Wasps are a dangerous stinging insect that you don’t want near you or your family. While the Fantastic Services team does not recommend for anyone without professional wasp extermination experience to try this, there are a few safe things a homeowner can do. So here, we’re going to explain how to get rid of a wasp nest without getting stung by these aggressive insects.

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What types of wasps are there?

There are over 9000 wasp species in the UK alone, but only nine of them build nests. The rest are solitary insects that don’t bother humans. You will most likely have a problem with the following:

  • Paper wasps. Paper wasps have striped bodies. They build exposed nests in the shape of an upside-down umbrella. You will see them making the end of an open pipe their home. They aren’t aggressive and will only attack when threatened. However, their sting is painful and dangerous, especially if you’re allergic.
  • Yellowjackets. Yellow jackets can be distinguished from paper wasps by the thick black antennae. Their nests are covered and usually built in enclosed spaces like wall voids or cavities in the ground. They are aggressive and tend to sting multiple times, often attacking in swarms.
  • Hornets. Hornets in the UK are brown with orange stripes. They build paper nests, which are often found in tree trunks and wall cavities. Sometimes, they hang from a branch or are attached to a corner of a building. Unlike the yellow jackets, the hornets, found in the UK, aren’t aggressive, unless threatened. Their sting can be very dangerous. They also tend to hunt other smaller insects.

What attracts wasps?

We all know that flowers, fruits and sweet food attract all stinging insects, from bees to wasps and any other pollinating beetle out there. For example, if you have fruit trees in your yard and many of them end up falling on the ground, this will definitely attract wasps of any kind and any other little creatures, for that matter. A flower garden has the same effect, as well as a body of still water, such as a pool or a bird bath.

However, wasps have no problem travelling a long way from their nest to the food and water source. In order for them to choose your property or a place that is close to your property, the stingers have to find it secure enough to make a convenient shelter for the colony.

Wasps aren’t that picky with their shelter. All they need is a sturdy horizontal surface to build and hang the nest from. With this said, they will most likely make a nest under your property’s eaves, porch ceilings and overhangs. The insects often make use of concave corners, as well so they can be protected from three sides.

How dangerous are wasps?

Wasps usually mind their own business, but depending on the species, they can get aggressively territorial by various factors. Sometimes, it’s enough to just being near them. Unlike bees, they’re able to sting multiple times. Even if you’re not allergic to a wasp sting, you may be in mortal danger if they attack in a swarm. And if you are allergic, a single sting may put your life in danger.

If you find a wasp nest on your property, don’t risk removing it on your own, even if you know you’re not allergic. Allergy to stinging insects can be acquired, even if you’ve never had an allergic reaction before. Instead, contact your local council and check if they offer pest control assistance in your area. If yes, pest control technician will be sent to remove the nest for you. If this isn’t an option, contact professional wasp exterminators as soon as possible.

How to get rid of a wasp nest without getting stung

If you have professional experience with disposing of active wasp nests, you may use one or more of the following methods. If not, the Fantastic Services team recommends that you leave this job to the professionals.

  1. With pesticide spray. You can purchase a wasp killing pesticide from your local supermarket. Follow the instructions on the can. The most common practice is to spray the pesticide in the opening of the nest for about 20 seconds. That is all. If the nest is active on the next day, repeat the process. Once all wasps are dead, you can knock down the nest.
  2. With insecticidal dust. If you’re dealing with a ground nest, insecticidal dust can prove useful. Just apply the dust on the nest liberally and then, vacate the area. Give it up to two days to work. If the nest is still active, repeat the process.
  3. With smoke. If you have a nest on a tree branch or somewhere away from your house, you can also try lighting a fire under it. The smoke will rise and suffocate the wasps, forcing them to leave it. Once they’re gone, you can knock down the nest.
  4. By dunking the nest in water. This one is effective but dangerous, and it’s only useful for aerial nests. First, place a bucket of water under the wasp nest. Then, carefully put the entire nest into a cloth bag. Make sure the bag has no holes or tears. Then, tightly secure the top of the bag with a firm string. Now, you can safely cut the nest from the branch and then, dunk it in the bucket. Place something heavy on top of the bucket and leave it overnight. The wasps should be dead by morning.

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If you attempt any of the wasp extermination methods above:

  • Wear protective clothing . It’s advisable to use a protective beekeeping suit when working with the nest. This way, you will be protected from stings.
  • Never use a ladder. If you’re dealing with a nest on a high place, don’t use a ladder to reach it. The wasps will lunge at you when you disturb the nest and you may fall.
  • Work at night. Wasps are least active and less aggressive at night. Instead of a bright flashlight, use a red or amber coloured light to see what you’re doing.
  • Plan an escape route. Before setting the plan in motion, figure out a quick way to cover yourself in case something doesn’t work out.

How to treat a wasp sting

If you or your family member gets stung by a wasp, while waiting for the professionals to come, it’s important to know how to treat the sting.

If you know that you or your family member is allergic to the venom of the wasp sting, immediately visit the closest hospital!

Otherwise, it’s enough to wash the stung area with water and soap. You can also apply an ice pack on the wound to reduce swelling and pain. You can also use a cream or lotion that reduce itching. If you wish, you can discuss with your local pharmacist whether it would be good for you to use antihistamine drugs that don’t require a doctor’s prescription.

Related: How to Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen

How to keep wasps away

As mentioned above, we don’t recommend that you attempt to get rid of a wasp nest. Still, once the problem has been dealt with, you can do something to prevent another nest popping up on your house again. After all, prevention is the best medicine.

  1. Seal entry points. Wasps are tiny, so they can easily get through cracks and dents in the outside structure of your home. And before you know it, they’ll start making a nest. To prevent this, inspect your house and seal any entry points that might be used by various insects for shelter.
  2. Take care of rubbish bins. The outer rubbish bins can easily attract wasps, especially if they contain food waste. So, it’s important to keep the bin tightly closed. Also, it’s important to thoroughly wash the container now and again.
  3. Harvest ripe fruit. Fruit trees are magnets not only to wasps but also bees and many other flying insects, so think twice before planting one. If you already have one, make it a habit of regularly harvesting the ripe fruit and pick up fallen ones off the ground.
  4. Place wasp traps. You can easily make wasp traps yourself by cutting off the top of a plastic bottle. Seal it off, except for a small opening for the wasp to enter. For bait use sugar water or a piece of cooked meat. Once the wasp enters, it won’t be able to figure out its way back out. Hang a few of these around your house.
  5. Hang fake nests. Social wasps are very territorial. They would never make a nest close to another colony. So, if you hang a fake one, they’ll leave you alone. Fake wasp nests are sold mostly in gardening stores. You can also build your own wasp nest by using brown paper.

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Wasps are not only a nuisance, but can also be dangerous for the health if anyone in your family is allergic to their venom. So, if you find a wasp nest dangerously close to your place, get in touch with professionals immediately.

Image source: SKatzenberger/shutterstock.com

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Any stories, personal experiences and tips would be much appreciated in the comments below. Thank you!

  • Last update: June 21, 2019

Posted in Insect Infestations

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