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How do I get rid of a wasp nest?

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One of the few bad things about spring and summer is that they bring some annoying seasonal hazards. Case in point: wasps.

On top of buzzing in your ears, wasps are very aggressive. Unlike bees, they have no qualms about stinging you, even unprovoked. They also don't lose their stinger after using it, so they can keep stinging.

For these reasons, noticing a wasp nest on your property is an issue you need to deal with quickly. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to remove a wasp nest without getting stung in the process.

Protect Yourself

If you're noticing a lot of wasps on your property, you'll need to locate the nest. Before that, though, it's essential to protect yourself.

See, other than being aggressive, wasps release pheromones when they sting. These pheromones alert other wasps in the area to the threat. If you're close to the nest, don't expect to stroll up unchallenged.

To prevent injuries, you should wear full protective gear. You don't need to buy an actual beekeeping suit, but you do need to cover up well. Wasps' stingers will easily go through lightweight clothing, so dress in layers.

For best results, wear clothes of tightly woven fabric and cover up as much skin as you can. Put on a long-sleeved shirt, thick jacket, long pants, gloves, shoes, and socks. Use a hat and bandana to cover your face. Keep in mind that pest control professionals only approach a wasp or hornet's nest in a full bee suit. 

 

Locate the Wasp Nest

Now that you're covered up, it's time to look for that wasp nest. Depending on its location, your wasp control methods can be very different.

The simplest way to find a nest is to observe the wasps' flying patterns. With luck, you should be able to identify the location they're coming from. You can also walk around the property and check for potential hiding spaces.

If you can identify the wasps you're up against (see below), research their nesting habits. Some wasps build nests in trees while others prefer man-made structures. Knowing your enemy will help narrow your search range.

Identify the Wasp Type

In the United States, you can expect to see one of four main types of wasps. Before proceeding, figure out which species you're dealing with.

Yellow Jackets

A yellow jacket is your classic black-and-yellow wasp. Adults grow to about ½ inch and build spherical nests that can reach the size of a basketball. They can nest on the ground, inside structures, or high in trees and shrubs.

Paper Wasps

At ¾ to 1 inch long, paper wasps are a bit larger than yellow jackets. Their bodies are either black or dark brown, with orange-tipped antennae. They get their names from the nests, which consist of paper-like materials.

The nests are small and have a bulbous shape. You may see them hanging from trees or shrubs, but they can also fit in eaves and porch ceilings. Paper wasps aren't as aggressive as other wasps and will only sting if threatened.

Mud Daubers

An adult mud dauber grows to be ½ to 1 inch long. They're black, with a metallic sheen and bright-colored markings. You'll also recognize them by their thin and slender-looking bodies.

Unlike other wasps on this list, mud daubers don't build nests with other wasps. Instead, they use mud to build smaller nests for themselves and their offspring. They tend not to attack humans, even to protect their nests.

Hornets

Hornets are larger than wasps, with some species growing up to two inches long. They tend to be black or brown with yellow markings. They build their hives by chewing wood and using the pulp to construct walls.

Hornets tend to build their nests, which can get quite large, in high places. They won't sting unless provoked but will swarm you when they are. As a result, hornet control can be very dangerous.

Choose Your Battle Plan

Once you know what to expect, you should start planning your attack. The two main DIY methods include boiling water and pesticide spray.

Pouring boiling water onto the nest will destroy it while killing many wasps right away. That said, destroying the nest may take a few bucketfuls. Therefore, it's best to stage your attacks several hours apart.

If you opt for this method, consider adding some liquid soap to the water. Soap will help bog down the wasps, making it harder for them to launch a counterattack. Again, you'll likely need more than one bucket.

The pesticide spray allows you to attack the nest from afar. These sprays work on contact and instantly kill the wasps with neurotoxins. They're particularly useful for nests that are in hard-to-reach places.

If you don't feel comfortable with either of these methods, it's best not to push your luck. Instead, hire a professional wasp exterminator to solve this problem for you.

Execute the Plan

If you want to get rid of the nest yourself, the first step is to time your attack. It's best to approach at night, when most wasps are in the nest.

At first glance, it may seem counter-productive to attack when the wasps are "home." The truth is, wasps are less of a threat inside the nest than flying around it. They also have slower reaction times at night.

While approaching the nest, try to be as stealthy as possible. Make sure to use an amber-colored light instead of a standard flashlight. Your goal is to kill as many wasps as possible in the first strike to weaken a counterattack.

Regardless of which pest control method you use, target the entrance of the nest first. If there's time, cover the entire thing. Your assault shouldn't take longer than 15 seconds, at which point you should escape.

To avoid bad surprises, plan your escape route before you start the attack. Locate a safe space that will protect you from the surviving wasps. Clear out any garden tools and lawn furniture in the way.

Professional Wasp Nest Removal

Though this guide will help you get rid of a wasp nest, DIY methods aren't always the best solution. If the nest is large, the wasps seem too aggressive, or you have an allergy to stings, it may be better to call an exterminator.

Are you in need of professional wasp control services? Viking Pest Control can help you solve all your wasp problems in a safe and sustainable way! Get a free estimate right here!

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