Yellowjackets have eaten my ceiling, how can I get rid of them without chemicals? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Most of you know that I have problems with chemicals. I thought it was carpenter ants and put down DE (carpenter ants are showing up also but that is beside my problem) but when I saw that my ceiling was different (they apparently ate the wallboard paper thin) I checked in the attic and found yellowjackets. Any sprays will bother me but I read that baiting is possible. The cost of some of the baits were high so I was wondering if Borax will work as well for killing them as it does ants. I thought about using the shop vac to suck them up but would hate to be attacked in the closed attic and have mad bees running amuck in the house. Any input? Thanks

-- Dee in NJ (, August 14, 2001


I've been using a wasp trap all summer to capture any yellowjackets around my house. Seems to work pretty well, although it also traps bald-faced hornets and houseflies! The "bait" I use is a simple sugar water solution. Hopefully, I'm making a "dent" in the local yellowjacket population also :-)!!

-- Marcia (, August 14, 2001.

I would think that the baited traps will get many hornet species that are helpful predators. Of course, yellow jackets are in that catagorie too, but you sure don't want them living in your house! Is there something wrong with calling an exterminator? This sounds like it could be potentially serious to your family. Just wondering. :)

-- Little Quacker (, August 14, 2001.

Unscented Hair Spray from a pump container instead of an aerosol can? Then use the shop vac to get 'em. Of course, dress for the occasion.

-- GT (, August 14, 2001.

I should have added that your County Extension Service will have some ideas too and probably a list of people who remove these guys. That's what we pay them for, might as well put them to work! :)

-- Little Quacker (, August 14, 2001.

Yellow jackets usually nest in the ground, therefore I would think that they are invading your house for either sweets or nesting material. Is there a way to exclude them from entering the attic? Screening or foam spray may work. Entryways could be investigated in the day to see what they are using and then blocked in the evening when they are back at their nest in the ground.

-- Susan (, August 15, 2001.

This might sound totally stupid but my husband sprays bees and hornets with WD 40 oil spray. Even the cheap dollar kind from the Dollar store works. Instantly kills them and the nest. Must suffocate them or something. It's cheap and it works !!! Good Luck !!!

-- Helena Di Maio (, August 15, 2001.

I had to look this one up, because the yellowjackets that are always flying into my shady hallway through the open door and gathering around the ceiling lights don't seem to be ground nesters. I found that there are two kinds which account for the majority of the yellowjackets you see --one is a ground nester and the other nests in walls, barns, eaves and areas like that. One site mentioned this, which I think may be interesting to you, since you are sensitive to chemicals and since October is almost here: Concerned about wasps or hornets? Both aggressively defend their nests, the safest method of destroying a nest is to wait until October, after the queen has left and the workers died. Simply dig up or knock down the nest and destroy it. In any case, here are the two sites that I visited: ml and

Don't know about you, but I certainly learned something!

-- Leslie A. (, August 15, 2001.

I meant to put that quote in quotation marks, instead of mixed up with my own words, so let it be known that the thing about knocking down nests in October is someone else's idea.

-- Leslie A. (, August 15, 2001.

AAAAAhhhh I have the answer for this's SOAP. Dish soap or any liquid soap works. We, as beekeepers, use soap on unwanted swarms. A friend of ours works commercially in Arizona doing Africanized Bee removal and they use....SOAP. Just put the soap in a pump bottle and spray the area heavily. End of problem. If the yellow jackets are present you definitely want to wear long sleeves and protect your face with a veil/mosquito net just in case they are agressive. A smoker would come in handy also if you have one, or have a beekeeper friend with the proper equipment in your neighborhood. Actually, you could call your local extension agency and see where your nearest beekeepers association can be contacted. There's always a hobby beekeeper willing to leand a hand if you don't want to go in yourself. :) good luck, if I was there I'd be right over. :) tang

-- tang (, August 15, 2001.

Crickey!! The first e-mail address I gave 2 or so posts ago is actually this, without the space between the ht and ml thing at the end: ml


-- Leslie A. (, August 15, 2001.

I SWEAR I did this right the first two times, but apparently the address is so long that the wrap-around process automatically puts a space between the ht and ml at the end of the address I gave, so if you want to access it please copy & paste and then amend it accordingly.

For those of you that have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm referring to a previous response to this message which supplied two web addresses pertinent to the topic.

