How to Get Rid of a Wasp Nest: Tips for Removing Hives Safely

By Clara Danneberg, Evan Williams

It’s an eerie sound, the buzz that fills the air when a wasp comes into your home. Unlike bees, which mean no harm and are essential to the environment, wasps can sting repeatedly and become aggressive. Here’s how to get rid of a wasp nest safely and effectively.

Be very careful when trying to remove or relocate a wasp hive as it can be dangerous.

Be very careful when trying to remove or relocate a wasp hive as it can be dangerous. © 123rf / Fotogigi85

Wasps can sting you as many times as they want. Their stings can hurt and in some extreme cases can cause anaphylaxis and even death.

Unlike bees, wasps can also get quite aggressive, as they usually don’t die when they sting you.

Wasps build nests, also known as hives, from a papery substance they make from dry wood. Like bees, these nests are then used to house the queen, her larvae and fully formed wasps. They can be big or small, and are often built in incredibly inconvenient places for us humans.

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While the nest is not dangerous to us, the insects that live inside can be. You’ll want to get rid of it and relocate it safely. In this guidewe will explore how to get rid of a wasp nest safely, and how to prevent it from being built.

Here’s the TLDR version:

  • Despite what many believe, wasps actually play an important role in the local ecosystem. Because of this, you should think carefully about whether it is really necessary to remove the hive.
  • It is best to have wasp nests professionally removed if you can afford it.
  • You just have to remove a completely empty wasp nest yourself.
  • To prevent wasp nests from being made in your home, make sure all potential nesting sites are sealed.
  • Installing a dummy wasp hive can prevent further wasp nests.
Wasps are nasty creatures, and their hives can be difficult to remove.

Wasps are nasty creatures, and their hives can be difficult to remove. © Unsplash / James Wainscott

Should you kill wasps or remove wasp nests?

Horse bees may be nasty little bugs, with a big sting and a lot of bitterness, but that doesn’t mean you have to kill them. Now, feel free to blow them away when they start bothering you, but there’s no need to kill them.

These little insects actually play a rather important role in the ecosystem and eat numerous pests. Additionally, wasps are actually eaten by various animals, especially birds, and because of this are sometimes considered a food source themselves.

Ultimately, though, if you are allergic to wasp bites, and they can pose a very real danger to your life. If it’s best not to kill them, it’s most important to keep yourself safe.

How to get rid of a wasp nest safely

If the wasp nest poses a danger to you or a member of your household, it must be removed. The problem, however, is that wasp nests are dangerous to relocate, as they are often home to thousands of wasps. If you start moving the thing, the wasps inside can immediately attack you.

There are a variety of different ways to get rid of wasp nests, some more effective than others. Our number one recommendation is to contact a professional.

Removal of wasp nests: Do it yourself

We do not recommend removing a wasp nest yourself. Although it is possible, private households generally do not have the necessary protective clothing and equipment to get the job done. Without this particular clothing, wasps will be able to get into your clothes and sting you. Considering how many wasps there may be, it can be extremely dangerous to your health.

However, you can remove a abandoned wasps yourself, or perhaps a nest that only has one wasp building it. This should only be done once it has been determined that there is no risk to your health or the health of a loved one. Make sure you have organized a clear escape route.

When you remove a wasp nest that is abandoned or has only one wasp, spray it with bug spray and walk away to make sure no wasps are going to attack you. Once the single wasp building it is dead or has flown away, or once you know there are no wasps inside, you can knock it down and dispose of it.

When is it safe to remove a wasp nest yourself?

If you insist on removing a small or seemingly abandoned wasp nest yourself, it is best to remove it at dawn or dusk in the fall or winter. This is when wasps are less active, and you can significantly reduce your risk of being attacked.

Removal of wasp nests: Fight wasps

You can fight active wasp nests with a variety of chemicals, but the best are specific foams or sprays designed to kill wasps. These insecticides and toxins can be placed in the openings of the nest to kill the wasps that live inside.

Alternatively, contact poisons can be used. It will be picked up by wasps flying around and then brought back to the nest. Here, the contact poison will spread to all the other wasps, including the queen, and the hive will slowly die.

Fumigation is not a good idea, nor is fire, as wasp nests are highly flammable.

Before you kill a population of wasps, you should consult a professional and get their opinion. If you can afford it, then this professional should be hired to remove it yourself.

How to remove a wasp nest: Relocating the wasps

Relocating wasps can be very expensive, but it is by far the most humane and environmentally friendly way to deal with them. However, this method can only really be performed by a professional in full protective clothing. If a wasp nest needs to be relocated, it is likely full of wasps and highly dangerous.

The relocation process involves sucking all the wasps into a special device, followed by the removal of the nest and it is placed in a trap box. After this is done, the wasps and the nest are transported to a natural location at least 3 miles away.

Removing a wasp nest: Can you pay to have it removed?

According to sources, you can expect to pay anywhere between $100 and $200 for a basic wasp nest removal. However, the price will vary based on a number of factors.

These factors include:

  • The size of the wasp nest
  • The accessibility of the wasp nest
  • The urgency of the appointment
  • The desired time for the appointment
  • The prices and availability of pest specialists in your area

For urgent cases, some pest control companies actually offer an emergency service. However, it usually costs more. Of course, you should get a full quote before agreeing to have a wasp nest professionally removed, so you understand what you are getting yourself into financially.

Although it may seem very expensive to have a wasp nest professionally removed, it is the best option as it is the one with the least health risk and often the least disruption to the wasps. Of course, if the nest is small and there are no wasps in it (or very few), then you can remove it yourself. If not, however, seek professional help.

How to prevent a wasp from forming a nest

Wasps can sting you if you're not careful.

Wasps can sting you if you’re not careful. © Unsplash / Dan Kb

From the beginning of spring, a wasp queen will start looking for an ideal place to place a wasp nest. She will then begin to build it, using small pieces of wood to form a cone-shaped nest that will slowly grow.

If you don’t want a wasp nest nearby, this is the best time to prevent them from forming, as you can deal with one wasp more easily and the queen will also be away from the nest often.

Here are some more effective ways to prevent wasp nests:

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  • Seal cracks, shutters, pipe openings and access to the attic in your home.
  • Remove piles of dirt and holes from moles or mice.
  • Treat your garden and roof with scents of garlic, citronella or tea tree oil.
  • Attach a wasp nest doll to likely areas where nests may form.

In the event that you see a queen starting to build her nest, you can easily destroy or remove it at the beginning. This is the most effective way to prevent an out-of-control infestation.

Don’t kill wasps, get rid of them safely

Killing wasps with chemicals can be quick and cheap, but it’s terrible for the environment and, unless it kills them immediately, it can enrage them to attack even more furiously. Instead, we recommend contacting a professional and having them move your wasp nests to a more convenient location.

Wasps are not inherently bad, even if they are a pain and can seriously hurt you if you are allergic. That said, it is not safe to have a wasp nest near your home, so it is fair enough to have it removed. Use a professional, especially if the hive is a large one!

Cover photo: 123rf / Fotogigi85

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