Complex Yellow Jacket Nest in my Wood Pile (PICS) Now, What?

Oregon Bigfoot Posted By Oregon Bigfoot, Dec 9, 2011 at 4:30 AM

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  1. Oregon Bigfoot

    Oregon Bigfoot
    Feeling the Heat

    May 21, 2011
    Northwest Oregon
    I stacked all my wood in the wood shed in April. I sprinkled lawn insect killer pretty heavily under the pallets prior to stacking my wood. I have virtually no spiders in my wood pile, YAY! Late last summer about August, I noticed LOTS of yellow jackets flying into my stacked wood from the back side, but I could not find the nest. I knew it was a big nest, due to the large volume of yellow jackets coming and going all the time. I deployed two yellow jacket traps, and over a few weeks until fall, I caught 352 (yes, I counted them as I dumped the traps). I'd collect the traps after dark, and put the traps in the freezer. After a while, I could dump the traps, and redeploy. I tried hard to find that yellow jacket nest to no avail. I knew I would have to wait until it was cold out, and there was no longer yellow jacket activity to try to do anything. Trapping activity ceased about the first week of October with the cooler weather. The nest probably went into hibernation.

    I finally used enough wood to find the hive. The yellow jacket nest is a very complex nest that just about engulfs one chunk of wood, and fills up all the air space between that chunk and the other pieces of splits. I'm still unsure if there are more parts of this nest that I just uncovered.

    The question now is what should I do? What would you do? :ahhh:

    I'm thinking on a sub-freezing evening after dark, I'll rip off the wood around the nest, and have the hornets spray ready. Once I expose the hive, I'll spray the heck out of it. Then, somehow dispose of it, although I'm not sure how yet. I'm thinking there must be hundreds more still in the hive. I don't think they will be active at night, and in sub-freezing weather. This is the first yellow jackets nest I've had in my wood piles, and I've burned wood since 1979. I guess I'm lucky. But if you have had "experience" with a yellow jackets nest in your wood pile, I'm inquiring of all you experts out there in Land.

    I did go wood cutting one day above Dallas, Oregon about 20-25 years ago, and was cutting on a deck of wood, and ZAP, ZAP, ZAP, ZAP I got stung four times, Yowsers! I ran like no bodies business, and somehow managed to get my chain saw back, and quit cutting on that portion of the deck, and didn't get stung again that day. Also, I will get stung maybe once every two years bringing in wood, from a yellow jacket hibernating in cracks of my wood.

    I've attached two pictures of the hive. Also, I have one picture of my wood pile. I've used about 25-30% of my wood thus far. Each row is just about 1.5 cords stacked to the roof. And the last picture I thought you would get a kick out of. It's me giving my grandson lessons how to fall his first fir tree (our Christmas tree). He'll probably need some more lessons. :)

    Oregon Bigfoot

    Attached Files:

  2. burnt03

    Burning Hunk

    Oct 30, 2011
    Peachland, BC, Canada
    If it's freezing, it takes them a LONG time to get up to temperature to come sting you. I'd pull off a few splits, rip open the hive and see how long it takes for them to get moving... to give you an idea how long you've got. Then try another night and go wild.

    If you need something to spray them with, soapy water works. Doesn't kill them instantly but basically knocks them down and suffocates them. Cheap and don't have to worry about throwing wood covered with chemicals into the stove!
  3. Lumber-Jack

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 29, 2008
    Beautiful British Columbia
    Are you sure they haven't already abandoned the nest? I believe most of the hive die off at the end of fall, only the fertilized queen hibernates through the winter. She seeks out a sheltered location where she won't freeze and begins building a new nest in the spring.
    Let me know if I'm wrong. :)
    Ashful likes this.
  4. bogydave

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 4, 2009
    So Cent ALASKA
    I don't see any guard bees patrolling the nest.
    Probably empty this time of the year.
    Bee hives are good for kids to take as "show & tell", no bees of course :)
    (or a few bees in a zip lock bag)
  5. onetracker

    Minister of Fire

    Aug 11, 2011
    rondout valley ny
    ob -

    um, gotta talk to you about safety dude.

    i think you should get some chaps on your helper. ;-)

    good luck with the nest...i think the yj's winter over in the ground.
    how about a pic of that woodshed? looks pretty nice.
  6. Larry in OK

    Larry in OK

    Oct 31, 2011
    NE Oklahoma
    Take off and nuke the site from high orbit, it's the only way to be sure!

