A Wasp Nest Killer That Actually Works
How to Get Rid of Wasp Nests
A guide to killing wasps and nests in the garden, loft and buildings
Garden wasps can ruin the time you spend in your garden even though they’re unlikely to sting unless they feel threatened.
Most of us may see a few garden wasps here and there from spring through summer and into autumn, but if you’re plagued by them, there’s a good chance of a nest being nearby.
For most people, there’s no need to call in an exterminator, most garden wasp nests can be destroyed with off-the-shelf products.
There are also several products you can use to deter wasps and keep them away from your garden.
Read our guide to the best deterrent and wasp nest killer products.
1) Confirm it Isn’t a Bees Nest
Your first step is to confirm that the nest isn’t a bees nest and it is indeed wasps.
The products which you can buy to kill wasp nests don’t work as well against bees and are likely to aggravate them. That means loft of aggressive bees looking for someone to sting.
Also, do remember that the bee population is in decline and some beekeepers will gladly come and collect a bees nest for free (assuming the type of bee produces honey of course).
Not sure what to look for?
Here are a few photos of bees and wasps.
2) Choose Your Wasp Nest Killer
There are two types of wasp nest killer you can buy – foam spray or powder.
Each product has it’s pros and cons:
Powder – the stronger of the two nest killer products but you do need to get fairly close to the nest, or at least where the wasps enter the void where the nest is located. Puff the powder at the nearest entrance points and the wasps will carry the powder into the nest on their wings where it will destroy it, usually within 12 hours. Use powder on small gaps above brick walls or between timber joists.
Spray foam – a weaker liquid-based wasp nest killer product that dries and becomes somewhat ineffective quickly. The key advantage is the distance you can stand far from the nest – some spray cans can reach over 5 metres, perfect for nests in trees, lofts or behind sheds etc.
In general; use spray foam when you can see the nest and keep a safe distance away. Use powder where you can’t see the nest but can see the gaps wasps are using to enter a void where the nest is located.
3) Best Time to Kill Wasp Nests
To get the best results from the wasp nest killer and avoid stings, you’ll need to apply it at the optimal time when the wasps are least active and with most of them inside the nest. This is usually during an overcast day or either early morning or late evening.
Avoid trying to kill the nest during the middle of a sunny day. The wasps will be extremely active and most won’t be in the nest, they’ll be outside.
If you’re using the powder wasp nest killer, you should only need to use one application, provided you’ve covered the entrance points sufficiently enough for the wasps to carry the powder into the nest.
The foam is very effective if you can soak the nest but if you can only see part of the nest, you may need to apply a second dose 24 hours after the first.
The wasp nest will be at its largest during the height of summer, with up to 10,000 wasps (average 2k-6k) but in the autumn the queen will leave the nest and the worker wasps will be more aggressive.
4) Wasp Deterrents
There are several ways you can deter wasps from lingering in your garden, bothering you and setting up a home.
From fake wasp nests that look so real, they scare off wasps to pots that capture and trap them.
By placing a few of these deterrent products around your garden, you’ll definitely see fewer wasps.
Garden Wasp Traps
These traps are the most effective wasp capture products we’ve tested.
Just fill the bases with 2 parts water, 1 part fruit juice, 1 part vinegar and 4 tablespoons of sugar.
Then hang the devices near the edge of your property away from seating and playing areas.
If your garden is plagued by wasps, perhaps due to nearby apple trees or a wasp nest in a neighbouring garden, do give these traps a try.
Be warned though; these wasp traps attract lots of wasps and should only be used in gardens plagued by them. Use them in a garden that only sees a few wasps and you’ll just attract hundreds more.
Wasp traps are best used in gardens with fruit trees or other material that attracts wasps.
The Waspinator is a product designed to look like a wasp’s nest, hang it in your garden and the theory goes that wasps should think it’s a real nest from another colony of wasps and stay well away from it.
But does it work?
The team here at DIY Gardening did some research on this and we also asked a couple of experts for their opinion.
The general consensus is that this type of product won’t work if there’s already a nest nearby. The wasps will treat this product as a nest inside their territory and will behave as usual.
There is little chance of an entire nest of wasps moving home and relocating to a new place just because another colony of wasps has set up up home nearby.
However, when searching for a place to nest, wasps shouldn’t locate to an area within 4 metres of this product, so the Waspinator should deter wandering wasps from forming a new nest nearby in the first place.
Is this product a magic bullet to prevent any and all wasps from entering your garden?
No, but if your garden is plagued by wasps from nearby nests each year, we think the Waspinator could reduce the number of nests forming and given the reasonable pricing, it’s worth a go.
5) What to Do With Bees
There are dozens of reasons why bees might be visiting your garden; a nest nearby or pollen-rich plants in or near your garden being the most common reasons.
In general, it’s best to leave bees alone. The species is in decline and as a valuable pollinator, we need more bees, not less.
However, if you’ve found a nest on your property that is disruptive, perhaps close to a seating area, walkway or door then you should avoid trying to get rid of it yourself.
The chemicals formulated to kill wasps are less effective at bees who while more docile than wasps in general, bees can become extremely aggressive when attacked.
We recommend taking a few closeup photos of the bees and sending them to a local beekeeper.
Some beekeepers are so keen to increase the number of hives they have that they’ll come and collect the bees for free.
If the type of bees you have nesting on your property doesn’t produce enough honey to be harvestable (not all bees produce honey), expect to a pay a fee for their removal.
Do wasps only sting once?
No, some bees can only sting once but wasps can sting several times.
When are wasps most active?
Worker wasps emerge in April and early May. From June to August the nest will be full and the wasps most active. Between August and September, the queen will mate with the males and produce more queen wasps that will leave the nest and overwinter for the next season.
How long do wasps live for?
The most common worker wasps live for between 12 and 22 days while queen wasps live for up to a year.
Where do wasps go in the winter?
Worker wasps have a short lifespan of up to 22 days and die off before winter. Queen wasps overwinter in lofts, holes and other sheltered locations.
How many wasps does a nest hold?
A wasp nest can hold up to 10,000 wasps but the average holds between 2-6000 wasps in the height of summer.
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