Nice place for a nest!

Wasps tend nest in truck's side mirror.
Photo credit: Ask an Expert

Yellow jackets have nested inside the side view mirror on my husband's truck. They crawl in and out behind the mirror and swarm all over the whole mirror frame. The truck is always parked in the driveway. How do we get rid of them?

- Washington County

Thank you for attaching the image to your inquiry. These are not yellowjackets but are, instead, a group of very feisty European paper wasps. This link illustrates the difference between these insects: “European Paper Wasp“

Notice the slightly different body shape and markings.The easiest differentiating characteristic is the color of the antenna, often called feelers. The antennae of these paper wasps are black at the base, golden-orange toward the tip whereas the antennae of yellowjackets are all black.

Frankly, wasps inside a vehicle's side mirror, doesn’t match the usual scenario for possible management. The usual suggestion is to avoid the nest area until late in the year when all the adults have died of natural causes, which might be possible for you. The other, which won’t help at all, is to use a long-distance spray designed to kill wasps while they’re in their nest.

If you can wait until December, remove the nest when the wasps are gone. But if you must use the truck before then, keep the window(s) closed on that side; and enter the truck, or load it, only from the opposite side of the truck.

Your best choice may be to hire a pest control company. If that’s what you do, review this information: Selecting a Pest Control Company: (Consider contacting the NPIC by phone first, as they may have some ideas for you. 1-800-858-7378; open Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 12 PM.

Jean R. Natter
Master Gardener Diagnostician
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