How to Get Rid of Unwanted Wasp Nests

Discovering a wasp nest in or around your home is the last thing you want over summer. However, getting rid of it is relatively simple.

Wasps seldom get a good press, not least because their stings can be painful and in some extreme cases may induce an anaphylactic shock. Because of this the discovery of a wasp nest in and around your home is unwelcome and should be dealt with. This is particularly true towards the end of summer months when wasps tend to become more aggressive.

Wasp Nest
Image by Stephen-King

What’s Wrong with Wasps?

Unlike bees, who collect and distribute pollen, make honey and only can sting once, wasps’ slender smoother bodies are not ideal for pollination, they do not make honey and can sting more than once.

Whereas bees and wasps seek nectar from flowers, wasps have a wider range of appetite, which is why they are such persistent nuisances at your outdoor picnics, barbecues, and pub lunches.

On the other hand, wasps help the natural ecosystem since they lend a hand in your garden by feeding on insects and caterpillars and tucking into garden waste such as rotting fruit and vegetables.

No matter how tempting it may be to simply whisk the wasp nest off its position into a box, any attempts to dismantle a wasp nest on your own, without thick protective clothing may result in multiple stings and so naturally, is to be avoided.

When the wasp nest is threatened all wasps gather to protect their queen. During the summer months even coming close to the nest might spark an attack. Wasps only sting in self-defense. They send out a pheromone signal to other wasps that their nest is in danger and they will join in the attack.

Identifying a Nest

Wasp nests are fascinating to behold. Favourite locations include lofts, chimney breasts, sheds and hutches, in fact anywhere that is likely to be dry. You may spot wasp activity in your house by tracking two or three wasps making the same route each day in and out of open windows, nooks or crannies.

Wasp Nest
Image by fredrikwandem

Nests are usually started in the Spring by the queen, who creates a basic structure. She then lays around six eggs in hexagonal cones. Once the wasps reach adulthood they take over with the building project leaving the queen to lay more eggs.

The nests are typically grey and shaped like a small ball. The wasps chew on dead wood from around the area including fence panels, wood stored in sheds, or even garden furniture, which they convert into a paste, which they use to build their nest.

The temptation is to ignore the nest as it seems small and insignificant. However, be warned. During the summer months leading up to its peak in late July and August, the nest will have ballooned in shape and size and may contain between 200 to 10,000 wasps, although the number rarely reaches the higher end of that scale.

Destroying the Wasp Nest

Image by kloxklox_com

Although there are some wasp control products on the market (such as nest foams and powders) the best advice is to call in pest controllers to deal with the problem. In the UK this may set you back in the region of £50 (some charge more, some less).

It should be pointed out that in destroying the nest the pest controller also kills all the wasps associated with it. So, if your wasp nest is in a far part of your garden well away from the house you might feel that you can leave it alone and live with it until it becomes vacant during the winter.

Having located the entrance to the nest the pest controller, complete with their protective face masks, gloves, and outer clothing, will spray or pump a powdery insecticide into the nest opening.

The most common dust used in the UK is “Ficam D’. The fatal dust has a domino effect on the wasps who distribute it throughout the nest. Since the nest is under attack other wasps arrive back to try to protect the nest.

Within a couple of hours, most of the wasps in the nest will be dead and the whole nest will be dead by the end of the day. The flimsy structure can now be safely taken from its position and thrown away.

Getting Rid of Unwanted Wasp Nests