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Yellow Jacket Nests

Yellow Jacket (YJ) nests are typically underground in a vineyard. The base of a vineyard post seems to attract them. Unless you used a post driver, the soil was loosened when you put the post in the ground. Even with the post driver, any subsequent motion of the post caused by wind and/or freezing and thawing creates a convenient entry for YJ's to get beneath the surface. If you find a nest in or near the vineyard, getting rid of it is a simple task ---
at night. Don't attempt to deal with the problem in daylight.

After dark, they're all in the nest. Don't be afraid to illuminate the entry so you can see what you are doing. Pour about one litre of kerosene into the entry. That's it. You don't have to ignite the kerosene. You may see one or two kerosene soaked Yellow Jackets crawl out of the hole, take a few unsteady steps and then expire.

Now what if you see a lot of Yellow Jacket traffic in the vineyard area but are unable to locate the nest? We asked our friendly entomologist that question and he explained that YJ's are very interested in meat during the late spring and summer. They take the meat to the nest to feed the young. If you put a piece of meat where you observe traffic, they will start working on it. Use soft meat, as their mouths are not very strong. They will set up a pattern of flight between the meat and the nest and if you're lucky, you'll be able to mark the location and follow the procedure outlined above.

We followed our friend's advice and placed a good old American hotdog on top of a vineyard post. The hotdog was sliced lengthwise to expose the soft interior. For two days, we saw no activity, nor any evidence of YJ feeding. On the third day, we looked up from our work just in time to see a beautiful Coopers Hawk swoop down and steal the hotdog on the fly.

Oh well, maybe you'll have better luck.

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