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ground bees in my garden, need to relocate

 
John Master
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Location: Wisconsin
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if this is the wrong forum please put where its appropriate. I have beekeeping gear but I shouldn't have to wear it when gardening! Second occasion, third sting from some really angry bees that made a home in my garden bed, some mini hugels. Any idea how to get them out of there, I am not 100% sure exactly where the nest entrance is. they don't look like honey bees, brighter yellow but same size and shape. last time I got stung I tried to smother the area with soil but apparently it didn't do anything. I got out of there quick but man that could have been bad, stirred up a whole swarm of them.



 
Mike Cantrell
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Location: Mid-Michigan
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Also called yellow jackets, the Georgia Tech (and Southeast Bulloch High School) mascot.

Maybe Vespula maculifrons? There are a few different species.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_jacket

Anyhow, the reason they're the mascot for some football teams is that they're dad-blamed vicious. Their sting is vastly more painful than a honeybee's. I destroy the nests that crop up close to the house. I feel a little bad when I do it, but they're not an animal that just leaves you alone. They'll sting if you're close to the nest, they'll sting if you brush them off of you, and they'll go apeshit collectively if they smell one of their kinsmen crushed. I just can't handle having them close our house.

(If you want to know the most effective way to kill a nest, I'll tell you .)

So, what was the question? Moving them? Maybe. All the workers die in the fall; only the queen overwinters in her papery, subterranean, football-sized nest. Perhaps you could dig her and her brood up and rebury them elsewhere? I wouldn't feel confident about it working, since your need to bring them up into cold winter air, which might kill them. But perhaps. If so, be sure to share the results; I've never heard of anyone trying it.
 
Mike Cantrell
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Wait, you were asking about eliminating the nest after all. Ok, here's the secret:

You need one of these babies right here:

http://m.harborfreight.com/propane-torch-91033.html

You can do this alone, but it's easier with a friend. You'll also need a shovel. Find the spot where they're crawling in and out of their home in the ground. Apply the torch to the hole. This kills the bees as they leave, AND it kills the ones returning from foraging. Slowly dig out the hole. As you expose the nest, the flame kills the bees. As others return home from foraging, they fly right into the flame, too. They don't notice it until they're in it. It only takes a couple of minutes to dig out the whole nest and kill every bee and their brood.

Best part? No poison in your soil.
 
Cristo Balete
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Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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I'm pretty sure those are hornets, not bees. They can keep stinging and not die. Their attitude worsens as the summer goes on. I have never bothered to relocate them because there is no shortage of hornets!! Obviously don't mow around them, or walk over that hole in the ground. You'll see a couple of guard bees at the opening. Don't let pets near it.

If you want to get rid of them, you need to do it at night. I think it's only fair to do it as soon as possible, because the hive could get to contain 200 of them. They are hatching in summer. You can take a large kettle of boiling water with some salad oil poured over the top. Only go out after dark and pour it down the hole. They will all be in the hive after dark, no stragglers. You'll hear a big roar. Have a rag on the ground next to it, and shove it into the hold with your foot and leave. I've never had them come after me, because they don't fly at night, but they might do anything guarding their ground nest.

If you don't want to get that close, this is a less organic way. Do this at night, only after dark, too. You can get a can of foam hornet spray that shoots a stream, but you need to be at the hole to shoot it into the hole, not over the top. The foam keeps them from flying out. It might take a couple of nights.

In either case, a few survivors will try to put it back together for the next couple of days but they won't be able to. So avoid it for a while until they give up.

Or......If you want to try to coexist with them, you can block off the area with a fence of some kind, without disturbing them. They are good pollinators, but they will eat your fruit, apples, berries, apricots, plums, and they will sting your hand if you try to pick the fruit and you don't see them on it.

So that's why it's not the end of the world to kill them. They will be gone by October anyway.

Or....you can wait until a skunk or raccoon gets in there at night and rips open the nest. That might take until mid August or so, but if they have access to your garden they will find the nest.

Next spring try to find where the new queen is overwintering. It will be in a shed crevice, a pile of wood, a stack of bricks or rocks, or even a stack of tiles. If you find it before it gets into the ground, you can get it to walk onto a stick (it can't fly) and take it somewhere else, or just kill it. It seems a lot less cruel to kill just one than 200. I've tried to coexist with them, but I always get stung.

 
John Master
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it looks exactly like the yellow jacket photo. I put on my bee gear to snoop around and see if I could find the hole. one tried to sting my glove and it was a determined bugger! Problem is I probably covered it up tripping over there nest hole which was when they stung me. I will try to locate the entrance and try the blowtorch/digging method with bee gear on and see if that works. Gotta get these gone, now that I know what they are I have no problem destroying them if possible.
 
