Yellowjacket – Finding Nest
Q: I love to cut grass but have been stung by yellowjackets three times this summer. Now I’m terrified to mow. How can I find the nest in a huge yard?
A: Try this: Upend a five-gallon plastic bucket in the middle of your lawn. When the sun is coming up or going down, place an open can of tuna and a small slice of watermelon or banana on the bucket and sit quietly in a comfortable lawn chair nearby. Bring a book to read.
When the yellowjackets discover the bait, watch in which direction they fly away. Move the bucket several feet in that direction a couple of times and start looking for them close to the ground. Morning or late afternoon is best (when the sun is low on the horizon). You can see the flying yellow dots pretty clearly against green foliage or brown pine straw.
They will not bother you while you sit because their little insect brains are focused on taking food back to their nest. But once the nest is located, you can give it a deadly squirt of insecticide at dusk.
UGA expert Bob Matthews adds: If one is stung while mowing there is a pretty good chance that the nest will be found within 20 ft. or so of where they were stung. So returning to that area a bit later and looking for the characteristic nest traffic flight pattern will often successfully locate the nest entrance.