    As long as it's cold and you don't go digging around bare handed I don't think you'll have too many problems getting the vermin cleared out.
  7. glennm

    Burning Hunk

    Dec 26, 2010
    S Ontario
    Throw the splits and nest in paper bags and enjoy the btu's?
  8. Pat53

    Minister of Fire

    Aug 21, 2010
    UP Mich
    I seriously doubt that hive would be at all active. Should be no danger in just pulling the wood out and letting it fall apart, but definitely do it on a cold day/night just to be safe. I see them flying in and out of my stack in late summer. I hate them, so I go out at night with a can of spray and a stick. Gouge a hole in the hive and spray the hell out of it. Next day, all quiet and lots of dead wasps. Never been stung...yet
  9. Bocefus78

    Minister of Fire

    Jul 27, 2010
    Just Outside Indy
    Agree with the above. If there's any life in there, they will be molasses slow. I do like the paper bag idea. Consider the nest free tinder.
  10. maple1

    Minister of Fire

    Sep 15, 2011
    Nova Scotia
    I'll bet a dozen Tims donuts that the nest is empty.

    I had a wasp nest in the 6in. exhaust pipe of my Venmar one year - just happened to notice one flying into the outlet when I was going by on the lawn mower one day. I waited until early winter, then took the whole thing down - the pipe was completely blocked by wasp nest for 4 feet. Couldn't believe it. Anyway, that called for new pipe - hope it doesn't happen again.
  11. ironpony

    Minister of Fire

    Jan 22, 2010
    mid-ohio via St.Croix USVI
    I have used a shop vac, even in the summer
    put an extension on it and suck it in
    the hive is soft and fluffy
    sucks it right up
    then let it run a few minutes
    open lots of dead bees
  12. Pat53

    Minister of Fire

    Aug 21, 2010
    UP Mich
    great idea
  13. stejus

    Minister of Fire

    Jul 29, 2008
    Central MA
    I agree with all comments about being dormant. Just do it early AM or late day without sunlight hitting the stack (meaning coldest part of the day). Just remove the splits slowly to expose the nest. Once you see the nest structure, your call. You can try and pick it up and put it in a bag or just spray the holes for precaution and then pick it apart.

    I just split some oak the past weekend. We've had an above avg fall and I was concerned some of the logs may have ants. Sure enough, I split open a few that had 100's of ants all bunched up and not moving. It was near 60 out and I was surprised how lazy they were.

  14. fireview2788

    Minister of Fire

    Apr 20, 2011
    SW Ohio
    From the Oregon State University (just a coincidence via Google):

    By fall, yellow jacket nests have also produced a crop of new queens and males. By the first frost, most workers and queens leave the nest to find a protected spot to spend the winter. They reemerge in spring to begin the cycle all over again.

    Here's a link to the full article:

    f v
  15. lukem

    Minister of Fire

    Jan 12, 2010
    I've heard of that too...and then shoot some starter fluid (ether) in there after the vac is shut off....kills them in a hurry. I would be shocked if that hive was active....even if it was i doubt they could even fly at these temps.
  16. Bspring

    Feeling the Heat

    Aug 3, 2007
    Greenville, SC
    The nest will be empty and they do not reuse them.
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage
    Minister of Fire

    Feb 14, 2007
    No worries but in case you have a further problem with them, the easiest way we've found to get rid of them is after dark, pour boiling water on them. That is the end and no harm to anything else with sprays.

    Probably the worst I've had was one time recently they built nest in a big pile of old leaves. We had to dig through the leaves to get at the entire nest. Problem was, my helper ran.... I got them anyway but chose a few words that perhaps were a bit nasty.
  18. Oregon Bigfoot

    Oregon Bigfoot
    Feeling the Heat

    May 21, 2011
    Northwest Oregon
    Thanks everyone. It will be a few weeks before I expose the whole nest, as I gradually use the front stacked wood in the stove. The yellow jackets probably are mostly gone, but I have seen 5 or 6 just laying there around the nest in the past week. They are not dead, but dormant. I touched them with a stick, and they move in slow motion, then I squish them with the stick.

    I like the shop vac method, I think I'll do that on a cold, evening.

    Oregon State University is about an hour away. That was an interesting article for sure.

    The latest news in our neck of the woods yesterday is the falling tall timber on the Portland Trailblazers hardwood. Brandon Roy retiring, Greg Oden probably out another year, and Lamarcus Aldridge having a heart procedure yesterday and out for a while. Sheesh.

    Oregon Bigfoot
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