Was outside digging up some ferns. Pull up one node and I see some tiny heads. Then a dozen more. Then they start shooting out like bullets. Yaaaay yellow jacket nest!
I had noticed there seemed to be an awful lot flying around our yard when we moved in, so I just figured there was a big nest high up in one of the trees. Not under a fern directly against the house! Anyway... There were lots. Like... Maybe a hundred or so in the air once I had dstrubed them. This put a snag in my gardening plans.
So I spent maybe two hours killing them with my old method back when I worked at the state parks. You get a pump sprayer and fill it with concentrated Simple Green and one tenth GoJo, or dish soap as a substitute. You identify the point of entry and soak it down. When they crawl out you target the individuals. When scouts return, you spray from directly above and it’ll knock them to the earth. Sprinkle in half a dozen necessary retreats, per gif:
The solution coats them and suffocates them within seconds. Then the best part: when the numbers die down, it’s time to start digging. You strike the earth and pry upwards. Keep the shovel erect (heh) and spray down into the fresh earth, all while stopping to attack any and all stragglers still airborne. I was very lucky: my first dig bisected the nest. The jackets left in the nest had no path to escape except where I had dug. They were greeted with a switft, soapy death.
It was bigger than a softball. I was expecting larger, but every cell had a big juicy larva in it. When doused, half of them attempted to flee, but died even faster than the jackets.
Yellow jackets are assholes, but they are not smart. I managed to not get stung once. If you ever inadvertently stepped on a nest as I have, you’re fucked. Otherwise, you can actually stand a foot away and kill every one of them with crap you find under the sink.