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Wasps in the woodpile

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by gyrfalcon, Jul 31, 2008.

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  1. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    or maybe yellowjackets, at any rate, something that stings nastily and results in an insane week-long itch. Hundreds of them.

    Now what? I'd leave them alone until cold weather, but they've made a nest or whatever they do in a big chunk of one of the stacks that fell over in the heavy rain a couple weeks ago, which I'd really like to get off the ground and restack.

    We've just had a long discussion on another thread about not using chemical bug sprays on firewood, but in a case like this, is there any alternative? I'll have to spray repeatedly, too, I suspect because if they have any kind of nest structure in there, it's not something I can see so I'll have to keep spraying the opening I see them flying in and out of for a few days.

    Anybody got a suit of armor I can borrow?

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  2. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I have been stung 3x this summer. pinky, right calf, and top of the noggin- the pinky and leg swelled and itched like a SOB.

    If you can see the nest, then I'd target an attack with that long-range bug spray nest killer on the nest entrance. Most of it will go right to killing the nest, and any overspray will be incidental. Some people cover a nest with a plastic bag at night- but the whole nest must be visible (hanging out of a tree, etc.)- and it's more risky. My dad used to use a hose to destroy nests, but apparently he has 10x the nads that I do in this regard- plus skin that doesn't look like a stinger could get through it LOL

    Boric acid could also be used, but will take some time to work. Whatever you do, it's easier to sneak up on them at night when they're not active.

    While I don't bother with insecticide on piles- this is a case where I'll make an exception!
  3. Jay777

    Jay777 New Member

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    Depending on what the pile looks like and how big a hurry you're in, you can basically (in the evening or early morning) run up to the pile, knock over or remove a chunk of it, and then run away.. Unless the pile is huge it shouldn't take too much to locate the nest itself. Then do what AP suggested. I'd throw away any log that gets a direct hit from the poison, though.
  4. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Oh, wow, I don't know that I have what it takes to do that. Maybe a little bourbon would help. The pile they're in is basically a stack that fell over lengthwise, no more than a couple splits deep, so what you suggest is doable, but...
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  5. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    I have the most amazing mental image of your dad. I've gotten stung twice, once on the arm by one of these little buggers, and once on the arch of my foot by a bumblebee when I stepped on it by mistake. The itch from both of them was beyond spectacular and I really don't want another one o' those.

    Can't see the nest, don't even know what kind it is. These aren't the big, placid mudwasps or whatever they are that build little upside-down igloos all around my house, and they're a good bit smaller than yellowjackets. They're very fast and irritable as heck. I actually feel bad using nerve agent chemical warfare on the mudwasps, but these guys I will massacre with pleasure.
  6. Gator eye

    Gator eye Member

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    Dig out the winter carharts, coat and bibs, rap you face with a scarf, put on a hat and safity glasses. Grab a can of either and your ready to do battle with any wasp or hornet out there.




    I was cleaning out the chicken coop getting ready for meat chickens and got attack and stung quiet a few times. There run me right out of town. But my counter-attack was very effective and I retook my place at the top of the food chain.
  7. woodconvert

    woodconvert Minister of Fire

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    Oddly enough I have not had this problem but I usually do. I usually just wait until late evening or early morning...catch em' snoozin' and let rip with the wasp/hornet spray. That stuff works pretty good, it doesn't take much to do them in.
  8. Jay777

    Jay777 New Member

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    Kinda liking that idea (though it'll coat all the wood with god-knows-what)
  9. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    paper wasp may have hung a grey paper nest on a split before the pile fell over.
    Usually out of the rain, but they'll make a nest in a tree, too.
    The paper wasps here are black with yellow stripes.

    Yellow jackets I've seen going in and out of a hole in the ground (like bumble bees) so maybe the pile fell over on their entry point. I've seen them in a formerly bug infested log too.

    Either one you should spray at dawn or dusk when the majority of them are in the nest.
    Just leave any soaked splits out in the rain and sun to wash them off.




    A week to get over a sting seem long.
  10. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    That's how I take care of them as well... I haven't had an issue yet.
  11. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the good advice. I don't think these are paper wasps (they're fairly large, aren't they?) and I sure never saw a beginning nest on the wood, but who knows. But the pile falling over on a ground nest hole seems entirely possible. THese are smaller than the bugs I've always heard called yellowjackets, at least, and which I've been stung by once or twice without having the violent itching.

