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I seem to have a colony of small bees nesting in a large shallow hole in a Yew tree in my garden. What are they and are they dangerous as my grandchildren frequently use my garden

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It's most likely a breed of yellow jacket. These will swarm and attack with stings. It may be a few to 100 to attack at once. Yellow jackets are"t dangerous until you get attacked or if allergic to them. I would have it checked out, because the colony may be small now but it could grow to hold thousands of them.

Posted on Jun 04, 2010


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Sweat bees do hurt...but, I do not swell up when I am bitten ( I have BAD allergic reactions to bees, wasps.. etc -- hospital trip bad!!), ...Yellow jackets nest in the ground.. they hurt and make me swell up and grant me a trip to the hospital ..especially if I get stung by more than one..(of anything)... this is probably what got you... did you run over them while mowing?.. this is a COMMON way to stir them up!! ...and they like to attack in swarms.

pictures of yellow jackets and hornets Google Search

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How to kill yellow jackets

wait till winter and the you can get rid of them...if it's in a car...

Yellow jackets are notorious stinging insects that belong to the wasp family. They are identified by their black and yellow stripes and they are usually 3/4-1 inch in length. Yellow jackets are social insects and they protect their nests fiercely. These insects will sting at the slightest provocation and they sting repeatedly. Reactions to the sting from yellow jackets can range from irritating welts to death. If you have a yellow jacket nest in your yard and you want to exterminate them, here are some suggestions on how this can be safely done.

A yellow jacket nest can measure up to six inches across. The nests are usually built in piles of leaves, in trees, under eaves, on the ceilings of outdoor buildings or in the ground. If you live in a region that experiences cold climate conditions during winter, you can safely remove the yellow jacket nest without being harmed. During cold weather the colonies die when the temperature falls below freezing and only the hibernating fertilized queens survive. Remove the nest and destroy the hibernating queen.

Underground yellow jacket nests are usually discovered by accident, i.e., when a lawnmower or other vehicle runs over them. If you discover an underground nest, you can either have a pest control representative destroy it or kill the yellow jackets yourself. Before you begin the job, ask a friend to assist you with the task. Both of you should wear protective clothing. This includes rubber gloves, and a bee veiled hat or bug baffler. Ensure that your entire body is covered. Pull your pant legs over your boots, tie them in place and tie your jacket cuffs to your gloves. If possible wear clothing that is not easily penetrated by yellow jackets. You will need a half gallon wide-mouthed glass jar with kerosene or diesel fuel (never use gasoline), a shovel-full of dirt, and a large non-porous cloth that is big enough to cover the opening of the nest.

When you have collected everything you need to destroy the nest, approach the colony either very early in the morning or just after sunset. During these times the yellow jackets are not as active and are easily caught off guard. Walk to the nest cautiously and quietly, pour the fuel into the nest opening and immediately cover the hole with the cloth. Ask your friend to place the shovel-full of dirt over the cloth. Do not ignite the nest, the fumes you poured in the opening will kill the yellow jackets almost immediately. After you have covered the hole with dirt, leave the area quickly. Never try to destroy any yellow jacket nest if you have had allergic reactions or are unsure about your reaction to stings; call a pest control company instead.

If the yellow jackets have made a nest above ground, i.e., in trees, eaves etc. destroy them with a commercial grade pesticide. Wear protective clothing and follow the manufacture's directions carefully. Always stand at the suggested distance (usually eight to ten feet) away from the nest and aim for the nest opening. If you cannot pinpoint the opening, soak the entire nest to kill the colony.

Another way that yellow jackets can be killed is to construct a trap for them. Fill a large tub or bucket with water and laundry detergent. Secure three poles of similar length in a teepee style fashion above the bucket. Tie the poles securely together with rope. Leave one foot of the rope length hanging from the middle of the poles. Attach a raw fish to the rope and let it dangle about two inches from the water's surface. **** the sides of the fish so that it is easily accessible to the yellow jackets. When they arrive to take pieces of the fish, the slices will be too heavy for them to carry, causing them to fall and drown in the detergent water. Cover the trap with chicken wire to ensure that large animals do not eat the fish.

Yellow jackets can also be killed with lure traps. Most of these traps are devices that use heat, moisture, chemical attraction, and color to lure the yellow jackets. Once they get inside the device they are trapped and eventually die. Before you purchase any of these devices, research their reliability and performance level.

There are also many chemical pesticides available but you should buy only those that are specifically designed for yellow jackets. Although pesticides are quick and easy to use, they can also be harmful to pets, lawns, and people. Read the labels carefully, follow all recommendations and adhere to all warnings. If you use pesticides to kill yellow jackets wear protective clothing that is nonflammable. Launder them after using the pesticide and wash any part of your skin that has been exposed.

Yellow jackets can be safely exterminated if you follow the suggestions given in this article. Whatever method you choose, remember that with careful planning you will be able to eliminate these aggressive pests from your home and yard.

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