British Columbia: Wasps

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Patrick Slater, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. Patrick Slater

    Patrick Slater Member

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    Location:
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    There's a wasps' nest (paper wasps, I think) on the trellis between my neighbours' garden and our garden. Both of my neighbours have been stung and they want to get rid of the wasps' nest which is also close to each of our backdoor entrances. My wife is also nervous about the wasps.

    I prefer not to kill any living species and would prefer to wait 'til the onset of winter weather takes care of the problem but I am being out-voted three to one by my neighbours and my wife. I am sympathetic to their case and obviously want to maintain cordial relations.

    It looks like I'm going to have to deal with the wasps sooner rather than later. Any advice on an environmentally friendly solution (and/or an ethical solution as well)?

    It looks like there may be two nests. One on the trellis and one in a small hole in the siding where the kitchen fan vents. Any solutions gratefully accepted. I am not going to attempt anything without first having double or triple layers of loose coverage over my entire body.

    'Buzz' in Kitsilano
     
  2. elgordo

    elgordo Active Member

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    Location:
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    Can you reach them without stepping on a ladder? You can try to approach it at night when they are inactive and sluggish and capture it in a bag. Best if you can get a beekeeper's suit because even at night they can still attack, though nothing like during the day. I've used this method, and although my heart was pumping, I was successful without getting stung.
     
  3. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Location:
    Fraser Valley, BC.
    ...Spray 'em. Pyrethrin is a plant extract & the common ingredient in wasp sprays. The cans are great -an easy 10ft. reach.
    There will always be wasps around us as long we provide them food sources. Some species just get killed in my vicinity - sorry, but there it is. Rats, house mice, ants in the house, wasps, squirrels, starlings...I think that's about the limit of murderous rampages right now - leaving phytocide for another day.

    I work on limiting the favourable habitat & access I provide, so that my body count remains somewhat below that of Genghis Khan or Arnold Schwarzeneger.

    gb
     
  4. Vili Petek

    Vili Petek Member

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    Location:
    Richmond BC
    My advice for you is to call a person used to dealing with this. Also spraying them will tick them off, be very careful.

    If you are nuts, they have cheap insect suits in Walmart's camping section. Buy one, put it on (use hat to keep the netting further from face), put some gloves on, close all the windows, take 5 gallon painters bucket, drop the wasp hive in there and close it. At this point, you can keep it closed, or relocate it to your sister-in-law's house (or whomever you may dislike).

    As far as ethics of killing wasps go, they do not feel the pain and even Peter Singer would not find killing them unethical. To ease your mind, they kill my bees in large numbers; you know the cute pollinating kind that feed us. By killing a wasp, you are saving bees, therefore helping feed the humanity, and doing the best thing for the largest number of people.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2010
  5. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    with wasps, rather than valuable honeybees, I usually recommend using a hornet and wasp killing foam aerosol. Many brands are available locally at most garden centers and nurseries. Spray at night and to be extra careful a paper suit or just long sleeves and pants with a bit of tape to seal the outfit against intruders.
     
  6. mort

    mort Active Member

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    Location:
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    We have a wasp's nest by the front walk but I too think they are paper wasps and not yellow jackets. The latter can be very aggressive and make dinner outside impossible this time of year. The paper wasps however only get upset if I stay about a foot in front of the nest and even then I have never been stung. We also have a hornet's nest at the neighbours place and they have left it alone (yay!) because they too are not interested in us too much. With education, the neighbour and your family might learn to like them?:)
     
  7. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    It's for you to decide what is best for your area/situation.

    Paper wasp

    ...

    ;))) barb
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2010
  8. Arvind

    Arvind Member

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    Location:
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    The foam spray is very effective if used correctly - either first thing in the morning or in the late evening.

    If you prefer not to use pesticides here's another effective option - Use a Shop Vac to vacuum up the wasps. First empty out the wet/dry vacuum. Fill the container with about 2 inches of water. Add some dishwashing detergent to make sure that wasps that fall into the water don't float or buzz around. Run the vacuum till you have all the wasps. You may need to empty out the vac in between. Very effective, and does not tend to agitate the wasps much.

