Wasp nests are a hazard in the summertime. Many nests go unremarked in rural locations – they can be in the ground, in a tree, or in any random spot. However, a wasp nest in a building or where people and animals convene is dangerous.
Wasps are pollinators, so they are a friend of nature. However, if there is a genuine risk of stings to people or animals, you may need to destroy the nest.
Find out how to get rid of a wasp nest safely and what to do if you get stung.
Why It’s Important To Prevent Wasp Stings
The problem with wasp venom is that it’s highly toxic. One sting hurts, as we all know! A few stings make you feel quite unwell, enough to sit down and have a cup of tea. Even more, multiple stings cause swelling at the sting sites, discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
Anywhere upwards of a dozen stings, and that person should seek medical advice. More stings require hospital treatment to protect the liver and kidneys from damage due to the venom circulating in the bloodstream.
In certain susceptible people, a wasp sting creates a massive allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, also known as an anaphylactic shock.
Anaphylactic shock is a medical emergency. The symptoms arise quickly and involve difficulty breathing, circulation problems, dizziness, and a rash. Thankfully, anaphylaxis is quite rare.
Those who know they are allergic to stings often carry an adrenaline auto-injector, sometimes called an EpiPen. Someone providing First Aid can administer an EpiPen, as the instructions are on the side.
How To Remove Wasp Nests Without Getting Stung
Make Sure They're Wasps
The first step is identifying the insect; wasps are not the only angry yellow insect with an attitude problem! Other contenders include yellow jackets and hornets; their homes require different treatments.
Identify the Location
Finding the site of the nest and the entry point is essential, as this dictates how effectively you will be able to deal with it. A location under the eaves of the house or in a ceiling void may be almost impossible to access safely.
Finding a wasp nest early in the summer makes it easier to treat before it gets too large. The wasps present will be juveniles, and they’re generally less aggressive and less likely to sting.
Wear Protective Clothing
Protective clothing is essential if you plan to destroy a nest, but you should always wear it when trying to locate the nest site and the entrance, as you could still be stung.
A beekeeper’s suit is ideal, but not many people have these.
Instead, we recommend covering up with thick, loose clothing through which a sting can’t penetrate – that includes arms and legs with no gaps.
Wear long gloves or gauntlets that cover your wrists – washing-up gloves are ideal – a hat, goggles, and a face mask so your eyes are protected and as much of your face as possible.
If wasps are pestering you whilst you try and identify the nest location, using a handheld aerosol spray can help make the area safer.
These kill wasps instantly and are also helpful if entering buildings or areas with people pending destruction of the nest.
Destroy the Nest
If the nest is accessible, you can destroy it with a proprietary nest killer, which typically comes as a foam spray. Keep in mind that you need to be able to stand two metres from the site and access the entirety of the nest.
The foam expands as soon as it makes contact. The distance of application makes the process as safe as possible (although always still wear protective clothing!), and the chemicals kill the nest within twenty-four hours.
Call in a Professional
Wasps are canny insects, often making nests in inaccessible locations, so even if you know where the nest is, you may not be able to access it. This is a job for a pest control professional.
Most pest control experts have equipment allowing them to access a nest in hidden locations such as a roof void.
What To Do if You’re Stung by Wasps During the Nest Removal Process
Removing a nest can result in some stings.
Wash the area of the sting site with soap and water to remove the venom. Place an ice pack on the sting area, as this reduces swelling and helps with immediate pain. In a pinch, a packet of frozen peas does the job just as well.
Over-the-counter pain relief like Nurofen or Paracetamol can help with feeling unwell if you have multiple stings.
Keep the sting site clean and dry – this may require covering it with a bandage.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Time of Day is the Best To Remove a Wasp Nest?
The best time of day to remove a nest is as light falls, so dusk or nighttime.
Wasp activity reduces as daylight fades, and wasps return to the nest at night. Consequently, it’s easier to destroy almost all of the nest, plus there is less risk of being stung.
Will Wasps Return to a Destroyed Nest?
If wasps are away foraging for food when the nest is destroyed, it’ll take them a few days to work out what’s happened - so they may hang around for a bit.
If you can destroy the nest after dark, you will likely catch most inhabitants and reduce the risk of residual insects remaining at the nest site.
Shop Dalton Engineering’s Wasp Destroyer Sprays!
Wasps are one summer feature no one wants around – their stings can be painful, uncomfortable, and, at worst, dangerous. Whilst a nest is present, it can turn some locations into a no-go area.