Dave Dahlsrud
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I've had really good success eliminating the yellowjacket nests in my hugel mounds by placing a clear glass bowl over the top of the nest entrance at night. The glass allows the light in so they don't try to dig a new entrance on to the outside. They just come out into the sun and die after a while. Find the entrance to the nest and put the clear container (could be anything as long as it's clear and the wasps can't chew through it) over the top of the entrance hole and seal around the edges with some dirt. Do this either first thing in the morning or after it gets dark. It'll take about a week to kill them all off, then leave the clear container another week or so just to be safe and you're done. No bee gear, no torches, or poisons... just dead bees! Simple!!
 
Gregory Silling
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Location: Northeast - 5B
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I have mud daubers or commonly called mud wasps ... nast little buggers.
 
Jay Grace
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If it's close to the house a vaccum works too. If you can find the engrave to the hole.

Set the end of the hose right near the entrance and when they go in and out. They're sucked right up.
 
John Master
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I've had mud daubers and they didn't mess with me luckily, i think i gave them a mud puddle if it got dry so they would leave me alone, now i have no exposed mud for them so they haven't come back. I can see how they could be a nuisance.

I will think about the bowl and vacuum methods, might be easier. Gotta see if i can find the entrance today. i messed it up when i disturbed them so hopefully they dug it back out and i can see them going in and out of one spot.
 
Cloey McCollom
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diatomaceous earth in the holes might work too - and the garden dirt might benefit from the nutrients in the DE ( the stuff that is like flour not the granules)
 
Mike Cantrell
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Dave Dahlsrud wrote:I've had really good success eliminating the yellowjacket nests in my hugel mounds by placing a clear glass bowl over the top of the nest entrance at night.

...

No bee gear, no torches, or poisons... just dead bees!



Wow! I thought my method was the ultimate, but if this works... wow!
 
John Master
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Location: Wisconsin
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i used the weed burner method, just laid it about 6" above the hole any bee that tried to fly in or out got fried. I pounded the dirt by the hole when it slowed down and more would fly out. When I knew I got most of them I turned on the garden hose for the final rinse and more flew out. left the hose and burner running for half hour. Going back out there tomorrow if I see more but this took down a bunch of them. Found another nest while I was there, it's cooking right now.
 
Hester Winterbourne
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Location: West Midlands UK
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I would say wasps, not bees. In the garden where I first worked, we used to get a lot of wasps nests in the ground. They used to put some sort of poison powder on them. This was a BAD thing. But the odd thing was, that every time they did this, the next morning the wasps nest would have been dug up and destroyed by badgers. It was like the poison made the wasps dozy enough that the badger could deal with them, or maybe they had learnt to associate the smell of the powder to help them find the nests...

Late in the season I will kill yellowjacket wasps. They just hang around gorging on sugary things and being nasty. But in the spring, I will never ever kill a queen. I will ask her politely to leave the house, and she will. How inconsistent humans can be!
 
John Master
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Location: Wisconsin
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yes, these are more like wasps that are the size and shape of bees, not fuzzy, bright yellow and black, and truly nasty if you get near them. the don't have the long separated body like the mud wasps though.
 
Dave Dahlsrud
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Location: North-Central Idaho
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Mike
The clear bowl trick works great! I've done it a couple times, I think I read it in Mother Earth News or Backwoods Home Magazine. Super simple and effective.
 
Cristo Balete
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I will have to try the clear bowl trick. Although, one year I did block the entrance with gravel and they had a back way out. But I have clay soil, they find a crack in the soil and fill it in to suit their needs, pretty easy to have a back way out. But they can dig pretty well (and eat styrofoam if there's meat juices on it) so I'll sink that bowl into the soil a little.

I saw a funny thing. There are flies that hover under the pine trees in groups, out of the wind, in the shade, and a hornet or yellow jacket, one of those guys, will come and hover with them, beating them up! Playing grab ass with them, being a bully, and the flies get so annoyed and start zig zagging instead of just hovering. Eventually he got bored and left. Apparently he felt he had enough free time to go harass others!

I have a whole area I am dreading having to mow, because I put it off too long, and now I can't find them first. Ah, well, never put off 'til tomorrow.....They are amazing creatures, they eat dead meat, they help keep the world clean, but it's just too hard to live with them.
 
Dave Dahlsrud
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Location: North-Central Idaho
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I've seen wasps and hornets actively hunt and kill flies. It's pretty cool to see. I think the clear glass bowl trick works because they can't tell there is no way out so they keep trying to use the main entrance rather than taking the backdoor or digging out. Its worked for me every time I've tried it.... 100% success, 100% dead wasps!
 
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