Controlling Hornets, Wasps, Bees & Other Stinging Pests

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Wear thick protective clothing when working with bee or wasps' nests, including thick boots and gloves. Wear protective headgear that covers your entire face and head. If you use insecticides, wear protective eyewear. Even with these precautions you can still get stung.

Exposed Wasps' Nests

Remove exposed wasps' nests in early June, while the nest remains fairly small. Wait until night, when wasps are sluggish.

Approach the wasps' nest quietly with a wasp and hornet spray that shoots spray at least ten feet. Aim the spray at the nest, spray for several seconds and then leave the area quickly.

Avoid the area for a day or two, as wasps poisoned by wasp and hornet spray act unpredictably. If you see activity at the wasps' nest, respray. Continue to respray every three days until all wasps are dead.

Concealed Nests of Wasps and Hornets

Wasps and hornets may nest in walls or attics. Such nests are difficult to locate, and may require professional removal. As fall approaches, colder temperatures may force wasps into the house.

If you find a concealed nest, apply small amounts of insecticidal dust to the nest. You may need to drill 1/8 inch holes to deliver insecticide to the nest, a procedure that could disturb the wasps.

Once all wasps are dead, seal the nest entrance with caulk. Only seal the nest if you are sure all insects are dead, otherwise wasps trapped in the nest may enter the house.

Ground-Dwelling Wasps and Hornets

Yellowjackets also nest in the ground. To kill the nest, try pouring soapy water into the entrance. If this does not work, use an insecticide. Only use insecticides that are approved for use with lawns and soil.

Dust insecticides such as carbaryl or chlorpyrifos work better than liquids. Cover the nest with soil once all wasps are dead.

Controlling Bees

Honeybees are generally less aggressive than wasps. Most bees nest in man-made hives, but occasionally nest in tree hollows, wall voids or attics.

Bee removal is difficult, potentially dangerous and best left to professionals. Honeycombs inside building walls or attics need to be removed to prevent honey damage to walls. Honeycombs also attract other pests. Honeycombs from hives killed with insecticide should not be eaten.

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