How to Get Rid of a Wasp’s Nest
Colonies of hornet wasps are at their peak in the late summer and their nests can contain as many as 700 members. But wasp nests are bigger and their inhabitants can reach 10,000.
So, it’s a good plan to keep any of those nests away from your home. You can’t completely prevent wasps from forming a nest, however, you can remove it in a safe and inexpensive way. Here’s how.
How to detect a wasp nest
The first problem you may encounter is wasp nest identification and more precisely, is it wasps you’re dealing with or are those bees. It’s important to distinguish between the species because the latter are protected by government law and their nests shouldn’t be destroyed.
Look for an over-abundance of the pesky insects. If you have a vegetable garden, you can be sure that’s the thing that drew them in.If you have lots of still water, you’ve just scored another point. It should be pretty simple to find the location of the nest if you stand still for a few minutes and study their flight path. Observe them long enough and you’ll be able to spot where they’re coming from.
Look around the roof. Maybe even around your neighbour’s roof. Look closely at the fascias and soffits to determine if they have started to deteriorate and rot. If damaged, they could open up gaps that the wasps can take advantage of and get into the loft.
Another favourite place for wasps is the area where cables enter the house, garden sheds, or garages. But be aware that a wasp nest can also appear in the ground. In this case, they would make a hole, which will be most likely covered by leaves and other debris they’ve found on the ground.
What to do if you have a wasp nest
When it comes to dealing with a wasp’s nest, you have two options:
- To hire a professional exterminator;
- To attempt to remove the nest yourself.
There are many DIY methods to remove nests, however, you should avoid dealing with wasps on your own if you are allergic to them (or if you don’t know your allergy status). These insects are awfully aggressive and will not wait for you to provoke them in order to attack you.
The best way to get rid of a wasp’s nest is to get a professional to do it. Not only is it the fastest way of doing things but also the surest, safest and most cost-efficient. It may look easy but the fact is, exterminators are trained and equipped to deal with nests quickly while ensuring the safety of everyone around. They remove wasp nests on a daily basis as part of their job and they do it with the help of professional grade products not available to the wide public. These products are more powerful than the ones you can buy from your local store and they ensure a quick death of the nest.
How to get rid of a wasp’s nest
If you feel brave and educated enough, you can try to get rid of the wasp nest yourself, even though this course of action is not recommended. Here we will explore the ways that work and some methods that shouldn’t be used to remove a wasp nest.
Buy a wasp-killing aerosol spray and target the bottom opening of the nest in accordance with the instructions on the can. Leave the spray to take effect overnight and observe whether there’s activity the next day. Repeat again until you’re certain the wasps are dead. Then, proceed to take down the nest with a long stick.
Make sure to dispose of the nest to prevent pets, children, and other animals from poisoning.
Dust formulations are far more effective for ground nests than pesticides are. Insecticidal dust will better penetrate to the core and eradicate the nest.
- Making sure you’re following the instructions on the package, apply a generous amount of the insecticide into the nest and vacate the area while it’s working;
- Check the next day and apply more of the powder if need be.
If you’re dealing with aerial nests located on tree branches or other exposed areas, you can light a fire directly below the nest for a few hours. This will either suffocate or force the wasps out. Once they’re gone, you can take down and dispose of the nest.
We do not recommend this method because it aggravates the wasps, making them more violent and willing to attack you. The added risk of spreading the fire is another con. However, if you’re careful enough, this is one of the cheapest ways of removing wasp nests from your house and yard.
This method includes direct contact with the nest, so make sure you’re well protected before approaching the wasps. Again, it is suitable for free-hanging aerial nests.
You need a good cloth bag with no holes, which you will use to wrap around the nest. Tie up the top tightly and take it off the tree. Then dump it in a bucket of soapy water and place something heavy on top. Leave it like that overnight to ensure that all wasps are dead.
Using brute force to get rid of a wasp’s nest is not safe, though there are many cases of such recommendations. This method puts you in close proximity to a lot of wasps which is enough to aggravate them even without trying to smack them dead.
Spraying the nest with a garden hose from afar is a quick solution to your wasp problem. All you have to do is spray the nest with the most jet-like water setting and since the nests are made of papery substance, they’ll get destroyed. The remaining wasps will fly away in terror, never to come back.
When is the best time to remove a wasp’s nest?
