Yellow Jackets won't stay dead


Old 10-10-18, 10:59 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: USA
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Question Yellow Jackets won't stay dead

My home has a 4' crawl space between stories. It communicates with only two of the downstairs rooms (and none upstairs). About ten days ago, I started to notice dead bees on the floor of the lighted room between the two utility rooms. Since I had treated the thresholds with long-acting insecticide, I figured they were coming from the crawl space and following the light into my home. I started to see a few living bees in other rooms on the windows. I called a local professional with a good reputation and asked if they could send a small, spry guy who wasn't afraid of bees. They sent a guy about 6' - 200 lb - and obviously not comfortable around anything that wiggled. He spotted an active yellow jacket hive entrance on the exterior that obviously led to the crawl space. He hit it with spray, fog, and powder. There was a lot of activity around that area for several days, then none for several days. Lately, I have seen a few adult bees making their way out through the hole and dropping to the ground. I haven't seen any traffic into the hole, nor any bees fly out. My work-room, however, has been a disaster area the past week. I started leaving the lights on most of the time and I usually find one or a few bees in there. Some are flying near the lights, others writhing on the floor. I usually fog the room when I see them, and I've cleaned up about a hundred incapacitated bees from the floor. I occasionally find them elsewhere in the house, but that has considerably diminished.

We're going to have a cold snap tomorrow evening, so I need to get my orchid bench set up in that room, and I wish I didn't have to worry about critters because the orchids require too much attention as it is. Does it seem reasonable to you that this nest is effectively dead and I'm just dealing with bees that ran away from the nest when it was sprayed? Could the nest still be producing young bees or being used as a food source? These critters don't seem much smaller now than they were a week ago. It would be nice if I could seal off the work-room from the crawl space but that would involve a lot of ladder work that I'm not comfortable with any more. Should I call the exterminator again? Other thoughts?
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Old 10-10-18, 03:21 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: pennsylvania, USA
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It sounds like it was a large nest, which makes sense this late in the season. I suspect that the treatment did affect at least a portion of the nest which explains the dead bees and the slowly dying bees. Did he or anyone look inside the crawl space to better assess the size and specific location of the nest? It could be several feet inside the crawl which could also explain why the nest didn't get a direct hit. I never liked just treating an opening in a wall or ceiling without seeing the nest itself. I would want to remove the nest if feasible.

Since the nest received treatment at least to some extent, the survivors are now repelled and are seeing the light or sensing the warmth from your interior. They may or may not die off soon. No way to tell for sure.

In the room most affected, I wonder if they got into the wall and chewed through the dry wall somewhere. If they did, it will be small and hard to see, sometimes like a flap that still lays over the hole, blending it in well. With bright lights, take a slow look at all the walls in that room. Are there any pipes/conduits that may penetrate through the floor to the crawl space? If so, sometimes those holes are a bigger opening than the pipe that penetrates.

I wouldn't wait more than another day or so before calling. The nest, if properly treated, should be inactive by now, in fact.

When bees emerge from the pupal stage, they are full grown, as are all flying insects. Some may be smaller/larger than others because of their social order but they are all adults. Hope this helps. Keep us posted.
Old 10-11-18, 10:52 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: USA
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Thanks for the input. The big guy they sent me was totally reluctant to actually go into the crawl space, which is the only way you could see the nest, since it's around the corner from the only access. No mystery how they get into the house: there's a section of wall missing about four feet high and ten feet long where they're blocked only by some untidy insulation batts. Eventually, I need better closure there, but this is the first time in a decade I've had much problem with insects from the crawl space.

I've kept lights on and pyrethrins spray in the air of my work room most of yesterday and today. There's also a fresh No-Pest Strip hanging. The volume of dead bees on the floor keeps decreasing. I'm glad I'm not allergic! The orchids have to come in today, right after I get my flu shot. Wish me luck! :-)

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