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Discussion Starter #1
We really need a "Land Clearing" Forum... I could fill it all by myself.

Today my youngest and I were out in the woods prepping to grind some stumps, a process that requires us to walk around and cut down old stumps or mark low lying stumps with sticks. In the process of doing this, we both were stung by two independent yellow jacket ground nests about 20' apart. A third and fourth nest were found later in the day when ripping up some dogwood roots with the ratchet rake and mowing. We basically had to abandon work areas as each nest was uncovered due to the explosion of bees (yellow jackets specifically) that came out to defend it. So, that's how the day went... work - get stung, find a new project, repeat.

It doesn't help that the area I really want to work is full of armpit high goldenrod. I tried clearing the weeds with my clearing saw and got stung again... In fact, my glove became some sort of beacon for yellow jackets as I had to ditch it because it was attracting them. When I retrieved it later it had several of them stuck to it by their stingers. Those particular bees didn't make it back to the nest. :nunu: (the "nunu" icon is factually accurate)

I might mention no one in my family is allergic to stings, they're just painful and annoying. With the numbers of bees I saw today, it's amazing no one suffered a significant number of stings by disturbing a nest.

It's August and I know the buggers are increasingly aggressive going into fall. :hornets: These guys stole a day of work from me and I'm not :mad: happy. I've dealt with the nests in my fields w/o any problems but these ones in the woods are big (huge numbers of bees) and apparently numerous where I'm working... Am I looking at waiting for the weather to cool before I can get an edge over these pests or has someone found a good tactic for handling ground dwelling bees? :rocket:

Some background on where I'm working: I have no electricity or water and fire would be probably get me on the news... Due to the stumps, I can't really get the tractor into the area either. Are the sprays effective on big ground nests? Anyone try more creative means successfully? - At this point, I'm all about a cathartic victory.

Maybe the skunks will have their way with 'em before I get back out there... :banghead:

Thanks!
Matt
 

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I've had some luck killing them passively with a homemade trap. This sounds silly, but trust me, it does work. :lol:

Take a large aluminum baking tin and put a kitchen scrub sponge in the middle. Put a little bit of canned tuna on the sponge. Place the trap where the YJs are nearby and fill the tin with soapy water up to the top of the sponge. The YJs are attracted to the tuna and end up falling into the soapy water. The soap prevents them from flying and they end up drowning.

It works really good, but I don't think this will work very well with the size of your problem.


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I was going to suggest some Sevin dust in a sprayer on a water hose, but the lack of water ruled that out. I've always heard it worked, but have yet to try it for myself. I think I will soon though, as I found a nest with my weedeater not long ago. Not fun. :nunu:
 

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Uncovered a hive of ground nesting bees last weekend with the BH. It wasn't a huge hive, and I found the main entrance. Sprayed with a can of the regular hornet/wasp spray, the stream type, waited 20 minutes, problem solved. :nunu:

They were not yellow jackets, but they did sting, got my wife twice on the hand.

Turned over a hive of yellow jackets in a landscape tie about 15 years ago, just at twilight. Got over 2 dozen stings, and over a dozen followed me into the house. Lucky I'm not allergic, but not fun. Left the hive uncovered, birds took care of it by next morning, but I sprayed it with hornet/wasp spray just in case, stuff works really well.

Be careful out there.
 

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If you know where the nest is Raid wasp & hornet spray works well.
 

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Had a similar problem with a huge nest in my wife's flower bed. I bought a can of the Wasp and Hornet spray, set a prop up like I was shooting from a rest, took careful aim and emptied about half the can by spraying into the entrance.. Killed all but the ones who were outside the nest. Those cans are high pressure and will shoot a stream probably 20 feet or more.

If there are any (honey) beekeepers in the area, borrow one of their veils and it will at least protect the face / head area.

Be careful and good luck.
 

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Always when you least expect it. The wife got stung 3 days ago in the ankle while working in a flower bed. Her ankle swelled up like a balloon and got really red. The ankle is looking much better today. Bees this year seem to be bad around here.
 

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If you locate the entrance. We have put running push mower over them.
I can't say if that will kill all the bees coming out, I've run over a few strays with my mower and some do survive. It does make them confused for a while, and possibly will make them mad. :hornets:

I'll go for the kill. The hornet spray stops them in mid flight if you cna hit them. Spraying the entrance, they just drop when they come out.

Whatever you do, be careful. Do a Google search and you'll find out that quite a few people have been killed by bee attacks after upsetting the hive.
 

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Recently, while attaching the rear blade to my tractor I had one knee on the ground when suddenly I felt pain on my leg. I thought perhaps I had knelt on a rock. When I stood up I saw 20+ yellow jackets clinging to my leg. I quickly brushed them off but not before 4-5 of them got me. As it turns out there was an underground nest and I put my leg down right over the hole - go figure.

I waited till dark and emptied a whole can of bee killer down the hole. The next day I still saw some bees flying around the hole. Plan-B called for some charcoal lighting fluid down the hole. I only gave a short squirt but it burned a nice 4" flame for 30-mins. It reminded me of a slow burning fusie. :) I had to leave so for safety I poured about two gallons of water down the hole - and it never overflowed! Next day there were still a few bees. WHHHHHAT?

Plan-C called for a LOOONG squirt down the hole. Again... nice 4" flame for around 30-mins.

That was 2 weeks ago and so far no more bees. :drinks:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I see other folks are having similar experiences. I'm going to pick up some foaming spray and see if it'll slow them down. Last year we hit a nest and just had to leave it alone as nothing we hit it with would make them abandon the nest (including burning the stump they were under to the ground). Thus, my concern about getting rid of this years more abundant, larger nests.

