Sealing the fate of wasps

Garden Q&A

September 22, 1996

I'm noticing a large number of yellow jackets flying out from the top of my aluminum siding. Should I seal up their entrance hole? Can I use a household wasp and hornet killer against them?

Sealing the entrance hole will only force these unwelcome guests to make an exit hole elsewhere in your wall. Household wasp and hornet insecticides are fine for visible, outdoor nests but should not be sprayed into wall voids. You'll be introducing a wet, flammable substance with little chance of actually destroying the nest. The wasps that are killed will decompose, producing a foul odor and attracting additional pests.

If you want to eliminate a yellow jacket nest in a wall void, it is best to contact a licensed pest control company. The good news is that your yellow jackets are beginning to leave their nest at this time and will not attempt to reuse the same nest next year. So you can simply wait them out and seal the entrance hole in November. Caulk will do the job.

How should I dry my fresh herbs to use this winter?

Here are three ways to dry fresh herbs:

Natural drying. Hang bouquets of herbs upside down in a dry, warm, well-ventilated room out of direct light. Tie a paper bag over the plants to catch seeds and shattered leaves.

Oven drying. Place herbs on a cookie sheet in a 150-degree oven for two to three hours with the door cracked open.

Microwave drying. Place 1 cup of fresh herbs between two paper towels. Microwave for three minutes on high. Check every 30 seconds. Do not overcook!

Dried herbs should last about one year if stored in a tightly sealed glass jar. Keep them away from heat and light. And remember, dried herbs are generally twice as potent as fresh herbs.

I've got a lot of ivy and clover in my lawn that seems to be choking out the grass. What can I do?

Ground ivy, also known as creeping Charlie; clover; and other common weeds can be controlled at this time with a broadleaf, post-emergent herbicide (weed killer). These herbicides will not damage established turf. Follow all label directions carefully.

Garden tips are provided by the Home and Garden Information Center of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maryland. For additional information on these questions or if you have questions of your own, call the center's hot line at (800) 342-2507.


Remove and discard perennial flowers, ground covers and herbs infected with Southern blight, a fungal disease. Symptoms include wilting and dieback of foliage and blackening of the crown and lower stems. A white fuzzy growth may be observed around the base of the plants. Cut poison ivy vines back to the ground to weaken plants.

Their foliage can be sprayed with glyphosate or triclopyr. To eradicate the weed, continue to spray or cut back through the growing season.

Pub Date: 9/22/96

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