How To Get Rid of Wasp Nest Safely Indoors and Out: Wasp Removal Guide

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Pest Control | April 1, 2024

Person with stick wonders how to get rid of wasp nest and wishes for a guide to removing wasp nests indoors or outside that explains wasp removal methods and when to call bee extermination service for wasps

Do you know how to get rid of wasp nest? If you’re dealing with a wasp nest near your home or you have family members who are allergic to bee stings, it’s a serious problem.

Wasps (Aculeata) are insects,1 they’re parasitic, and most varieties that act as pests can sting multiple times. Hornets and yellow jackets are each different wasp varieties, hornets tend to be bigger.2

Determining how to get rid of wasp nests safely is often a challenge.

Outdoor nests tend to be easier to deal with, as the insects aren’t trapped in an indoor space with their aggressors readily available, wasps may be able to recognize specific people.3

This guide explores a number of ways to deal with common wasp nests, specifically those of the “Hornet” or “Yellow Jacket” (Vespidae) variety.4

Additionally, solutions for garden-variety dirt daubers and other dangerous pests are included, as well as what would necessitate you seeking professional bee removal services.

Wasps, Hornets, Yellow Jackets, Dirt Daubers

(Aculeata - Specific Variety: Vespidae)

Wasp in a green oval frame on a green background.
  • Description: Winged Hive Insects That Are Parasitic in Nature and Sting
  • Natural Habitat: Everywhere But Antarctica
  • Locations: Throughout North America

Image Credit: Ralph (Ralphs_Fotos)30

How To Get Rid of Wasp Nest: Best Practices in Wasp Nest Removal

There are some things that you should know before attempting to get rid a wasps nests, and each of these are explained in detail below.

  1. Know whether you’re allergic
  2. Properly protect yourself
  3. Evaluate your situation to avoid unnecessary danger
  4. Assure kids and pests are clear of the area
  5. Approach nest disposal in evening or early morning
  6. Remove nests as early in the year as you can
  7. Know how you’re going to retreat if something goes awry

Know Whether You’re Allergic

Know whether you’re allergic. If you have allergies, and are susceptible to anaphylactic shock from a sting, forego DIY removal and trust the pros.5

Graphic detailing best practices for wasp nest removal, including tips like checking for allergies, wearing protection, assessing dangers, ensuring the safety of children and pets, removing nests during specific times, and having a backup plan.

Most people will have some reaction to a wasp sting; that includes hives, swelling, and even nausea. If stings produce severe abdominal cramps, headache, vomiting, shock, dizziness, unconsciousness, or difficulty breathing, that’s cause for concern and may require immediate medical attention.

If you’re unsure, as you’ve never been stung, it is possible to get tested.6

Properly Protect Yourself

Second, even if there’s no risk of an allergic reaction, cover your skin totally with protective clothing. Wasps seem to have an astonishing ability to find areas of your body that aren’t properly covered.7

If you have a full beekeeper’s outfit, that’s best. If not, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts under normal pants and normal shirts.

Put on multiple pairs of socks and assure your gloves come under your dual-layered shirts.

Completely cover your face and wear goggles that seal against the skin; ski shades can be ideal if you don’t have a beekeeper’s outfit.

Try them out in advance to see if they fog easily. There are websites that have some tips in that regard.8

Assure that the layers of clothing you wear are thicker than the length of the stingers of wasps you’re eradicating.

Said stingers tend to be about 2.5 millimeters long; about a tenth of an inch.9 That’s slightly thicker than the lead in a No. 2 pencil.

If you’re dealing with an infestation of Giant Hornets, you’re really going to need to suit up; their stingers are almost 3 times as long at 6 millimeters, or about a quarter of an inch.10 Conventional beekeeper suits may not be enough; you might have to wear multiple jackets or coats.

Evaluate Your Situation To Avoid Unnecessary Danger

If the only way you can reach a nest is with a ladder, don’t try it. It’s hard not to flinch when stung.

One sting at the wrong time and you’ll lose your balance. You may land without injury, or break your neck.11

A wasp nest attached to the corner of a wooden structure with a few wasps hovering around it.

(Image: planet_fox29)

Don’t use ladders when hunting wasps. Use poles, brooms, or other items that allow you to disrupt their nest without being nearby.

If you can’t reach the nest except by either crawling onto the roof or setting up a ladder, that’s a sign you need to work with professional pest control.

Assure Kids and Pests Are Clear of the Area Near Hornets Nest

You don’t need children distracting you, or incidentally getting hurt. The same is true of pets.

As you prepare your assault on the insect invaders, be sure children and pets are safe inside the house, or wherever is best.

Approach Nest Disposal in Evening or Early Morning

The majority of wasps are active during the day,12 so catch the pests when they’re not ready for it. Conduct wasp removal activities at dawn or dusk, right before sunup or sundown.