    THe worst of the itch was about four days, but both were on places that constantly get brushed lightly by clothing, bedsheets, cats, etc., which starts the itching all over again after it's calmed down. Also, I don't believe I've ever been stung by either one of these before in my life, at least not since very early childhood, since I've never experienced that kind of itch from a sting before, so maybe my system reacted more violently because it was new.
  12. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I agree with that. Give your immune system genuine threats to fight and it's less likely to turn on you and attack your joints, lungs, etc., in order to have something to do.

    These aren't bees, though, I'm pretty sure. And I think I'd rather have arthritis than that itch!
  13. gw2kpro

    gw2kpro New Member

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    I had about 8 or 9 wasp nests in several of my sheds this spring. I'd knock one down and a few days later they'd be at it again. One day a couple of them chased me out of one of the sheds.

    That was it. I went up to my son's room and got his super soaker (very large volume squirt gun). I put a couple squirts of dish soap in it and filled it with water. Pumped it up to the max. Then me, the super soaker, and the 8 wasp nests full of wasps had a little confrontation -- all the wasps and their nests all got a good soaking and I didn't have to get within 20 feet of them.

    Worked like a charm. Zero chemicals. It killed every one that it hit, they fell down in a few seconds. Came back 20 minutes later and knocked down all the damp nests. I haven't had one nest come back since.

    Miserable bugs.
  14. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    Yellowjackets are about a half inch, I've had them come flying up out of the ground when I've driven by in the lawn mower, They'r epretty aggressive. I swear they sting together on cue. They can get huge nests. I suppose if you had some really big hollow unsplit logs they might have nested in one. More likely in the ground.
    Paper wasps are a bout an inch long and build those flat paper honeycombs you can see. You pretty much have to really piss one off or sit on one to get stung.

    Euro wasps are even bigger and build can build like yellowjackets in hollow places but not in the ground as far as I know. I found a nest in a abandoned squirrel nest one Summer and went back in the Fall to poke at it/knock it down.
    From the size of them they were European wasps/hornets and the only ones I've seen. It was too cold for them to move aggressively. I don't like provoking them and getting stung either. Was intrigued by them using a squirrel nest. Never would have known they were there if I hadn't started cutting a lower branch off the tree that was in my way.


    From a safe distance and with a bit of time and patience you should be able to watch where they are from thier flying in and out.


    Yellowjackets can have nests of hundreds maybe even thousands of members, like bees.
    Paper wasps are usually MUCH smaller colonies.
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Am I the only one who uses hot water instead of spray? True, you can't use it for all but most of the time it works great. However, I like to use it after dark...
  16. sapratt

    sapratt Feeling the Heat

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    I use brake cleaner or ether to kill wasps and yellow jackets. Cheaper than Raid and kills them instantly.
  17. PeteD

    PeteD New Member

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    Isopropyl alcohol (don't waste ethanol) works well too.

    Expose the nest at dusk after confirming no activity and then hit them. They are very groggy when it is not bright out.

    If you are allergic to stings, I would not do this, just in case.
  18. sapratt

    sapratt Feeling the Heat

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    Never thought of alcohol thats cheaper yet. I'll have to use that instead.
  19. sapratt

    sapratt Feeling the Heat

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    Rambo?
  20. Girl

    Girl New Member

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    We used a fire extinguisher on a massive nest one time, it wasn't on a woodpile.
    Anyway, it worked better than all the heavy duty bug spray we originally tried.
  21. oilstinks

    oilstinks Feeling the Heat

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    I always use a good carb cleaner spray. it just evaporates. Guess ill try alcohol.
  22. PeteD

    PeteD New Member

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    Let me add that some internet sources say alcohol just knocks them out (doesn't kill them). This may be true, because I always used on small nests or single pests to knock them to the ground and then I step on them.

    Pete
  23. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    Be careful if you've been stung by something before, and get stung again, and have a more serious reaction.

    That's the traveled path of many people allergic to stings. For me, yellow jackets are the worst.

    Before you go messing with some kind of stinging insect, best to get a script for 1 or 2 Epipens. Better to be safe, than sorry. My insurance co-pay on 2 is $20. Well worth it, IMHO.

    I always have an Epipen around. Work, house, barn, truck, briefcase, etc
  24. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the heads-up on that. I'll bear it in mind. My immune system is very well-behaved, thank goodness, so I think it's unlikely, but it's good to be alert to that possibility.
  25. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    An allergic reaction can come on at any time.

    Just don't get scared when you bring the things home, and see the size of the needles that YOU must jab into your leg(pants down :ahhh:

    [​IMG]

    I've done it :snake:
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