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Can I knock down a small wasp nest or two?

August 10, 2005


We have three small..getting medium..sized wasp nests in a canopy overhanging our front door. I couldn't think of a more inconvenient place to have them. I really need to get them out of there, I don't want to poison them, so I just thought I might try knocking them down and running into the house. I just don't know what is the best time to do that.

Anyone have any suggestions?


Comments (29)

  • vgkg Z-7 Va

    Night time is better than day to do this. Use a hose to stun them with water as they can't fly well when wet, then use broom handle to knock down nest. 3 nests at once will be a challenge so just be careful.

  • Kimmsr

    Spray the buggers with hair spray, the cheaper and better holding power the better. Then you can take care of the nest.

  • vstech

    you could also use a large shop vac to suck them up, then knock down the nest at your leisure. it looks like you wanted them to move on, not kill them, they are on your porch to keep dry, if allowed to live, they will return. sad but true, they gotta go. don't worry, they are not endangered. plenty more where they came from.

  • AdamM321

    Such a group of creative thinkers..lol. Hairspray and vacuum cleaners?? Ok tell the truth, have you actually tried that? Does the hair spray make any difference? I can imagine the shop vac would work...is the suction really strong enough.

    Thanks for the suggestions...

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

    I will vouch for the hair spray, having resorted to that on a number of occasions. Hey, there comes a time and place that we have to put our foot down, right? I won't have wasps swooping me every time I open the front door! Aqua-net is a pretty good bug spray! (Works for spiders you find in the bathroom, too.)

    Nighttime IS the time to do it, but don't turn on all the porch lights.

  • Kimmsr

    The hair spray holds their wings so they can't fly and they fall to the ground out of your way. Done that, watched them fall to the ground but did not stay around to see what happened next. I would not use my shop vac since you at some point in time would either need to open the vac up and release the wasps or let them die in there.

  • gandle

    What a coincidence, I was just stung at least 7 times a few minutes ago. Went out to the back gate to replace a board and was pounding the old one off. My head and neck were covered with wasps. There WAS a wren house on one of the gate posts. Don't have any insecticides but got a small can of paint thinner from my shop and threw it on it. Now my face is beginninmg to resemble a cauliflower and one eye is swelling shut. Good thing I'm not allergic to stings. The wren house is in the trash can but was full of wasps and nests.

  • dmullen

    Last year, I had to call a bee remover for a large swarm near my mailbox. They would buzz around me every time I went to pick up the mail.

    He used a heavy vacuum with an extention tube on it to reach into the tree and inside the vacuum had soapy water. Said that the bees would die in the soapy water.

    Without the water, they might be able to escape the vacuum as soon as you turn it off.

    Anyway, it was fast and worked very well. He did not get stung.

  • Kimmsr

    If what you had were really bees and if that is what the idiot really did I certainly would not want the world to know that I was rewsponsible for removeing some really beneficial insects from this world, especially since bees that help pollinate the plants that produce the foods we eat are dying in large numbers from pesticides and other pests.
    If these were the Yellow Jackets, a wasp, that would have been an acceptable means of removing them.

  • username_5

    All you have to do is knock the nests down and the bees find a new home. Might be the same place, but probably somewhere less bothersome.

    Bees are active in the sun/heat and inactive (less active) in cold/darkness.

    Either do this at night or even better wait for a cold day/evening (under 60F) and it is a low risk procedure as the cold blooded bees become lethargic. I love bees in my yard, but not right next to areas I travel in frequently. When that happens the bees require "relocation assistance" ;-)

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

    Username, let's not use the word 'bee' to discuss the situation for this person. They have a few little wasp nests (probably the paper wasps) underneath the eaves of their porch. Wasps and bees (and yellow jackets and hornets) are completely different from each other.

    Adam, wait until dark....spray them with the hair spray OR with the wasp spray of your choice and you will be able to remove the nests in the morning.

  • AdamM321


    Thanks for all the help. I thought better of the vacuum idea when Kimmsr wrote in and pointed out having to clean them out of the vacuum. I also wondered what would happen to the wasps if they had hairspray on their wings. Sounded a little like torture to me. Since the nests were really small with about 20 wasps in each nest with a total of three, I decided to do it at night and do one nest at a time and just poke off the nests with a broom handle and scoot in the house.

    Yes I don't want to kill them, I just wanted them to relocate. I will just be diligent to knock down any future nests before they get a foothold. They attempt to nest in that same canopy every year due to the fact I have a large perennial bed in the front not far from it. I think they are especially attracted to the Asclepias incarnata, because they cover that when it is in bloom. I am taking that plant out in the fall and perhaps that will change things a little.

