This is an “I should know better” short story. And another good reminder or warning for everyone.
I was performing a preventive spray treatment on a house and my wand failed. A spring inside the unit fell into the bushes in front of the house. I started sorting through the bushes and then down on the ground through the leaves that had already fallen so far this year. Then, “Argh!!” It got me. A yellow jaket, right on my knee cap, stung me good.
This time of year, nests that have formed in mulch beds will be sizable and not easily noticed. Entry holes can likely be covered by leaves from bushes and shrubs, as well as nearby trees. And the colder weather will slow down traffic to and from the nest. The traffic will still be visible, though. If you scan the area carefully, you’ll see a consistent pattern of wasps coming and going from one specific spot near the ground.
So, if you are planning any garden pruning or clean up, even around the perimeter of the foundation, it’s a very good idea to scan your work area well before you begin to rummage through the foliage. Lightly raking an area will remove cover that may be hiding an entry hole from your view. Just don’t press too hard on the rake and hold the rake at a maximum distance from your body. Rake one stroke and stand back and scan. Then again. If the rake stirs them up, they’ll begin to emerge from the nest to see what’s threatening the nest. By waiting between strokes, you have an opportunity to see them collect at the entry.
I’m grateful, since this customer was planning to work in that area of the garden this weekend. Luckily, I discovered the danger, and not he. I was able to treat the nest which will die over the next week or two and the he can do that much needed pruning.
If you find yourself in this sort of predicament and don’t feel comfortable taking it on, we can help. Call us at 603-424-7834 for a free consultation.