How To Get Rid of a Wasp Nest Inside Your Wall
Don't mess around with wasps. If you have a nest in one of your walls, get rid of it — carefully — by following our expert advice.
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Wasps, with their big eyes and weirdly delicate dangling legs, send shivers down the spine. I’ve been stung once in my life, and my seven-year-old mind manufactured a horror-movie scene involving a swarm of bloodthirsty predators — a memory that persists to this day. (My parents swear this did not happen.) Something about wasps just gives people the creeps.
Incredibly, wasps are pretty important to the ecosystem. They’re fantastic at pest control — hunting flies, spiders and crop pests — and serve as unintentional pollinators.
Despite these good qualities, you don’t want them moving into the wall of your home. Hidden nests can turn your backyard barbecue into an indoor pizza party once wasps start dive-bombing your can of Coke. But what to do, besides hide?
“First, let’s start with the type of wasp that typically creates hidden nests,” says Thomas Dobrinska, a board certified entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control. Unfortunately, that’s the yellow jacket, an aggressive social wasp that can sting multiple times. Yellow jacket is the common name of several species that typically build nests in cavities rather than out in the open.
If you have a nest in your wall, Dobrinska and fellow entomologist Emma Grace Crumbley at Mosquito Squad offer these solutions.
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Signs You Have a Wasp Nest in Your Wall
If there’s a wasp nest in your wall, Dobrinska says you’ll probably notice it June through August when large numbers of wasps fly in and out of a hole on the outside of your home. “It looks similar to airline traffic,” Dobrinska says. Yellow jackets approaching your home stack up like 747s, following a single line in the air as they enter and exit the opening.
Even if you don’t see an entrance point right away, Crumbley says unusually large numbers of wasps in your yard is a tell-tale sign of a nest somewhere on your property. When you see them, pay attention to where they go to see if they’re headed for a crack in your house.
How to tell if you have wasps or bees? “Bees will have a thicker, more robust body while wasps have a sleeker build with a narrow waist,” Crumbley says. Dobrinska says bees are typically fuzzy and feed their young pollen and nectar, while wasps are hunters that catch live prey to chew up for their larval-stage young.
If you think you have bees, particularly honeybees, consult a professional beekeeper or agricultural extension for assistance before attempting to kill or remove them. Honey left behind may damage your walls and attract pests. Not to mention, bees are in decline, so it’s a good idea to relocate them if possible.
How To Remove a Wasp Nest From Your Wall
Yellow jackets are aggressive and dangerous, particularly for people with an allergy. Both experts strongly advise against DIY-ing wasp nest removal from a wall.
“You should call a professional pest control company immediately,” Crumbley says. “A professional company will have the right equipment and necessary tools to safely remove nests from your home to prevent further infestation.”
Depending on the extent of wasp activity and whether nest removal is a standalone service call, Mosquito Squad estimates this could cost from $20 to $130. Of course, prices may vary by company. Regardless, Dobrinska says, “The nest needs to be treated by a licensed pest professional.”
Sometimes the wasp nest isn’t near the point of entry. That’s another reason not to DIY. If you get it wrong, you could be looking at hordes of angry wasps flying out at you, potentially while you’re up on a ladder.
But if you’re intent on trying this yourself, Crumbley says to follow these steps:
- Wear long sleeves, gloves, pants, close-toed shoes, protective headgear and eyewear to protect you from stings.
- Identify all entry and exit points. Cover the holes with caulk or sealant.
- Use a trap or lure near the area to attract wasps away from their colony.
- Drill a hole in the wall where the nest is. The hole should be small enough to prevent wasps from flying out, but large enough for a dust pesticide applicator to fit through.
- Insert the applicator of your pesticide and apply.
- Leave the area immediately.
Once the wasps die, the nest cannot be used again, so Dobrinska says it’s not necessary to remove the nest from the wall. If you’d like to get rid of it anyway, you’ll need to cut a hole in the wall to access it, then patch the hole.
How To Prevent Wasps From Building a Nest in Your Wall
“The best prevention is exclusion,” Dobrinska says. That means checking under your eaves, in siding and brick facades, and repairing any gaps and cracks.
Before you seal up holes, make sure there’s not an active nest in the wall. If you seal the entry without eliminating the nest, Dobrinska says the wasps will try to get out, likely damaging drywall and materials inside the walls.
Crumbley says natural deterrents like herbs and essential oils discourage wasps. “A combination of clove, lemongrass and geranium essential oils is ideal for applying to outdoor walls, crevices and other places you’ve noticed wasp activity,” Crumbley says. “Peppermint oil is also effective.”