Yellow Jackets–bleg

So, last fall I buried the blueberries in straw for the winter.  I don’t know what caused me to do so, but considering how cold the winter got I’m glad I did.

This spring, I decided the blueberries needed new weed barrier around them.  The original barrier was laid when I planted them, 3yrs ago, and never mulched over, and so its REALLY REALLY ragged.  I laid new weed barrier right over the straw figuring the straw would deteriorate and provide an extra layer of nutrients for the plants.

Turns out that might not have been the best idea.

The plants aren’t producing this year, I suspect the cold winter was to much for them though they’re greening up nicely at least.  So I’ve been mostly ignoring them, but the weeds poking through the gaps around the plants got to be to much for me finally and yesterday I went out to pull weeds and adjust the weed-barrier.

There’s ground burrowing Yellow Jackets under the weed-barrier around the plant furthest from the house.

Yes, I found them the hard way.  Though I only got stung once.  And no, I’m not allergic, it barely even swelled infact though it hurt like someone had stabbed me with a burning nail, this morning my whole lower arm aches like hell.

So, I don’t normally have a problem spraying stinging insect nests with wasp spray.  My SIL is allergic and she does visit on occasion, so we try to keep down the number of nests on the property, however this is my first ground nest and with it being RIGHT NEXT TO the blueberries I’m reluctant to spray heavy duty pesticide on them.  And I have no clue where the OTHER entrance to the nest is, and everything I’ve read on it says there probably IS one.  Which makes me a bit nervous about mowing around there now though I’d expect its under the weed barrier too, probably next to one of the plants I didn’t get to….

I’m off to pick up a couple yellow jacket traps, but this time of year that won’t get the queen…..

I don’t suppose anyone has any ideas on how to handle this nest?

6 Comments

  1. Ping from bluesun:

    If they’re not producing, why worry about getting wasp spray on them?

    • Ping from Ruth:

      I guess I’m worried about it lingering in the soil there, or the plants picking it up and holding onto it. I have no idea if thats even something to be worried about, but I am….

  2. Ping from greg:

    Dust off and nuke the site from orbit…it’s the only way to be sure.

    Like he said, if they aren’t producing this year, I would think you should be fine for next year…no scientific proof, just a gut feeling. You can mail me all the blueberries and I’ll let you know.

    • Ping from Ruth:

      The pest control company wants $185 to deal with a ground burrow so I may not have a choice! They did say that the pesticide they’d use would be safe around food plants though…..

  3. Ping from bogie:

    You are right – there will be at least two entrances, if not more. Hard to get insecticide down thru all their tunnels (or so I’ve heard). However, it also depends on how long they have been there. If only a short time, their nest won’t be extensive, so eradication will be easier. Also. if you do it yourself, and feel you have managed to find all exits, wait until night, block up all but one exit, then blast away and seal that last exit. You probably know all that, but maybe not.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the stuff hanging around in the soil too long either, but I’m not a huge expert on that. To make sure thought, you might want to remove the ground cover to make sure rain water can get down into the ground and wash it out well after the massacre.

    • Ping from Ruth:

      I sat down last night and looked up the active ingredients in the wasp spray I prefer, and they’re SUPPOSED to break down in a matter of weeks in the soil. Though one of them says it may linger on plant leaves for a couple months. I can live with that I think. The problem is going to be locating the other entrance(s) to the nest without getting stung. But I’m wondering if I can pull up the weed-barrier from the other end….its already tearing around the staples that hold it down, so maybe…..I’d do it after sunset with husband backing me up with the wasp spray anyway!