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How to Remove a Wasp Nest

Like most people, I'm concerned with the practical needs of everyday life, and therefore research issues of health and livelihood.

Wasps can be very dangerous, so use caution when trying to remove their nests.

Wasps can be very dangerous, so use caution when trying to remove their nests.

I remember it well.

I was living alone back in 2007, in a little quiet apartment that had a nice patio. It was on that same patio that a wasp decided to start building a nest. I, being quite conscientious, was scared lifeless.

In this article, I will share:

  • How I managed to remove the wasp nest before it got too big.
  • What precautionary measures you should take before attempting removal.
  • What some of the best wasp nest removal methods are.

How I Got Rid of a Small Wasp Nest

A regular old bee will sting you once, lose its stinger, die, and won't sting you again. A wasp can sting you multiple times and might—and most likely will—attack you in a swarm formation. Quite the warriors, they are. They will protect their colony.

As it turned out, I caught the problem before it got too big. The nest was about the size of a golf ball. The queen was getting things set for her workers. But as far as I could tell, those workers hadn't arrived yet, and the queen was often off on errands.

I had to strike while the iron was hot. I got the broom. I opened the sliding glass door wide enough to get half my body on the patio: one foot in the apartment, the other on the patio, and the broom handle pointed at the wasp nest.

Jab, jab, jab. The nest dropped onto the patio floor. I jetted back into the apartment and closed the glass door just in case. I looked out. She was nowhere around. I got a small plastic bag, put the nest in it, and took it down to the dumpster.

End of story. She never returned to stay. She probably returned to not see her nest and left, I guess. All I know is that I was safe again.

A yellow jacket wasp, with its yellow and black body, long and skinny wings, legs, body, and antennae.

A yellow jacket wasp, with its yellow and black body, long and skinny wings, legs, body, and antennae.

What I Should Have Done

I think you're pretty safe if the nest is still small and Queeney ain't around. But if I was slightly smarter than I am, I probably would have been wearing goggles, a hoodie, and gloves.

That would be the smart advice: to wear protective clothing when dealing with wasps to avoid getting stung to death. Also, I could have sprayed the nest with soapy water, hair spray, or pesticide first. This could have stunned, killed, or debilitated any wasps that might have been chilling out at the crib.

However, those are mainly tactics for the big nests. The ones already populated with workers and larva.

How to Get Rid of a Big Wasp Nest

It should be stated that a sting from a wasp is incredibly painful and causes big-time swelling that can be fatal. If you're allergic, it can have seriously devastating effects. If you have strong doubts, call the exterminator. They have special equipment and pesticides and know what they're doing. However, there are also ways to get rid of the wasp nest yourself.

Try Spraying a Wasp Pesticide Onto the Nest at Night

You can purchase a decent wasp pesticide at a hardware store. The foam kind is excellent because it foams up in the nest and catches all of the wasps in its poisonous goop. It also usually can be shot out at a range of 6–8 feet, which is good for those nests up in high places. You shoot the solution into the hole of the nest, and it kills the wasps inside.

It's a good practice to shoot the pesticide into the nest in generous proportions and then get out of there quickly. The poison will do its job. You can return the next day and clear out any remnants of the nest so that the poison is gone from your environment. If there are remaining wasps, they won't be attracted to the area any longer.

Generally, it's a good idea to do this operation at night when the wasps are less active. It should be noted that they will be alerted by light. So if possible, don't shine light at the nest.

Hair Spray, Boric Acid, and Soapy Water Can Be Effective Alternatives

Other substances that can be used on wasps include hair spray, boric acid, and soapy water. Hairspray sticks to their wings and makes it hard for them to fly, soapy water seeps past their exoskeletons and kills them, and boric acid is poisonous to wasps.

Suck Them up With a Vacuum

The other method some people use is sucking up the culprits in a shop vac. This might be initially effective, but you run the risk of having wasps coming out after you when you eventually open the vacuum.

Exterminators sometimes use a vacuum. But when the wasps get sucked up into these vacuums, they end up in a soapy solution that quickly kills them.

Wear Protective Clothing and Don't Use a Ladder

Again, it is advisable that you wear protective clothing that covers the body, legs, feet, arms, hands, and neck. It is also generally a bad idea to use a ladder (though some people do), because if you start getting attacked by the wasps, you could take a bad fall.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Scottie Zimmerman on August 26, 2018:

I could never destroy a colony of wasps. I don't like yellow jackets, but the rest of the wasps I encounter are not aggressive. I've never been stung by a wasp--except for yellow jackets. Also stung by bees, but I wouldn't destroy a bee hive, not ever. Also, I hate the idea of spraying poison on anything! I appreciate your attempt to provide good instruction to people, but I don't agree with your actions at all.

Nathan Bernardo (author) from California, United States of America on March 21, 2014:

knowledge-seeker, I'm not fond of those little deadly creatures either. I'm glad you found this information helpful and I'm glad you stopped by. Peace be with you.

knowledge-seeker on March 21, 2014:

helpful information you provided through this post. i hate wasps and unluckily there are lot of wasp nests around the building i go to attend the classes. anyway thanks again for sharing the ideas. flourish!

Nathan Bernardo (author) from California, United States of America on March 07, 2014:

ESPeck1919 I know what you mean about when the wasps come back after you've knocked down their nest. They look a bit lost and depressed.

Yes, I thought the Cosplay pic would add a touch of humor.

I used to work with people with developmental disabilities and while I was out with my clients, one of them managed to get his lip/mouth stung by a bee while we were doing volunteer work at a plant nursery. Benedryl did the trick with him too.

Sounds like your husband did the right thing, kind of sounds like what I described in this article. I think one of the safest ways is to spray them with something deadly. A bit unfortunate, but better than getting stung by them.

Glad you stopped by, thanks for reading and commenting.

Emilie S Peck from Minneapolis, MN on March 07, 2014:

Hah! Points for the cosplay picture at the end. ;)

But yes, I hate wasps. One of the things stung me out of the blue when I was a kid, and swelled so impressively that my parents almost took me to the ER. Benadryl took care of it, but I still shudder whenever I see one of those critters. They're really the only insects that bother me.

A couple of years ago, my husband ended up getting rid of a small nest in an ornamental burner in our back yard by spraying it with something (boric acid, I think) and knocking it down when the wasps were away.

I almost felt bad for the bugs when they came back, though. They circled the burner, unable to figure out what happened, for about two days before going elsewhere.

Nathan Bernardo (author) from California, United States of America on March 06, 2014:

Hahaha! Exactly, Bill. Thanks for stopping by.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 06, 2014:

Sounds like an old do you remove a wasp nest....very carefully! LOL I've done it but I sure didn't enjoy it.