Yellowjackets – Nest Dug Up
Q: We have noticed some bees in a corner of our property. After a recent rain, it looked as if an animal dug up several flat bee combs. There were four of them, about the size of a six-inch pancake, and more in the hole. We are not sure what kind of bees they are, but something is digging them out.
A: My guess is that it was a skunk or a raccoon that dug up the insect nests. Since yellowjackets are the only insect likely to build an underground nest, I think those are your villains. Entomologist Jim Howell says yellowjackets dig a hollow nest underground and line the inside with “paper” they make from chewed plant material. Their brood combs hang inside the hollow space. A hungry animal, perhaps a young and inexperienced one, finds the immature yellowjacket larvae quite delicious and will dig up a nest despite the stings. Keep an eye out for the entrance holes of other yellowjacket nests in your yard. If you discover one, briefly squirt some aerosol Wasp & Hornet spray in it late one evening.