Getting rid of Wasps & Wasp Nest Treatment
There are three types of wasp problem that you will encounter.
1. An active wasp nest on your property.
2. Hibernating queen wasps waking too early.
3. Nuisance wasps (where the nest cannot be found).
We will cover all scenarios here.
1. You need to get rid of wasps and have an active wasp nest on your property.
If you need to get rid of wasps and have a wasp nest on your property the easiest and safest option is to have it treated by a professional wasp controller.
Wasps are naturally defensive of their nests and will sting anyone or anything (without provocation) just for walking near to the nest. So if you have a nest close to your home or in your garden you should have it treated to avoid the risk of being stung.
Wasp stings are not only painful but also carry a risk from infection.
Wasps are predators and spend a lot of time hunting for smaller insects which just happen to like living in nasty dirty places.
When wasps are hunting for these insects they tend to spend a lot of time walking about in these nasty areas and drag their stings through whatever dirt and infection happens to be there. As wasps age, bacteria migrates up the sting and lives in the venom sack, so not only are you receiving a painful dose of venom, but also a unhealthy dose of bacteria.
There are many products available from DIY stores and garden centres that claim to get rid of your wasps, and it is often tempting to try and save yourself a few pounds. Choosing to get rid of wasps yourself is not a decision that should be taken lightly and can be dangerous if not done properly.
We are often called after a customer has attempted to destroy the nest themselves but have been overwhelmed by wasps becoming defensive.
If you have an active wasp nest that needs treating, a wasp trap will not be enough to deal with the problem.
Please enter your postcode in the box provided at the top left of this page and you will be presented with the wasp controller that covers your area who will be able to help you get rid of wasps.
Alternatively you can select your county from the drop down list to see who is working in your area.
2. You have queen wasps in your house in winter
Due to changes in our climate, we are finding more people are contacting us in mild winters with large wasps (queens) getting indoors. This problem arises when the ambient temperature rises above 7°c for any significant amount of time. Queens which have woken up due to the increase in temperature can find their way indoors via holes and are also attracted by any light sources. Queens generally hibernate in loft spaces as the temperature remains stable and it is dark. To treat this type of problem most professional pest controllers have a fogging machine which uses a liquid insecticide and is sprayed into the loft area via the machine. The liquid is dispersed as a very fine mist and will treat the entire loft area.
3. You need to get rid of wasps but cannot find the nest.
If you are having problem wasps harass you but you cannot find the nest, don’t worry!
We can help you solve the immediate problem and also prevent it from happening in the future.
Wasp traps have been around for a long time, from simple lemonade bottles cut in half to shop bought purpose made wasp traps.
Most wasp traps look like they are doing a great job, lots of wasps buzzing around them and lots of wasps inside the traps!
When you look at these traps, have you noticed something strange about them?
Most of the wasps are alive?
Wasp feeding behaviour
The reason most wasp traps don't work is because they don't kill many of the wasps they attract and obviously do not kill the scout wasps or the traps wouldn't be heaving with swarm feeding wasps.
What are scout wasps... wasps swarm feed. Sounds complicated but it's very simple.
The wasp nest sends out scout wasps to look for food, when these scouts locate a food source, they go back to the nest to recruit other wasps to help with the feeding. Different colonies (nests) compete aggressively with each other for food and by recruiting help they increase the number of wasps that are able to feed on a food source and overwhelm any singular wasps from a another nest. Wasps will continue to feed on a source of food until it is depleted and then move onto the next source.
So with this in mind, let’s get back to the wasp traps.
Most wasp traps are low efficiency traps. In other words they don’t kill all of the wasps, in fact they kill very few.
You may see lots of dead wasps in the bottom of the traps each day, but compare that number with the amount of wasps that were feeding from the trap throughout the day. The percentage killed is very low. So, in essence by using these low efficiency wasp traps you are in fact feeding the wasps and encouraging them to the area where the trap is set.
Please make sure to recycle used plastic when you throw your old low efficiency wasps traps away.
Controlling the Wasp Problem.
As pest controllers, we do not always have to kill vast quantities of creatures to take control of a situation instead we can use behavioural patterns to our advantage.
If your neighbour had a wasp nest on their property and they refused to have it destroyed, to protect your own property and well being we need to get control over the wasp population from the problem nest. We cannot destroy the nest and we cannot kill all the wasps, but we can control where they feed.
Setting a normal wasp trap really isn’t going to be the answer as you will need to catch between 3000 – 6000 wasps, plus you will be attracting lots of wasps to your garden.
So! What are the options? High efficiency wasp traps.
High efficiency wasp traps catch every wasp that enters the trap. The wasps that get caught are the scout wasps that are out hunting for food. They never get a chance to report back to the nest and recruit help. Therefore your property does not have wasp traffic as no food source ever gets reported back to the nest from this area.
You do not have to spend unreasonable amounts of money on a wasp trap which is no more than a glorified fizzy drink bottle. It is very simple to make your traps from household waste products such as used detergent containers etc. They key when making your own wasp trap is to prevent any wasps which enter the trap from escaping.
Most of the recommended ways of making a simple wasp trap suggest cutting the top off of a fizzy drink bottle and then inverting the top into the lower half of the bottle. In essence making a funnel which guides the wasps into the trap. We have seen even better examples, where a tube a couple of hole drilled into it, then the tube is inserted through the side of a used detergent container. The wasps enter into the tube, then go through the drilled holes into the container. This will make it very hard for wasps to escape.
