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can diatomaceous earth get the wasps nests out of our truck?

Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Hi, Justin,

I am hoping that you can make some helpful suggestions about how DE might help deal with yellow jackets in our truck.

In the Summer of 2013, we had a wasps nest inside the door of our truck on the passenger side. This was annoying, but something we could work around.

Last Summer, 2014, the wasps expanded their housing in the truck, to include inside the door on the passenger side and also on the driver's side, under the hood, and inside the little door over the gastank, and behind the mirror that stuck out of the truck on the driver's side.

We did not want to use toxic sprays, as we are doing permaculture, so we did not use the truck until they left for the winter.

It was most unsatisfactory to not use the truck, and we shudder to think what they will do next year.

Is there a way that DE could help? Would it potentially hurt other life forms if used in the manner that you suggest?

If it were just the door, I have seen little flexible plastic bottles with long skinny nozzles on the end that can squirt DE into small spaces. Perhaps we could use that inside the truck door....squeeze it in and squirt some in the space between the door and the truck. Last Summer they started out in the door to the passenger side, then spread to the door on the driver's side, and if they could be stopped there, that might be the answer.

Would using the squirt bottle hurt other insects or other life, including us?

Thank you.
Posts: 2535
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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You might try carbon dioxide to kill them - either buy some dry ice or use a fire extinguisher. It will fill the space and suffocate them.

Are you sure they are wasps? It is unusual for wasps to colonise the same space for multiple years as the colonies die off in winter and the new queens hibernate.
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Pamela Melcher : By the time you get this your problem should have abated - at least 'till warmer weather. If possible a picture would be nice

Michael Cox's idea will work, and has worked. If you can find large industrial garbage bags to slip over the whole door, then use any kind of tape
that comes to hand to seal up the bag you can then use a CO2 type fire extinguisher or dry-ice from a wholesale butchers- they should have more
than they can use coming in every day

-And you do have a funning story that will get them to stop and put themselves in your shoes !!!

There are also ''Canned air'' products that are used to blow dust and dirt out of cracks and crevices that have long scary sounding names listed for their
contents, but that quickly break down into safe inert gases.

A little more thought on the subject suggests filling the bag up with Co2 or canned air gas and then squeeze that gas out and replace with more gas
to help flush the O2 out and make faster work of your job

Good luck / Good hunting For the Crafts ! Big AL
Posts: 95
Location: KY
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Wow! That sounds like a challenge. I know my relatives in Idaho have had a huge issue with swarms of wasps and hornets. Something is out of balance.

I agree with Allen and Michael. You have a fight on your hands.

Here is the big picture of my approach:

First, it took a lot of energy and toxic waste to make our vehicles (and solar panels and lithium batteries, etc.) so I believe they are worth fighting to keep in a situation like this. To me, this fight is about stewardship of resources.

Couple of suggestions that follow Allen's and Michael's suggestions:

* During the winter, I would start stripping out all the old nests. I would leave no stone unturned. I would clear out the entire truck of nests. As a last touch, you could sprinkle some DE in the nooks and crannies - in the places that were really hard for you to get to.

* If and when they return, I would cover the entire truck in 1 large sheet of plastic. I would seal the plastic to the ground so the truck is as air tight as possible. Then I would try the CO2 methods that were already suggested. (When I was growing up, this is basically how we would prepare tobacco seed beds. They would seal them air tight and then bomb them with some toxic junk that killed everything but the tobacco seed.) I would use CO2 instead of the toxic stuff. You will probably have to rinse and repeat. There are organic sprays out there, but I have never used them. I would definitely consider them in this situation.

For the future, I would look at any attempts to balance this problem with the species predators.

Good luck!

Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thanks, folks.

The CO2 idea is one I had never heard of...and while of course we do not want too much CO2 as a greenhouse gas to exacerbate global warming, the scale we would be operating on relative to that problem is small, and the toxicity to birds and beneficial insects would, for all practical purposes, not exist. I will check that out.

We will remove all the nests and dab DE where it will not do any harm.

It is odd, as I have used an old wasps nest to successfully deter new wasps nests in our shed. There was a big nest one summer in the shed in a roll of a camping pad (foam rubber used for a camping mattress that had been rolled up.) I placed it so it was very obvious on entering the shed and we have had no more wasps in the shed, which I attributed to the presence of the old nest.

What are the predators of yellow jackets?

Thanks again...

I still prefer these problems to a life separated from nature and totally reliant on poisons.
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Hi Pamela. This past summer I had a number of Praying Mantis' in my garden and on a couple of occasions I witnessed them happily chowing down on yellow jackets. It was rather fascinating, actually; a real wild life moment!
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