What to Do When You See a Wasp Nest

What to Do When You See a Wasp Nest

A wasp here or there isn’t going to pose a problem. On the other hand, a whole colony can be unsafe, especially if a member of your household is allergic or you have small children or pets. They are among the most common summer pests and can pose a problem from February to winter.


How to Deal With Wasp Nests

If you notice an abnormal number of wasps around your garden or home, they may be looking to set up a nest or have already done so. Let’s walk through some important steps to address any potential wasp or hornet nests.

1. Locate the Nesting Location

The very first step in dealing with wasps when you notice them around your home is to take the time to identify where they have located their nest

This may take time and observation if it is not easily visible, but watch where they begin to congregate in the evenings as they return home. Common locations are along walls with sheltered overhangs, under decks, or in exposed rafters. Wasps and hornets prefer sites that are higher up (unless they burrow into the ground) or give otherwise complete protection from the elements.

Safely finding the nest will give you the biggest clue as to the type of wasp you have around and help you start to plan on how to remove the nest. But don’t reach for the spray just yet. Going in unprepared can leave you hurting from one or several stings and have them back rebuilding the next day.

If you have looked everywhere and can’t locate a nest, we don’t recommend trying to capture one for identification. Stings can be pretty painful, and when threatened, they release pheromones signaling nearby colony members to swarm. If you are sure there is a nest you just can’t find or need peace of mind, contact a local pest control service to do a more thorough search.

And if you can’t find a nest, you may still have time to implement preventative measures to keep them from taking up residence. In this case, skip down to our tips to prevent future nesting.

2. Identify the Wasp Type

identify wasp type

There are thousands of wasp and hornet species worldwide. While you can generally categorize them into social and solitary types, messing with either without the proper preparation can leave you with a painful sting. While social wasps are more aggressive, any species will swarm or sting if they think there is a threat to their nest.

Common Wasp Nests in the Carolinas:

  • Paper Wasps: If the nest is made of a fibrous paper-like substance with visible open combs, you are dealing with a paper wasp. These wasps are less territorial than yellow jackets or bald-faced hornets, so keeping these pollinators might be a consideration if a nest doesn’t impede normal movement about the home.
  • Yellow Jackets: These nests are similar to paper wasps, except they are most commonly located in large voids or holes in walls or the ground. Yellow Jackets are notoriously aggressive and will sting even well away from the nest.
  • Bald-Faced Hornets: The largest of our wasp types, Bald-Faced Hornets locate their papery nests in aerial locations. Unlike Paper wasps and Yellow Jackets, these large nests structures are entirely enclosed save for a single entrance. They are aggressive but can help keep pest insect populations in check.
  • Mud Daubers: Aptly named, these wasps construct their nests of mud and clay. You will find these tubular structures on the sides of buildings, along cracks, and under overhangs. Mud daubers are the least aggressive of the wasps and prefer to feed on spiders.

Once you have identified the wasp type you are dealing with comes the decision on what to do about them. As we mentioned, some wasps, like paper and mud daubers, can be beneficial to keep in the local ecosystem and are generally not aggressive. But colony numbers grow over the warmer months, don’t expect a small nest to stay small.

So if a wasp nest is large or located near an area where you, pets, or other family members frequently move or disturb it, it is time to look at removing the nest. Wasp stings are excruciating, and when a swarm occurs, a bad day can turn potentially deadly very quickly.

3. Safely Remove Wasp Nest

Wasp nests can hold a deceptive number of insects inside. If the nest you have located is larger than a fist, we do not recommend attempting to remove it yourself. 

Improper removal can lead to physical harm and, if done incorrectly, will just lead to the wasps relocating nearby. The best course of action is always to call a professional extermination service.

If it is a small new nest and you are determined to take care of it yourself, here are a few tips to help the process go safely and smoothly.

  • Suit up by covering all exposed skin and wearing enclosed goggles.
  • Do any removal or spraying at night to ensure you get the entire colony
  • Once wasps are dead, promptly place the nest once removed into a sealed bag or container.

Never try to burn or flood wasps out of a nest, especially subterranean yellow jackets. It may take an application or two of a quick killer spray, so patience is vital. 

4. Prevent Future Nesting

Like all pests, wasps only move into areas where they can survive and thrive. The best way to keep them from setting up around your home is to ensure they don’t have easy access to necessities.

  • Seal cracks or holes that lead to structural cavities, and remove old stumps and woodpiles.
  • Keep trash and food remains tightly secured.
  • Limit standing water around the property.

While some wasps are pollinators that enjoy nectar, all have a core part of their diet as flies, spiders, and other pest insects. Taking the necessary steps to keep those populations down will deter the wasps that feed on them.

Rid-A-Bug Wasp Elimination Experts

With over 50 years of experience with pest control in the Carolinas, Rid-A-Bug is the pest control expert you can trust to handle any wasp infestation safely and effectively. Our experienced team can solve your wasp problem often in less than a day, ensuring you and your family are safe. 

If you have a wasp problem, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-682-5901 or contact us online for more information.