The exact hour that is best will differ based on your region. You may need to get up at 4:30 in the morning if you’re somewhere like Wyoming, and you may not get a chance during a July evening until 9:30 PM.

Carefully approach the nest with all your gear on. If you’re using a wasp bomb (this disposal option will be explored further on in this guide), place it optimally, keep your distance, and wait as long as the instructions on the device advise.

If you’re using spray, start from a distance and gradually get nearer, thoroughly saturating the nest until there are few to no drones around. If you do this early in the morning, most or all of the wasps should be in their nest, and it’s just a matter of waiting after you soak the structure.

Once you’re finished, remove the nest and the dead insects, dispose of them, and thoroughly clean the area so no scent invites future infestations later in the season, or in the following year.

Remove Nests as Early in the Year as You Can

Ideally, remove nests as early in the year as you can, which means in the spring months.

As hives mature, nests continue to grow; right until the end of summer, when waning floral bloom reduces their food supply, and their natural activities transition to protecting the queen ahead of winter. By that time, there could be thousands of drones in a hive.

Early on, there are only a few dozen.

Know How You’re Going To Retreat if Something Goes Awry

So you’re brave, and planning for a DIY assault on the hornet invaders. You’ve protected yourself, there are no ladders necessary, kids and pets are inside, and you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of a wasp nest without getting stung.

What should happen if, despite your best efforts, they swarm you anyway? You need a retreat vector; an eject button.

Know how you’re going to retreat if something goes awry. Knowing you have an exit can help you avoid panic.

Garden Remedies for a Paper Wasp Nest and “Dirt Daubers”

Paper wasps can digest fruits, but they also like flowers, and a lot more.

Fortunately , there are a number of garden remedies for a Paper wasp nest.

Close-up of paper wasps tending to their nest with hexagonal chambers.

(Image: Sonel29)

Technically, Hornets and Yellowjackets are not Paper wasps, though they make nests out of a papery substance, and are often grouped with Paper wasps.13

This section also focuses on other wasp varieties that end up in your garden; like “Ground” wasps, or “Dirt daubers.”14

Paper Wasp or Dirt Dauber: How To Get Rid of Wasp Nest in Your Garden

There are a few schools of thought on how to get rid of a paper wasp nest or a dirt dauber nest in your garden. Here are the primary steps to consider:

  • How big is the infestation?
  • Is the nest somewhere you can reach it without endangering yourself?
  • Do you have the tools for the job?

A large enough infestation of Paper wasps or Dirt daubers in your garden could prevent you from caring for your plants. While wasps do pollinate, and they’re excellent at stopping pests like caterpillars,15 they can also be a nuisance to friends, family, and pets.

A large infestation will likely continue to grow based on the season, so this could determine your action.

Dirt daubers will usually have nests somewhere on the ground, so getting rid of them shouldn’t be too dangerous.

Paper wasps tend to have nests that are higher up. Tools for the job will vary; for most situations a long pole protective gear is to be recommended.

You can also use wasp repellent if you like.

Dirt daubers are relatively non aggressive and will probably leave you alone. As with other varieties, go after them in the morning or evening.

They’re very easy to get rid of in a non-toxic way, just pour boiling water in the nest.16 You can also mix 2 cups of apple cider vinegar with several cups of sugar and a cup of water to make a syrupy lure that will kill wasps in a non-toxic way.17

You can place a bowl of this compound near the nest, or just dump it down the hole. It’s probably better to have the bowl near the nest first, wait till many of the workers have succumbed, then pour the remainder in the nest while wearing protective gear.

Once done, remove and clean the nest thoroughly to prevent infestation in future seasons.

Also, to establish your work over the long-term, it can be helpful for you to plant flora that wasps don’t like. Here are 10 plants wasps are not fond of:18

Killing Wasps With Wasp Repellent, or a Wasp Bomb

Killing wasps with wasp repellent,19 or a wasp bomb,20 has its advantages and drawbacks.

Wasp bombs can work indoors or outdoors. They tend to work better indoors, but they’re less dangerous for humans outdoors owing to wider dissipation.

Essentially, a wasp bomb is like a smoke grenade with pesticide.

It sends toxic “smoke” upward toward a given nest, the purpose of which being to “gas” the area and kill the bugs so the nest can simply be removed.

This method works well and at a limited risk to associated individuals, once toxic fumes have subsided. However, there are chemicals involved which can kill more than just wasps, and which should never be inhaled.

For some wasp nests located in remote, difficult-to-reach indoor areas, this may be the only option. You might want to use repellent instead of a wasp bomb, though.

