As the summer arrives, we all become more active outside, attending parties, picnics, or other outdoor activities with friends and family. Unfortunately, we aren’t the only ones that become more active in the summer months. Wasps love the fact that we are outside providing food sources and are more likely to take up residence near these food sources. But once these pests move in, how can you safely remove a wasp nest? While there are some methods you can choose to do yourself, you must remember that wasps can sting over and over again, making wasp removal a risky business often best left to the professionals.
- Wasps can become more active in summer and may build nests near food sources.
- There are four main types of wasps: paper wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and mud daubers.
- Paper wasps are less aggressive and can be beneficial; yellow jackets and hornets are aggressive and can sting repeatedly.
- Mud daubers are less threatening and may be beneficial for spider management.
- Wasp nest removal requires preparation, locating the nest, and identifying the best removal method, such as boiling water or soapy water.
Types of wasps
Before you think about how to eliminate a wasp nest, it is a good idea to identify which type of wasp is present. There are four main types of wasps: paper wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, and mud daubers.
Paper wasps are mostly brown in color with occasional yellow or red markings. They have a thin waist area and their antennae are tipped with an orange appearance. Their nests are made of a paper-like substance with a shape that resembles a lantern. The honeycomb structure within the nest is often visible from the outside. These nests are often built hanging from high tree branches, but they can also be found under eaves, in door frames, and under porch ceilings. Paper wasps can be beneficial in that they help control other pests. They are not as aggressive as other types of wasps and, unless their nest is in close proximity to your home or business, leaving it in place can be beneficial.
Yellow jackets are identified by their black and yellow striped pattern running the length of their body. They measure an average of ½ inch in length. When it comes to their nests, they are built from a paper-like substance and in a spherical shape that can be as large as a basketball. They tend to build nests in high tree branches and eaves or overhangs, but they can also build nests closer to the ground or even in the ground. These wasps are aggressive and will sting repeatedly in order to protect their nest.
The main distinction between hornets and yellow jackets is their size. While yellow jackets are an average of ½ inch in length, hornets can reach ¾ inch in length. Their colorings can vary from black and white to yellow and brown. Hornets tend to build their paper-like nests higher up in the tree branches, but they can also be found in attics, wall voids, and other areas around your home. When left to grow, these nests can exceed 24 inches in length and house thousands of aggressive stingers.
Unlike other wasps, mud daubers do not live in large colonies. The females of these slender, dark, and metallic-colored wasps build nests in roof eaves made from small, tubes of mud, typically only about an inch long. These wasps are the least threatening of all the wasps and actually do a great job of spider management, so they may prove beneficial to keep around.
Removing wasp nests
When the wasps seem out of control in your yard, wasp nest removal may be necessary. Once you have identified your wasp problem, there are some steps to consider when it comes to wasp nest removal.
If you are determined to take care of the wasp nest yourself, then preparation is essential. Unlike bees which die after stinging, making them less likely to sting, wasps can inflict hundreds of stings. And if you are taking on a next, you could have thousands of these wasps seeing you as a target. While this doesn’t mean you need to run out and buy a bee suit, it does mean you want to make sure every part of your body is covered in layers of tightly-woven material. Consider tucking your pants into your socks so no point of entry is available. This is the same with gloves and shirt sleeves. Cover your head with a hat, protective eyewear, and a bandana over your face.
Locating the nest
Once you are protected, the next step is to locate and evaluate the nest. While you may see an increase in wasps in your yard, finding the nest may take time. Walk around your yard looking up in trees, inside shrubs, along eaves, inside wall cavities or crawl spaces, and fence posts for potential nest locations. Once you find the nest, you can better identify what wasps you are battling, the size of the infestation, and which nest removal treatment is best.
Identifying the best way to remove the nest
When you identify the nest and the type of wasp you are dealing with, it is time to decide which method of removal will work best.
Applying boiling water to a nest will immediately kill most of the wasps as well as destroy the nest. This method will work best for nests close to the ground and easily accessible. If you decide on this option, it is best to attack the nest in the early evening when most of the wasps are in the nest and are less active. It may, however, require numerous attempts to fully destroy the nest and you are likely to anger many of these stinging wasps, increasing your risk of injury. In addition, you must be careful to avoid burns from the water.
If you want to take the boiling water method a little farther, add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the water before application. The soap works to bog down the surviving wasps, reducing the risk of potential attacks. Like the water method, you want to plan your attack for the early evening, and you may require multiple treatment attempts.
While water and soapy water are inexpensive solutions, they do not work for nests in higher locations, and they can put you at risk for stings. Spray pesticides for wasps can be found at your local stores and offer another alternative. These sprays deliver a combination of pyrethroid and pyrethrin that you deliver through a powerful spray that can often shoot over 25 feet, meaning you can keep your distance while still working to remove the nest.
Call the professionals
Whether you are allergic to stings, afraid of wasps, or simply don’t want to take the risk of wasp nest removal, residential pest control, and wasp extermination is an option that not only eliminates your current wasp infestation but will also help reduce your risk of future wasp problems.
Save yourself from the sting of wasp removal
At Insight Pest Management, we understand how wasps can ruin any outdoor plans and we also know just how quickly a small wasp nest can grow into a large problem. You don’t have to put yourself at risk with DIY wasp nest removal and our team is here to help. Not only will we remove the existing nest, but we will work with you to make your home and yard less attractive to these pests and reduce the risk of future infestations, keeping your backyard activities wasp-free. Request an appointment today and let our team take care of your wasp problem.