I was stung by yellow-jackets. Initially I thought they had been hiding in the thyme or strawberry bed because it was a cool day. However, yesterday, I checked, and watched hive-like activity there -- they've obviously got an underground nest they've built there. It must be relatively new, because we hadn't had any wasps all summer long. Anyway, they are flying back and forth with a purpose right there, in and out of the thyme on the slope (and it looks like freshly worked dirt under the thyme there).
Has anyone dealt with a wasp nest like this - not just close to the garden, but IN it? I would prefer not to use any toxic chemicals to get rid of them, but I can't just surrender my strawberry bed to them either (nor my thyme!). Tell me there's something I can do which doesn't involve poisoning them! Ugh.
OK, I found this Extension publication about yellow jackets and their nests. It's not 'organic,' but it does have some suggestions. Dh has had wasp traps up all summer but he's not replenishing the liquid very often (last summer he did but there have been so few wasps this summer) -- so it appears that our first approach should be to get the wasp traps filled and check them every couple days, and trap as many as we can that way as apparently the nest's size is really going to expand in the next few weeks.
And -- my open compost heap is not helping matters. So I guess it's time to bite the bullet and get myself an enclosed compost tumbler. Ugh. Didn't want to spend that money!!
If it were my garden I'd try to find a "green" exterminator and have it professionally destroyed. But even if the exterminator had to use toxic sprays, I'd have it removed by a pro and just plan to do some container gardening in that area for a few years until the soil recovered. Around here (N. Idaho), I'm told that wasp spray sells out completely in area stores by the end of August because the yellowjackets get so bad. We put up paper decoy wasp nests on the corners of the wraparound porch in hopes of deterring them, but I won't hesitate to call in the guys with the poison spray if that doesn't work. They are nasty little beasts.
My understanding is you have to take care of them ASAP, because they multiply fast and once a nest is big enough, it can be very hard to safely destroy. Just my $0.02.
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ETA: We just use the "organic" wasp traps with the sugar water to deal with our problem, although you may need something more surefire to keep them out of your strawberry patch.
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I've even sprayed this in my house when I am home alone and wasps are dive-bombing me in the house. It does leave a bit of a stain since it is made of oil but smells fantastic!
good luck! yellowjackets and wasps are the WORST!