"The Hornet Whisperer" (July 15) reminded me of my 2007 encounter with a yellowjacket colony.
The first exterminator couldn't find them. The second said the only option was putting poison dust on their entry hole and hoping the workers tracked in a lethal dose. With our vegetable garden downwind? Not.
Friends said wait until fall then seal the hole. But the critters were getting more aggressive, and we had a niece coming to visit.
I tried commercial and home-made traps but nothing worked until a "hornet whisperer" I met online suggested this: Get up before dawn (before they're active), duct-tape the nozzle of a shop-vacuum near the hole and run it for two hours at mid-day (when they're foraging). A week should suck in enough workers to starve the colony.
Through binoculars, I watched bugs being swept down the nozzle. But after a week of daily vac-attacks, their numbers seemed undiminished. Another look through the binoculars showed they'd found a second way in.
A friend came over with two bee suits and we patched up their new entry. After two more weeks, they were finally gone.
I sealed up their opening. Then the next day I watched newborn yellowjackets emerging from gaps in the garage wall.
I patched the gaps, went on vacation and returned two weeks later to find a couple dozen yellowjacket carcasses -- the last of a family of thousands -- in the garage.
Since then, I've used this non-toxic method several times successfully on smaller nests. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Jim Hight, Arcata