Queen wasps exit their hibernation state in early spring and start to form new colonies. This means that in late spring and early summer the nest is still small and focused on growth. If you want to remove the nest without harming the wasps, this is the best time to do so. If you postpone its removal, it will only get harder and more dangerous for you to do so.
Wasp nests are best removed at night time because wasps are less active, react slowly and are far less aggressive. Use a red coloured light to view the nest or wait until early morning to take advantage of the morning light.
*Do not remove nests if they are located on a difficult-to-reach spot.
*Do not remove nests if you are allergic to wasp’s venom.
*If you’re not allergic and it’s the end of summer, consider leaving the nest to perish naturally.
How to prepare to remove a wasp’s nest
- Wear protective clothing - make sure you have protective wear on if attempting to get rid of a wasp’s nest on your own and take extra measures when covering sensitive areas such as your face and neck - wasp stings are most painful on those areas.
- Have a back out plan - plan and prepare an escape route in case things don’t go as planned and the wasps attack you. Try to get inside your house, for example.
- Prepare a first aid kit for wasps stings - if a wasp still manages to sting you even after all your careful preparations, you’ll need to take care of the wound. For that purpose, you can use the contents of your first aid kit. However, make sure to observe the sting for at least 24 hours to ensure that you won’t suffer from an allergic reaction.
- Do not stand on a ladder - It’s not smart to attempt to remove wasp nests that are located out of your reach, especially using a ladder. If these ferocious insects attack you, you not only risk to become a more vulnerable target but also to get injured pretty badly. It’s best if you leave nests that you can’t reach to professional exterminators.
- Keep pets and children away - When removing a wasp’s nest, make sure that children and pets are absent from the area. You need to protect them not only from the aggravated wasps but also from the poisonous products, if you’re using any. Once the wasps are exterminated, dispose of the nest to prevent pets and other animals from ingesting the dead but toxic wasps.
- Avoid lighting the area - Do not use a regular flashlight when removing a wasp’s nest at night, it will only attract the aggravated wasps towards you. Instead, opt for a red coloured light or target the nest early in the morning, just before sunrise.
How to deter wasps
As we’ve been discussing, wasps are valuable pollinators and a natural enemy of many pest insects in the garden. It’s not fair to give them a hard time just because of their violent nature.
Destroying a wasp nest is one way of dealing with them but another, far better option, is to deter them from building a nest on or near your property. An additional upside of deterring wasps is that you can do it completely naturally, without the use of toxic chemicals. For this purpose...
Do an inspection of your house’s exterior and fix unsealed vents and cracks around the structure.
Wasps are not the only insect who will love to reside in the warmth of your home, close to food and water - other pesky bugs can also enter through the tiny openings and settle in for the winter. It’s best to seal cracks in early spring, before wasps have started to build their nests, or in late autumn, after the nests have died off.
Leftover food is the easiest target for hungry wasps (and for mice and other wildlife, for that matter). The scent of food attracts all living beings, including wasps, so make sure that bins are clean and rubbish is well sealed.
Of course, same goes for compost bins if you have any.
We all enjoy a fresh fruit and wasps are no exception. If you have fruit trees around your yard, make sure you harvest the fruit as soon as possible and don’t leave any fallen or rotting ones on the ground.
Keep pet food and bird feeders covered and clean to eliminate one more of the wasps’ food sources.
Wasps would never make their own colony in the territory of another colony, so this is a good way to trick them. You can purchase fake wasp nests from your local gardening shop and hang a couple of them around your house and yard. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you can easily make your own although they will not last as much as the commercial ones.
Although not all, some wasp species will make their nests around old vacated ones in the following spring. Make sure you knock down empty wasp nests to prevent that.
You can capture the straying wasps by making (or buying) a trap. It’s easy to make and won’t take you more than five minutes.
Bait the trap with meat to avoid trapping bees and other harmless insects. It’s best if you make a few of them and place them in a perimeter around where your family is spending time outdoors.
Use essential oils to deter wasps.
A study found out that essential oils such as peppermint, sage, rosemary, clove, lemongrass and others are effective to keep wasps away, even in the presence of food. You can either get some plants or dab the oil around door frames and windows.
This is a completely natural way of deterring wasps, however, the essential oils are harmful to bees, so keep that in mind when applying the oil.