I feel very fortunate my son and I escaped the experience with only a few stings. I can't imagine having those buggers target up you pant leg or something. We were working right between the two nests for a bit with out knowing it and I cut the stump one of the nests is under without getting knowing they were there (why do we want to outlaw two stroke exhaust emissions?!! They saved my butt!! ).

I like the idea of filling the hole with flammable mixtures... a-la the rodenator. This would probably result in just emptying the whole nest of really angry bees all at once with my luck. Maybe I should pass on that idea. :hide:

Many moons ago, benzene was used on the farm for the hornets/paper wasps. It was awesome stuff, it melted them on contact. For obvious (good) reasons, this multipurpose solvent was removed from our arsenal - but it was cool to watch it liquefy a nest of hornets...:good2: Why is all the good stuff carcinogenic? The modern stuff sure isn't heath food either.

I stopped by my place this morning on the way to work this morning and it looks like one of the smaller nests I hit while ripping dogwood roots up has been abandoned. The two in the woods are my priority and unfortunately, there is just too much ground cover to find the holes they're using when they're all in the nest. I'll have to sneak up while a few are going in and out to locate it.

BTW, I've heard of the tuna fish/soapy water method before and it works with any salty meat - it seems to attract boat loads of sweat bees (the ones that bite as well as sting). Where I'm working, I bet I'd attract 'coons or some other rodent as much as bees. We used the method at a picnic once with a mushed up hotdog.

I'll hose the area down good tomorrow with spray and leave an update. The rain tonite is preventing me from doing more sooner.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Waiting game...

Back in woods today.

I cut the remainder of my stumps except three that are in close proximity to one of the nests. I also put 3(!) cans of foaming spray on the nests and down the holes. It was late when I did it but there were a ton of bees flying around the bigger nest when I left tonite (none too happy, I'm sure). The areas and entrances were saturated and frothy from the foam.

No shortage of angry bees when I left around 8 tonite. I have two more cans left... I've never run into a nest this big, its like it never runs out of yellow jackets. 'Back in the woods tomorrow to take a hike (family in town). I'll have my spray handy.

If this doesn't work I'll have to come up with a new approach.

Matt
 

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A couple years ago I found that yellow jackets made a nice nest in my horse manure pile. Scooped a load of then fertilizer to go to the garden and found a massive nest now exposed. Gave it a day for them to calm down, got some buddies together all armed with 4 cans of bee spray each, we sprayed until all the cans were empty! It sure did take care of them. It wouldn't have worked as well if I didn't have full access to the hive though.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Dead Bees

OK - An update is definitely due.

I was successful eliminating my bees. Two of the hives swallowed a couple cans of foaming bee spray and bees stopped showing up. The big nest swallowed five cans of spray!!!! I'd come back every few days later and the buggers were still flying in and out of the hole. :cry: It looked like I was whittling them down, they were definitely in fewer numbers. I took the fifth can emptied directly down the hole and dropped a bucket full of rocks on 'em!

This past weekend I inspected the rocks and didn't find any bees even though it was almost 90 out so I moved the rocks back with the bucket and there is no sign of bees. I was out there again tonite and there is still no sign of bees in the vicinity. :yahoo:

I heard you couldn't bury the bees with dirt so the rocks were my alternative (stones slightly larger than gravel). Spray works great on smaller nests but the big ones have too many bees... Eventually, I might have gotten them all with spray but even at the end the nest was sporting more bees than the other nests combined. I don't have a good approach for big nests other than attrition and a cardiovascular system that can support repeated full-on 50yd sprints - no stings!!! :good2:

Matt
 

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Sounds like that "Pile O' Rocks" finally killed them last 2 tough son's of bees!:laugh:

I was totally impressed with "The Tarp Method"! It's so easy. I can't understand why I never thought of doing it... Just like I never thought of inventing the Internet, I guess.
 

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I'm glad someone got rid of their bee problem. I seem to be loosing the war at this point. Fleet farm was out of bee spray today. I spray and seem to kill the bees, but in a day or 2 thieir back.:nunu: They started out in my grill,then under the porch, then to the eves of my house. I killed those and then found they moved to my car trailer, I sprayed them. This am I found some in the cap of my pick-up.:nunu: I allmost forgot about the hive in the maple tree, I used the 12ga on that one.:laugh:

In my 43 years I have never ever had bees like this. Looks I need to just get used to getting stung once or twice a day.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yeah, the bees are really bad this year - I think their the only thing that thrived during the drought.

I now have a zombie hive in a nest I wiped out two weeks ago.... 'Found them mowing the ditch Sunday (ouch!).

I haven't acted on these guys yet but its coming. They aren't in the way but at this point I owe 'em one. :nunu:

Matt
 

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Not a real answer as how to kill them but if you do stuff in your problem terrain in the cold months you won't get chased and stung.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Not a real answer as how to kill them but if you do stuff in your problem terrain in the cold months you won't get chased and stung.
Yeah, I sure wish that was an option.

Back when I could fit what I wanted to do in a reasonable amount of time, I would let the bees lie and wait. But now I see so much to do that I don't think I'll get it done before I die and I'm not THAT old... :hide: For me, I needed to remove stumps to mow (and repeat) or the the stump removal work would pile up to an unmanagable level and my fall/winter would be spent playing catch-up.

For the most part, I leave the bees alone, especially beneficial species. Yellow jackets, while in the way, threatening to sting me/others, don't get a pass. In two months, I know they (or any bugs) won't be a problem.

Yearning for fall...

Matt
 
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