All Things Andrea

All Things Andrea

Sunday, November 6, 2011

How cool is this??!!

Very cool, unless...'s almost the size of a dinner plate and you uncover it in YOUR COMPOST PILE!!!!  

I knew I had a yellow jacket problem and guessed there was a nest somewhere in the bottom of my compost pile because I've been seeing yellow jackets flying in and out of the base of it for the last month.  Of course, I hadn't noticed their activity until after I got stung while turning one of the piles.   

Since I use the compost in my vegetable beds, I didn't want to use any insect sprays directly on the compost; I decided I should I try some "organic" home remedies, but to no avail....

Supposedly you can place bubble wrap near the entrance of the nest.  The sunlight reflecting on the plastic will confuse the bees and cause them to not be able to find the nest.  HA!  Not the case!!  My yellow jackets simply ATE through the bubble wrap!!  Yikes, this is serious!

I  started feeling desperate, thinking that if I didn't come up with a solution, I was going to have to pay big money to some exterminator, not something I wanted to do!  So I was willing to try this goofy remedy:

Suspending a hunk of fish above a dishpan of soapy water was supposed to lure in the wasps, then drown them as they flew too close to the water.  Yeah right!!  The yellow jackets didn't even bother checking out the fish - too cheap of a cut for them, I guess!  I was unwilling to share the wild-caught Atlantic salmon I had in the freezer with the guys, so I trekked off to the grocery store to buy the cheapest fish available.   

I gave the whole dilemma a break, then decided I needed to tackle it this weekend if I was going to be able to turn my compost pile in preparation for cleaning out my flower and vegetable beds.  So, I took the hose and flooded the area where I thought the nest might be, still not sure if it was even in the compost pile or in the ground.  That seemed to slow things down, so I proceeded to very cautiously turn the pile.  Thankfully I didn't get attacked when I uncovered the nest.  I would have liked to have gotten close enough to inspect it and take some better pictures, but I didn't want to risk alarming the guys.  I hated to do it, but I ended up flooding the nest again with the hose later in the day after more of the yellow jackets had returned home, then broke it up with my garden fork and added it back into the turned compost.  :(  I just didn't want to take a chance of them rebuilding another nest, especially since this is their busy season.

I also found a mouse and its nest in the compost pile as well - what's the deal?!  We've had earthquake, flood, snow; next I''ll be overtaken by insects and critters!


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