Adding a good quantity of sugar to the bait mixture will help lure wasps into the trap.
Due to lack of demand, we no longer supply wasp traps and always recommend where possible to have a nest treated by a professional.
How Wasp Nests are destroyed
The treatment of wasp nests is a fairly straightforward exercise for an experienced professional. However, the process should not be treated lightly. The moment you disrespect a wasp nest is the very moment that you get stung.
Full time pest controllers use “professional use insecticides” alongside specialist application equipment, they also have to undergo specialist training in the proper use and application of such chemicals. These insecticides are not available to the general public and certainly won’t be available in your local hardware store.
In most circumstances wasp nest control will be undertaken with an insecticide dust named “Ficam D”. This dust is pumped into the nest or the opening where the wasps are gaining entry to the nest, this could be a hole in wall or under a roof tile, even a hole in your lawn. As the wasps arrive back from their daily foraging duties, they walk through this dust, becoming contaminated and carry it into the nest. The dust takes some minutes to effect the individual wasps, this gives them time to contaminate the whole nest area before they expire. As more wasps arrive back at the nest, more dust will be taken into the nest and the effect of the insecticide becomes greater.
If the nest is visible, the insecticide dust can be pumped directly into the nest.
How long before a wasp nest dies after treatment?
When a nest is treated in this fashion, the majority of the wasps will die off within a couple of hours, individual wasps usually die within minutes of coming into contact with the dust. The whole nest will be dead by the end of the day when all of the wasps have returned to the nest. Occasionally one or two wasps will not make it back to the nest that day (maybe they were trapped in a house or shed overnight) but will return back in the morning, as soon as they enter the nest, they too will be affected by the dust.
Can a wasp nest be destroyed immediately?
In some circumstances a wasp nest treatment may need a different approach whereby the nest needs what is known as a “quick knock down” insecticide, these are usualy aerosol type foam applications which come in a can.
There are different types of foam applications available, but the ones used by pest controllers are for professional use only. Foam type applications react quicker than the dust type insecticides and are generally used when a nest needs to be removed straight away for safety reasons, in other words they kill the wasps immediately. However the foam type applications do have their drawbacks. The nest needs to be visible to apply the foam, and if the nest has to be removed straight away, any wasps that are out foraging will not be destroyed.
There are other types of applications available to pest controllers, such as smoke generators, but these are designed for special circumstances and again are for proffesional use only. Each type of application has its uses.
Take a look at our wasp nest removal page for further information.
DIY wasp nest removal
Should I treat a wasp nest myself?
Every year many wasp nests are built in homes and when discovered, home owners are left asking the question "Should I treat a wasp nest myself ?".
Many nests are treated by home owners and there are various products on the market aimed at DIY wasp control. However, most of these products come with little or no instructions and very often the successful treatment of a wasp or hornet nest depends on “experience” and having the right tools for the job. Pest controllers use professional wasp treatment products that are unavailable to the public.
Small grey nest in spring
In the spring when wasp nests first start off, there are only a handful of wasps at most present within the nest. These “starter nests” vary in size ranging from 1 inch to 3 inches in diameter, but they resemble a grey coloured golf ball.
Very often you can see old golf ball size nests in lofts hanging from the rafters, for one reason or another they never progressed into full sized nests.
Any nests much bigger than this are starting to get underway and can contain a good number of individuals. As the summer progresses and the nest grows in size, so do the numbers of individual wasps. By late July into early August the nests are going be at full strength and this is when it is potentially dangerous to interfere with a wasp nest.
Read about how a wasp nest develops over the summer
The defensive nature of the wasps combined with the sheer number of individual wasps within a nest is what makes them formidable. Every nest is different and the mood of the nest all depends on the queen wasp. Sometimes you can treat a nest and the wasps remain calm, yet another nest may attack before the treatment has even been carried out.
If you suffer with any allergies then you should be very careful to avoid being stung not only by wasps but by any stinging insect. However wasp stings and bee stings can be potentially life threatening.
Please read our page about Wasp Stings for further details.
When wasps attack
If you decide to try a DIY wasp control treatment: be aware that wasps are notorious for “following”. This means that if they decide to attack they can and do follow you, even if you run away, sustained attacks like this are one of the reasons why wasps can be potentially dangerous.
Particular thought should be given to nests that are in roof spaces, due to the lack of escape routes, if the wasps decide to attack have a predetermined escape route planned, simply jumping through the ceiling to escape angry wasps is not only risking injury, but is also costly to repair.
If a ladder is needed to reach a nest, be aware if the wasps start an attack, it takes some time to climb down a ladder.
The choice of whether to go down the DIY wasp control route is of course up to you, but keep in mind that when a nest is at full strength, it is a potentially dangerous entity.
Blocking wasp nest entrances
Do not block the entrance to wasp nest: they will find another way out (In some cases this could result in wasps chewing through plasterboard and ending up inside your house)
Do not use expanding foam to try and kill a wasp nest: it won’t work and you will just make matters worse.
Do not try and set fire to a wasp nest, blow it up with fireworks, dynamite or any other explosives.