, the staff at the Country Fair won't use gas, kerosene, OR insecticides. They came into the booth after dark (important regardless of what you use to eradicate the little pests, because you want them all to be inside the nest), and poured Ivory Liquid dish soap down the hole, then poured soapy water down after it. It did the job--no yellow jackets the next day. They told me that sometimes you have to do it again, though.

I'm wondering what the environmental effects of the Ivory Liquid are, though. I'm sure it will reach the groundwater very easily, since it contains a surfactant.

Any ideas on the implications of detergent vs petroleum products in the groundwater?


-- jumpoffjoe (jumpoff@echoweb.net), August 01, 1999.


Yes, the Oregon Yellow jacket can kill you, and they won't stop untill you are under water ; ) I grew up in Yellow jacket country and we always used 5 gals of boiling water at night. Nothing to get in the water table, very seldom had to do it twice. For hornets on the side of buildings we used dish soap and water in a pump tank sprayer, all most a State sport

-- CT (ct@no.yr), August 01, 1999.

Thanks, CT, I never thought of using boiling water. That's a lot of boiling water, though. I wonder if you could use steam...

BTW, thanks for being nice to me. I hate it when you get nasty.

JOJ, your neighbor

-- jumpoffjoe (jumpoff@echoweb.net), August 01, 1999.

Well I am certainly grateful for all of these suggestions. I haven't tried any of them yet, since I have been reluctant to take up the fight again (that gasoline flash sort of upset me!). I do believe tomarrow night I will start with the boiling water and see how that goes. I have used that method on ant hills before very successfully.

Thank you all so very much. :-)

-- Lilly (homesteader145@yahoo.com), August 01, 1999.

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