I am researching ways to eliminate difficult yellow jacket (wasp) ground nests without using dangerous chemicals. Does anyone know of a commercial machine that is made to inject large quantities of dust into the ground or other void? If not, any clever ideas if how to make one (maybe with a compressor)? I would like to experiment with the injection of nests with diatomaceous earth.

I need to do more research on how effectively the DE kills Yellow Jackets. What I do know from my own experiments is that they avoid contact with it in a big way. After filling the nest entrance with DE, they will spend a lot of time digging a new tunnel around the DE rather than clearing the existing hole of DE


1 Answer 1


DE will kill most soft-bodied insects by causing them to become dehydrated due to miscroscopic cuts incurred from contact with the razor-sharp ancient fossil dust. Wasps definitely will die from DE exposure and contact. These cuts drain their fluids and dessicate their bodies. I have used it succesfully with ants as well as grasshoppers. Each requires a different approach, however the common goal is to make the insect come into contact with the diatomaceous earth, to make them cross or move through it.

Your yellow jacket wasp ground nests can be easily filled, to a degree, with powder sprayers found on the internet and in certain garden stores. Search using "powder sprayer" or "pesticide duster" as keywords. They range from hand-pumped technology to electric-powered portable units. In some cases a water application is useful because it will cause the DE to stick to the nest. An example would be wasp nests on walls or under rooftop overhangs.

Wasps are definitely killed after contact with DE. They have vulnerable abdomens and like ants will dehydrate from repeated contact. I can't vouch for any approximate time necessary for this to be successful on a wasp nest basis, but deeper research on the Web should have some more definitive time approximations for total nest death. With underground ant red ant nests in Arizona I have personally had it work in a day or two.

  • I was going to recommend powder sprayers, but you beat me to it. +1. You don't need to fill up the next, just spray some in so the wasps have to walk on it.
    – Escoce
    Dec 3, 2015 at 19:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.