Wasp Nest Removal: The Right Way to Do It

A wasp nest in your house or in the garden can be a cause of concern for many people. Wasps can be a nuisance or even dangerous if they feel threatened or want to defend their nest. But how can you remove a wasp nest without harming the animals or putting yourself in danger? In this article you will learn everything you need to know when you want to remove a wasp nest.

Finding and observing a wasp nest

Of course, before you can have the wasp nest removed, you need to know where it is. This way you can estimate how difficult or expensive it will be to remove and whether it is worth it at all. Often old wasp nests can be mistaken for new ones. Removing them, of course, won't do any good at all, since they are already empty anyway.

A wasp nest only lasts for one season. In autumn or winter, the entire colony dies and the nest is abandoned. Only the young queen survives and looks for a new nesting place in the next spring.

A wasps nest on a red wall
A wasp builds a nest. Source: Peppelinchen, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Wasps like to build their nests in dry, darkened and wind-protected cavities. These can be, for example, abandoned earth structures of mice or moles, but also old tree trunks, utility sheds, attics or roller shutters.

A wasp nest can be recognized by its typical shape: It consists of several layers of scraped wood fibers, which the wasps glue together with their saliva to form pentagonal cells.

In these cells the queen lays her eggs, from which new wasps gradually hatch. A wasp nest can vary in size depending on the species and the size of the colony. Some nests are only as big as a fist, others can reach a diameter of several meters.

Having a wasp nest removed

If you want to have a wasp nest removed, you must consider a few things. Firstly, wasps are under nature protection and may not simply be killed or driven away. Secondly, wasps can react very aggressively if their nest is disturbed. Therefore, you should never try to remove or destroy a wasp nest yourself.

The removal or relocation of a wasp nest is only allowed if the wasps pose a hazard to humans . This may be the case, for example, if the nest is very close to the house or in a place where children or people allergic to wasps spend time. If you are unsure whether removal is necessary or not, you should ask an expert for advice.

An expert can also determine which species of wasp it is. Because not all wasps are equally annoying or dangerous. There are only two species that can bother us in summer: the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) and the German wasp (Vespula germanica). These two species are very adaptable and have few natural enemies. They are mainly very interested in sweet or savory foods and often come to our garden table.

The other wasp species are mostly harmless and useful to nature. These include, for example, the hornet (Vespa crabro), the Saxon wasp (Dolichovespula saxonica) and the red wasp (Vespula rufa). These species feed mainly on other insects and avoid contact with humans.

If you want to have a wasp nest removed, you should contact a professional. This could be an exterminator, a beekeeper or a wasp consultant. These individuals have the necessary experience and equipment to safely remove or relocate the nest, including the animals.

The cost of a removal depends on various factors, such as the size and location of the nest. As a rule, you must expect about 150 to 250 dollars.

A wasp nest on a white house wall
A larger wasps' nest. Source: Duke of W4, CC BY-SA 3.0

By the way, if you want to keep the wasps away from their nest, you can also build a wasp trap. You can find an article about it here.

How is a wasp nest removed?

This depends on the type and location of the nest. In some cases, the nest can be completely removed and moved to another location. In other cases, the nest must be destroyed or treated with an insecticide. The goal is always to disturb or harm the wasps as little as possible.

An example of a gentle removal is the following method: The professional first moistens the nest and then seals it with a cloth or paper. The wasps are now trapped in the wasp nest. He carefully removes the nest and places it in a container. He can later release this closed container into the wild.

If this option is not possible because the nest is too large or it would be too difficult to remove, the nest must be destroyed. The professional first sprays an insecticide into the nest to kill the wasps. Then he opens the nest and removes all the honeycombs and dead wasps. He cleans the site thoroughly and seals all openings to prevent re-colonization.

The removal of a wasp nest by a professional is not only safer, but also complies with the law. This is because wasps are protected by nature and may not simply be killed or driven away. The removal or relocation of a wasp nest is only allowed if the wasps pose a danger to humans. This must be assessed by an expert in each case.

Tolerating a wasp nest

In many cases, however, it is not even necessary to have a wasp nest removed. If the nest is far enough away from the house and the wasps do not bother you, you can simply tolerate it. Wasps are not only a nuisance, but also useful to nature. They pollinate flowers, regulate pests and serve as food for other animals.

If you want to tolerate a wasp nest, you should follow some tips to live peacefully with the wasps. For example:

  • Keep a safe distance of at least 18 feet from the nest.
  • Avoid frantic movements or loud noises near the nest.
  • Cover food and beverages outdoors or place them in closed containers.
  • Do not wear garish or flowery clothing or perfumes that might attract wasps.
  • Don't blow on wasps or hit them. This can make them aggressive.
  • If a wasp lands on you, stay calm and wait for it to fly away again.
  • If you are stung, cool the area with ice or a slice of onion and seek medical attention immediately if you have an allergic reaction.

For more on treating wasp stings, click here.

Fake Wasp Nests: Are they worth it?

A popular method sometimes recommended to keep wasps away is the use of wasp nest dummies. These are designed to fool wasps into thinking that another swarm is already living in a particular location and thus occupying the territory. Wasps are territorial and normally avoid the vicinity of other nests.

Doch funktionieren diese Attrappen wirklich? Leider gibt es keine wissenschaftlichen Belege dafür, dass Wespen sich durch leere Nester vertreiben lassen. Im Gegenteil: Es gibt zahlreiche Berichte und Tests, die zeigen, dass Wespen sich von den Attrappen nicht beeindrucken lassen und sogar direkt neben oder unter ihnen landen.

This is because wasps go not only by the appearance of a nest, but also by the smell. Namely, wasps communicate with pheromones (scents) that they leave on their nests. However, the dummies have no such odor and are therefore not perceived as a threat by the wasps.

Another proof that wasp nest dummies are useless is the fact that wasps build new nests every year and abandon the old ones. This can be observed, for example, in attics where new nests are built next to old ones every year. If wasps were really deterred by empty nests, they would not nest in the same places every year.

Recognize and distinguish wasp species

To know how to deal with a wasp nest, it is helpful to know and distinguish between the different types of wasps. Not all wasps are the same. Everything else about the different species can be found in the article about wasps in general.


A wasp nest on the house or in the garden can be a problem for many people. But there are ways to remove or tolerate a wasp nest. It is important to respect and protect the wasps, because they are part of nature and have their right. If you follow some rules, you can live peacefully with the wasps.

Have you had any experience with a wasp nest? How did you deal with it? Feel free to share your opinion or questions in the comments.

Wasp Nest Removal: The Right Way to Do It
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Wasp Nest Removal: The Right Way to Do It
Should you remove a wasp nest or tolerate it? Find out how to deal with a wasp nest at home and what types of wasps there are.

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