-- Leslie A. (, August 15, 2001.

get near the nest,, hit them with a CO2 extinguisher,, that will "freeeze" them,, make them clump together,, for a bit,, take the nest,, put into a garbage bag,, and burn, drown, or what ever

-- stan (, August 15, 2001.

I'M SORRY, I THINK MY QUESTION WAS CONFUSING. The bees are nesting in my attic, eating the wallboard. They are not in the open and is hard to get at since it is under the insulation. Someone said they may be paper yellowjackets (never heard of them)

I read the traps outside do not get rid of the nest. They sell poison bait ($50 an oz) that will kill the nest by them injesting it but I was hoping to find something cheaper, that is why I asked about the borax. The WD-40 and fire extingusher sound great, but again, they are under the insulation in the narrowest part of the attic.

The County Extention is quick to use chemicals here and never has a natural answer. The Pest control people also insist the only way to do it is with chemicals. I am finally feeling better and don't need a relaps at this point.

Thank you for your answers so far.

-- Dee in NJ (, August 15, 2001.

You may want to try getting one of those juice traps. Actually juice or any liquid that is sweet. They'll be drawn to it, but they can't get back out of the jug. Costs about $5.00 total for the juice and jug.

-- Lew Ricker (, August 15, 2001.


I used to live in a neighborhood of wood houses. Two of my neighbors had this happen. I would almost guarantee that they will (as they did with my neighbors)eat through the wallboard and you will have hundreds of bees in your house. Be ready with some of the things people have suggested here because it will happen.

-- Ann Markson (, August 15, 2001.


Please call in a beekeeper! Assuming they are a large nest of paper wasps (sounds like it, them and yellowjackets and hornets are all wasps rather than bees, paper wasps are renown for nesting on and in buildings.)..I gave myself the creeps thinking through your scenario.. Stooping in the hot dark attic, balancing on trusses, squatting and reaching into the narrow part to pull back insulation, revealing a swarming nest of now angry wasps and spraying with something that you hope will knock them down quick enough for you to get away with minimal stings, moving back across the boards quickly (hopefully without missing and falling through drywall) and down a ladder or some such.

Yikes! What if you don't get all of the nest or only just disturb them and don't uncover the actual nest! Too many stings can overcome even a non-allergic person and they are hard to hit with spray when flying. Sorry for going on but I have a particular fear of wasps due to a situation where I was stung multiple times. They're nothing to mess with, they have no sense of humor.

Protective clothing is a must in this situation. Try to find where they are entering the house from the outside to block it during the day when they're out and reduce the number on the nest when it's time to deal with going in the attic.

I hope all goes well with this for you, I'll be thinking of you. Be careful.

-- Susan (, August 15, 2001.

Oh Susan, you had it to a T!!! The only thing is, what I read said not to block the entrance because the bees will eat another opening, usually into your house! Someone else also suggested (by e-mail) calling a beekeeper so I think that is my next step. (Husband keeps hinting that the chemicals won't be all that bad. Not after all I went through with chemicals in the past)

-- Dee in NJ (, August 15, 2001.

Dee, Do you know where the hornets are coming in??

-- Jay from MN (, August 17, 2001.

Yes, they are coming and going like Grand Central Station. I also have found that more are coming in on the opposite side of the house so there is probably another nest in the attic.

-- Dee in NJ (, August 17, 2001.

I too am over run with yellow jackets. In your search for an answer has someone advised what might deter or repel them? We have fancy brick work planters around our house and the yellow jackets are nesting in the holes and spaces between the bricks. I would like to be able to put something in the spaces that would deter them from building there (like moth balls or something, maybe borax soap) to begin with. I have checked out numerous internet sites but have found nothing that seems to deter.

-- Lee in Ont (, August 20, 2001.

Sorry, seems yellowjackets are bad this year and other then not having little holes, I have found nothing to deter them.

I did find a Pest Control that has a natural killer (pure mint) and they are coming to destroy the nest but will not guarantee that they will not come back since there will be no residual chemicals left. I will have my husband foam fill where they are getting in.

-- Dee in NJ (, August 20, 2001.

Dee, Here is something you can try. Take a piece of old window screen and make it into a funnel shape with a very small opening at the tip of the funnel. Tack the wide opening of the funnel over the area the hornets are getting into. Make sure you wear protective gear!!! This allows the hornets to escape, but they have a hard time finding the entrance to their nest. Let me know if it worked.


-- jay sikkink (, August 21, 2001.

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