I don't know about you, but this season has been intense when it comes to ground wasps. Thinking it has to do with our hot, dry weather here in the PNW.
We have at least 5 "hives" in the ground in various spots of our 1 acre of apples. Since we are trying to keep 'certifiable' organic, Chems are off the table (plus who wants to use that crap?!)
I've tried what another orchardist recommended which is to go out at night in a bee suit and dig them up. Well they were aggravated for a few days and I got stung again and they made new hives (did I mention I'm allergic?!)
Since I've tried soap and flooding them with water at night with little success (we have very well drained soil).
If you're talking about something related to yellow jackets,https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowjacket, then I'll offer two things.
One, my personal experience. I dig them up in broad daylight, digging and burning simultaneously, using a weed torch. That kills the ones in the ground, the ones flying away, and the ones flying home. Nobody's left to sting you. You also lay bare the whole nest, so you're positive that they're completely finished right then. 100% effective for me.
Second option, someone told me about earlier this summer, right here on Permies. They said, put a clear glass bowl over the hole. The wasps exit, hit the glass, and stay trapped. They don't dig a new exit because the bowl is clear - I guess if you cover it with something opaque, they realize what happened and dig around it. So, clear bowl, they all stay in there and die. Seems pretty effortless, and it makes sense, but I haven't personally done this.
We had a nest right by the entrance of an office I used to work in. An exterminator was called in and he liberally sprinkled Diatomaceous Earth into both entrances to the nest. I thought he used a ridiculous amount of the DE, probably two cups in and around each entrance, but I never saw another wasp from that nest.
I had never thought of using DE like that before, another usage in the kit!
For our rather intensive yellow jacket infestation this year, I have three of those pheromone traps set up. They have filled up three times this year! The chickens like the drop off when I drop the dead ones off. A similar trap is made of a box, with metal window screen wire and a cone of the wire pointing up for the middle of the bottom of the trap. It has a hole in the top of the cone sized to allow them to fly up into the box and for whatever reason the wasps, hornets, yellow jackets don't go back out the hole. The one I have was given to me by an old horse guy and he swore by it in his orchard. He'd just put cut bits of fruit and meat in there as bait and it would gather up quite a mess of them. The lid is hinged so you can dump out the dead ones. I never had much luck with it and I still have it, but the pheromone stuff does seem to gather them like magic.
You can find the pheromone ones at most hardware stores right alongside all the toxic gick for killing from afar, they are sort of a Mountain Dew colored translucent plastic. One caveat, be sure and thoroughly wash your hands if you get any of the pheromone juice on you or you will be quite a popular sort with all the stingy critters.
Mike - thanks for the suggestions! I do have a flame weeder but hate to use it personally and well we have of haymulch around with a burn ban on - extreme fire danger this year in Washington I'm sure you've heard!
..So I did go with your glass bowl idea, instead. three hives have been covered a few days and I'm seeing much less activity so I think it's working! A couple are in the mulch however and this won't work well for that so I'll get some other techniques.
Milo- cool man! I've got 10 lbs of DE lying around I'll give that a try as well!
bill- Man that is an awesome contraption you have - may build one someday for a longer term solution thanks for posting!!
A shop-vac with soapy water in the bottom works a treat. You can suck up all the flying bees and once the crowd has thinned considerably you can use the rigid end of the hose to suck up the whole paper nest. Dump it on the compost heap after you are done.
I've also seen videos of people setting up a vac at the entrance to a colony (eg in a house roof) and leaving it running for an hour or so. You will suck up 90% of the foragers in very little time. Repeat it once a week for a while and you can deplete the whole colony.
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.