Oh, look… June! And there was something I was forgetting… ah, right: those thirty posts I write every year in June. That again. For the fifth year in a row I’m back to a month of daily blogging: each day a new post on a new topic, but on the same blog-per-day topic as last year, creating another set of Those 30 Posts in June. Today, that post just happens to be about something that I’ve:
Fixed… A Hostile Hymenopteran Habitation
Don’t get me wrong, I like insects. I’m all for biodiversity and preserving habitat for all the world’s critters.
I just don’t want too much of that habitat under my front step… especially when the critters are aggressive yellow jacket wasps.
At least, that’s where they tried to move in this spring. After successfully thwarting the first stages of a lovely hanging nest right above my front door about two weeks ago, I noted that a lovely but small collection of the invaders had burrowed a neat little hole at the edge of my sidewalk, through the dirt of the flower bed, and (presumably) under the safety of the concrete.
At first I just covered the hole with some rocks and dirt, hoping that this would cause enough of a disturbance to send them packing. But no… a few days later, a bigger, bolder hole appeared in the exact spot.
Now you need to understand that we had a bit of an invasion last fall. I never did find the nest, and I assume it was hidden in a neighbouring yard, but the back corner of our lot became home to a nearly uncontrolled swarm of wasps through most of September. I put out a trio of traps and caught about a hundred, and still it wasn’t exactly pleasant (or safe) to hang out in the rear of the yard. I did some spring prep this year, trimmed their favourite tree, hung up a couple of those fake wasp nest things, and bought a bug zapper to hang on the shed if the going gets rough.
But so far… all seems quiet on the northern front.
Except they were attempting to resettle in our front yard. My little bit of research told me that wasps and yellow jackets colonies tend to die out over the winter, sending out lone queens in the spring to establish new nests nearby. This seemed to be the case for our neighbourhood thanks to wherever that epic and successful colony established last year.
For round two I did a little more prep. I got about twenty litres of hot, soapy water. I got a couple more shovel-fuls of dirt, and I cut a bit of screening out, big enough to cover a two-square foot area of flower bed where they might possibly burrow. I waited until I saw a big juicy wasp fly in, screened over the hole, and then spent ten minutes gushing sudsy water down under my step (not great for the step, but desperate times call for.. well, you know.) Then, a couple centimeters of rocks and dirt over the whole screen, and a bit more water to pack it down. For extra measure, though I don’t know what effect it will have, I sprayed a whole bunch of mosquito repellant over the dirt there: might help, might not.. but whatever.
That was four days ago.
So far… no more wasp holes anywhere within at least ten feet.
Fingers crossed. Fixed? For now, I guess.