We have some yellow jackets in plants that we now want to move inside for the winter. Is there a safe way of treating the plants (sword ferns) that will also get rid of the yellow jackets? We live in upstate New York.
If you review our YELLOW JACKET CONTROL ARTICLE, you’ll learn this pest will have one main nest. That means it’s highly unlikely all your plants have different nests since yellow jackets won’t nest close to another colony. It’s entirely likely the yellow jackets have been foraging on plant excretions, sap, insects or other plant material of your sword ferns so their activity on several of your plants are making you believe there is more than one nest. Now if these are potted plants – and I think they are since you stated you want to bring them inside for the winter – it is likely at least one does and for obvious reasons, it would pose a major hazard if brought inside the home. Yellow jackets can sting repeatedly and pose a threat to people and pets. Fortunately there is an easy way to treat all of them before bringing them inside.
First, get some VEGETABLES PLUS or MULTI INSECT KILLER. The Vegetables Plus is the stronger of the two and is labeled for use on plants including fruits and vegetables. Multi Insect Killer is an organic option and it too can be used on any type of fruit or vegetable but it won’t provide the length of protection the Vegetables Plus will. While the plants are still outside the home, you’ll want to first spray all the foliage and then drench the soil of each till the point where you see water coming out the drain holes of the planter. This insures you’ve soaked them through and through. Allow the plants to sit outside for at least another day if not two. During this time the yellow jacket activity should first slow and then stop altogether. At this point you can bring the plants inside. This type of treatment would be good to do every year whether you have a yellow jacket nest or not because so there are so many other pests that could come inside the home with your ferns.
Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:
Yellow Jacket Control Article: http://www.bugspray.com/article/yellowjackets.html
Vegetables Plus Permethrin: http://www.bugspray.com/item/vegetables_plus_permethrin.html
Multi Insect Killer: http://www.non-toxic-pest-control.com/concentrates/multi-purpose-insect-killer-24-oz