Friday, July 1, 2011

Tis a yoga patio no more, thanks to a nest of pesky yellow jackets.

I worked very hard last year and through winter and spring making my yoga patio just right.  It was so relaxing and peaceful to sit out there in the mornings and evenings.  By mid-spring we had already had more fires in our little fire pit and more cookouts than we'd had all of the previous summer on the yoga patio.  I waited for the weather to warm up enough to do yoga in the mornings on the patio without having to wear bulky clothing to stay warm.  I made sure the copper wind chime I'd made was hanging in just the right place to catch a breeze, but not be blown off its hook by the gusty easterly winds that blow through my yoga patio when a severe storm is threatening.  I worked copper and stained glass into sun catchers while the weather was still too cold to sit on the patio without a jacket.  The fountain that sits in the corner which had stopped working had been repaired and waited for the morning yoga ritual I'd tried to keep last summer. Birds would come and flutter through, their numbers increasing as the weather warmed. It was all fine and dandy until I realized that yellow jackets had taken up residence in the outlet in the wall of the yoga patio.

I was willing to use toxins to remove the nest if I could get to it, but couldn't figure out a way to do that without getting electrocuted or blowing up the house.  It's a tiny crack in the side of the outlet cover that they found to lay eggs in.  I am still at a loss as to what to do about this nest.  I went out two nights when I was sure they were all in the nest and covered the entire outlet and surrounding siding with contact paper, taping the edges down very well with duct tape.  I figured that eventually they would suffocate or starve.  Well, I knew it wasn't the best idea, and of course it hasn't worked.  They were able to find their way up through a maze of gaps under the contact paper and out to a tiny hole near the window above.

Yellow jackets are very aggressive wasps.  They can sting over and over again, unlike honey bees, and can kill a person.  I have never been stung, but I've heard from family members who have that a yellow jacket sting feels like getting hit with a baseball bat, so the yoga patio is out of commission right now until I can find a way to eliminate this nest.  My poor boys are so tired of me stopping them from going outside through the back door that is closest to the nest.  They always forget.  They are tired of me telling them that we cannot have a patio fire because of the yellow jackets and I am disappointed every morning when I see through the window that the thermometer on the yoga patio reads just under 60 degrees, perfect outdoor yoga weather in my book. 

So for now, I reach, reach, reach in the living room trying to keep my fingertips from getting lopped off by the spinning blades of the low-hanging ceiling fan, longing for the day when the patio will again be mine.

Here is a great article with a natural way to destroy a yellow jacket nest in the ground.  Unfortunately it won't help in my case, but others may find it useful.

An Effective Non-Toxic Solution For Getting Rid of Yellow Jackets' Nests by Miriam Landman

UPDATE:  I think I did it!!  Patched that hole up well.  Saw a few returning to the nest.  I was so excited to see that they couldn't find a way in.  We had no activity after that and were able to use the patio for sparklers and smoke bombs on the 4th of July.  So nice to have the patio back!!  Just crossing my fingers that they aren't all in there planning a counter-attack of some sort.  Keeping my fingers crossed...

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