Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Yellow Jackets: Not a pollinator

Yellow jackets are a type of wasp and are not pollinators (they eat fruits, flower nectar, and tree sap and chew up meat to feed to their larvae). These yellow and black wasps are mistaken for bees, which they are decidedly not. They nest in the ground and can be a nuisance, not to mention a menace, if they sting. Last night, my son ran over a yellow jacket nest with the lawn mower and was rewarded with a few nasty stings (they can sting more than once, unlike bees). My solution, that I have done in the past, is wait for the wasps to subside and, at dusk, pour a pot full of boiling water right down the entrance hole (not hard to find if you look for it during the day- you will see wasps entering and leaving- make sure to mark the spot or remember it). One time I needed to apply a second pot of boiling water the next day. Be careful, don't trip while carrying that pot in the dim light (I did once- ouch! My poor foot). As for my son, a thick paste of meat tenderizer applied to the bite marks did the trick.
Be careful out there! Happy gardening!
For a video of a yellow jacket stinging a human (ICK), go to (no endorsement intended):


Jenn said...

Thanks thats a good tip!!

Judy Thomas said...

You are welcome, Jenn. Just be careful toting boiling hot water and watch out for yellow jackets outside the nest when you do it (though at dusk they should all be inside).