Wasp repellent is designed to shoot several feet. Some sprays can reach 20 to 22 feet.21

Essentially, you soak the wasp nest from a distance, wait until the wasps quit moving around, then clean up with a scraper, scrub down the area, and dispose of the dead bugs.

Do be careful in the mop-up effort after you spray the wasps; there are likely some that were away from the nest and will return to find you mopping up their relatives. Be sure you’ve got protective gear.

The downside to repellent is toxicity to the surrounding environment, which may be interacted with by pets or children.

Also, in a garden, you don’t want more pesticides than you need on homegrown produce.

Knowing When a Wasp Hive Requires a Wasp Exterminator

Minor infestations are something most homeowners can handle, especially using the techniques outlined here. If you’ve been away from a given property for a while, though, you may have trouble even getting near the building.

One nest with a few dozen wasps is different from dozens of nests with hundreds or thousands of them. Sometimes you’re going to need a pro.

Personal discretion is key here.

A wasp nest attached to a wooden beam, with several wasps crawling on its surface.

(Image: mrosemann719229)

If you have an allergy, or the nest is located somewhere only reachable by ladder, assume you’ll need pros. If the infestation is extensive enough, the same is true.

The largest recorded wasp nest was over 12 feet long and got so heavy it fell off the host tree where it was built.22 You probably won’t have an issue like that, but in some areas of the country, it’s possible.

Such infestations predicate professional help.

When To Call an Exterminator for Wasps

If the infestation is too big, if you have allergies, or if nests are located somewhere you can’t safely exterminate them yourself, contact professionals.

Also contact them when you can’t be there to handle the issue, or for mitigating factors that may be unique to a given situation.

These professionals are widely knowledgeable on how to get rid of wasp nest and take precautions to keep you and your family safe during extermination.

Tips To Help You Find Pest Control for Wasps

Be careful you find exterminators that will truly serve you. Here are some tips to help you hone your selection:

  • Read online reviews
  • Ask friends and family in the area for advice
  • Call multiple pest control companies to compare prices
  • Explore chemical and non-chemical extermination online
  • Assure the exterminator you choose has experience with stinging pests

The more populous your area, the more choices you’ll have.

Sometimes only one regional exterminator is available, in which case you’ll either have to find someone willing to travel to your region, go with the only option locally available, or brave the bugs yourself.

Your insurance company may be able to help; though not always.23 Contact them if you have to.

A Hornet’s Nest Can Stick Around All Season

A Hornet’s nest can stick around all season, and if it does well, residue in the form of hydrocarbons make a scent that could bring them back the following year. This is called Natal Philopatry.24

If you decide to rid your property of nests, it’s important to totally clean the area where the nest was.

This can be difficult for nests high up on a building’s infrastructure–like in the eaves of a barn, for example. Such scenarios invite professional extermination solutions.

Long-distance kill-on-contact wasp spray may not be effective.

Hornets emerging from a hole in a textured surface, with one displaying its yellow-marked face.

(Image: Hans29)

If you aren’t able to get the queen, the wasps will just come back when she’s able to produce more. It’s important to be rid of the queen.

It’s also best to go about wasp nest removal early in the season.

It takes a few days for a nest to be completed,25 at minimum. In some instances, a nest may seem to appear overnight.

Queens start the nest, and it’s an inch or two wide initially.26

As queens produce offspring, nests become larger exponentially. Though a nest only lasts one season, in that time, it can get quite big.

Wasps will build onto their nests throughout spring and summer. As they attain full potential, they become increasingly defensive of their “territory”.

If you approach a nest that has reached maturity in this way, worker drones will aggressively defend it.27 Individual workers can sting multiple times with a vengeance.

Worker wasps are female, and nonproductive. Only the queen is productive.28

Workers die as autumn comes, the queen hides somewhere warm. Queens may seek warmth indoors; if you see a single wasp under a piece of wood or in your basement during winter, she is likely a queen.

Thankfully, the season will make her slow, and easy to remove. Do that if possible.

Most people won’t notice a wasp nest in time, and it will require a more in-depth strategy to address.

How To Get Rid of Wasp Nest: Ousting Unwanted Wasp Infestations From Your Premises

If you’re in the process of ousting unwanted wasp infestations from your premises, you want to look at the chore like an admiral preparing for war. Determine how to get rid of wasp nest hot spots individually, or corporately; but in either case, strategically.

  • Be sure nests aren’t located dangerously if you go the DIY route
  • Be aware of allergy issues
  • Try to eradicate the nest early in the morning and the season
  • Keep kids and pets clear
  • If the task is beyond you, find a pest professional you trust

While wasps are generally non-lethal, their stings hurt, and may cause some people to go into anaphylactic shock.

Unless wasps are specifically being used for pollination or collateral pest control, you may want to be aware of the different methods on how to get rid of wasp nest in order to make sure there is no danger.


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