    FYI - Another option I read about on the Internet is to use smoke to drive the wasps out. I have not tried this personally, and I think the challenge would be to do this effectively in an urban setting without setting your house (or your neighbour's house) on fire. For a cautionary tale see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/south_east/3664119.stm This may be the only option to drive the wasps away, instead of killing them, but given the significant risk I would not recommend it.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Location:
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    The eventually big hanging bags are made by bald-faced hornets (black-and-white) and European hornets (black-and-yellow). The smaller yellowjacket (black-and-yellow) usually nests in or near the ground, makes sometimes huge nests there. These can be very aggressive right at the nest, a friend was once chased down the street and into a building after attempting to prune a small tree near a compost bin which turned out to contain a nest. Pruned branch sections falling onto the bin was all it took.

    It seems aggressiveness increases with the size of the nest.

    I once saw a bald-faced hornet dispose of a house fly that had been sitting on a Prunus laurocerasus leaf. It was gruesome. But if they also go for honey bees, that is certainly not useful.
     
  10. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    We have what they call "European wasps" here (Yellow and black and large) They are a recent import about 25 yrs ago but have merrily spread. Although the drought seems to have knocked them on the head. One piece of advice I got was torch with red celophane over it and spray nest at night. Worked I had one in a bank.

    re "even Peter Singer". I used to organize his reading lists (sociol dept.) when i worked at the Univ library here years ago. Even then he was very active re ethics. I did not realise he was known the other side so to speak.

    Liz
     
  11. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Location:
    Fraser Valley, BC.
    Good discussion. As often happens, I fall prey to teminological inexactitudes. When I say "wasp" in SW BC I mean "yellow jacket" which in my vocabulary covers one or more species of scavenging or omnivorous bright yellow & black short-waisted communal nest bulding wasps that thrive around human habitation. They tend to be aggressive & get drunk & savage at this time of year. I kill 'em. They do a great job - just don't do it round my house, please. I have a family member who drives me nuts saying things like "Watch out for the bee on your food!". "Not a bee," says I, "'tis a wasp!". "Oh whatever, it doesn't matter" they say. It does - especially when there are children around. Think about it.

    We also get long waisted wasps - "Mud Wasps". I preserve their nests against the requests of my family.
    "Paper Wasps" Whose nests I remove if they are close to the house, patio or sitting areas. They are somewhat aggressive in my experience. Elsewhere in my garden they stay.
    "Parasitic wasps" My term & tremendously inexact. These are a diverse bunch, are really interesting & give me things like rose galls. Some have bizarre family lives involving paralysed insect larvae. Welcome in my yard.

    OK. Now I have shown my entomological ignorance in public. In my defence, I say that I am more informed than many & that some pest control companies can & do take advantage of a credulous public. I am just a bit choosy about my wasps, is all.

    "Where's the spray?" "Use the swatter" "No. It's not a bee!" "Watch out! The dog will eat it.: "Yes it is!" "OWWW!"...family life.

    gb.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  12. mort

    mort Active Member

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    Location:
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    Hi there
    A few days back there was a post with a ton of useful info in it, putting my lame post to shame. Was this Barbara Lloyd's one that was edited?

    Regarding the insect I call a paper wasp, I was setting some slate beside the nest and had my hair practically in it and they only sat on the paper "umbrella" and gave me a dirty look. They did stop their hive fanning briefly but I guess I was lucky to have such accepting residents.
     
  13. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Possibly -- but the quoting of entire Wikipedia articles when these forums don't have a "Share Alike" license violates Wikipedia's Terms and Conditions, so instead a portion of the article was quoted with a link to the entire article.
     
  14. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    Mea culpa Daniel. I didn't even think when I did it. Thanks for fixing it! barb
     
  15. Candy

    Candy Active Member

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    Location:
    Burnaby, B.C. Zone 7ish
    And once you've removed the next, try hanging fake wasp nests to discourage new nests being built. You can buy them at Lee Valley and other garden centres, or make your own. We draw black horizontal lines on a paper lunch bag and stuff it with plastic shopping bags, then hang the "nest" in the eaves of the house, in our son's play fort, under the deck, etc. Wasps (or whatever) are territorial and this keeps them from building near our house. In unprotected areas, we use a grey or brown plastic bag.
     

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