    I am sure they are NOT bees. They are in a canopy no more than 2 ft over my head everytime I walk through the front door and are easily seen and identified.

    Thanks gandle for the reminder that loud noises near a nest can provoke an attack. I also have bird houses around the yard and needed to be reminded to check those. Sorry about your stings.

    Username....thanks for that tip about cold weather. I can wait til it gets a little cooler. They are predicting a couple of cool nights coming up this week.

    Thanks again,

  • Ratherbgardening

    I have several nests of paper wasps by a door and they never bother us. There's one under a deck bench again too and those never bother us, even though we sit on that bench frequently and throw wet towels on it. Last summer I drilled right next to a big nest and they didn't bother me. What type of wasp do you have?

  • gandle

    There is a alien species of wasp that is taking over bird houses and cavities. It is the European paper wasp. Google European paper wasps for the full story. Our native beneficial wasps nest under eaves, never in cavities or bird houses. If you haven't had a lot of cabbage worms this year it may be due to this combative species, unfortunately, they prey on monarch butterfly caterpillars too.

  • raygrogan_hotmail_com

    These old posts helped me with same situation. I used a long pole and just went out at night. When I knocked the wasp nest down one flew out but not towards me, and that was all the alarm I saw. Later back inside I turned on the porch light. They were around a bucket I had put under the nest (the nest missed), and a couple on the door. A few days later they were still hanging out on the old nest, so I scooped it up at night under a jar. Anyway, the nighttime approach worked well enough. Thanks.

  • weld

    What a timely question! We've had 2 small wasp nests in between the screen and window glass in our dining room all summer. Only occasionally did a wasp actually come into the house (we keep the window open), and usually we could herd it out the front door. I have had to smack a few, but usually only when I'm in a very bad mood and don't feel like spending 10 minutes coaxing them outside. Another factor recently: invasion of the fall web worm. I keep hoping the wasps will kill them. (No such luck.) Anyway, a couple days ago we decided we really should try to persuade them to move on, and my husband removed the screen and knocked down the nests with the tried and true broom stick. (In the middle of the day, by the way. They weren't very lively wasps, I guess.) The wasps returned, hanging around their former homeplace, looking, as my husband said, as if they were grieving. Now they are there, in a clump, looking dead. Didn't really want to kill them. Now I'm thinking it was late in the season to do this, should have done it earlier when they could have moved on and rebuilt....

    There is no point to this story, no lesson. Just a wasp story.

  • newtons3rdlaw_hotmail_com

    I finally took down the nest from last season. The one I was most worried about was on the fire sprinkler. Once I got that one down, which was quite big, I found a yellow jacket behind it, building a new nest that was about the size of a marble. I knocked that one down too. Not sure if he will come back to try again but will keep an eye on it and knock it down early. I didn't do that last summer and had 4 wasps nests under the eve.

  • jolj

    They bite as well as sting.

  • GreeneGarden

    Wasps are extremely beneficial. They will kill all kinds of harmful caterpillars. Stun them with water and then knock down the nest. As long as they are alive, they will usually rebuild in a less troublesome spot.

  • jolj

    Good point,GreeneGarden.

  • catwillplay_yahoo_com

    Splash a bucket of plain water on the nest to temporary disable the wasps from flying. Then remove the nest by hand and reattach it at the base with a tack to a more desireable location close to the original location (preferably just a few feet away so the wasps can locate the nest).

    It may not be neccessary to move the nest since most wasps are very tolerant if you do not directly touch the nest and will not sting unless you are aggressive toward them.

    Do NOT kill the wasps. They are very beneficial - eating bag worms, etc.
    Try NOT to just knock down the nest and leave it down either since there are wasp larva in the nest that will die if the nest is deserted.

  • criscross realistic

    I respect that people want to "save" bees but if it comes down to life or death of someone allergic you need to be realistic. I don't think anyone with any common sense is going to cater to the bee especially if a family member or friend was in jeopardy. Yes, I have been there and yes I know. So pleaSE ON A SITE THAT PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR ADVICE TAKE YOUR POLITICALLY CORRECT SIGN DOWN. There are times when they need to be exterminated.

    Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI), you really shouldn't be so judgemental to people!! Seriously "IDIOT??" . There are some people that need to get rid of these creatures like it or not. No one should be called an idiot for dealing with situations like these. There also should be no problem calling them bees!! I just went out my back top door and got nailed so atm I have no lost love for any of these bees, wasps or whatever. Some of you need to get a grip, there are measures being taken to care for the bees so if one nails me when I walk out my door I will "KILL" them. I think the hairspray Idea is awesome and will be trying that too. I was shocked, I looked and behind the door and there was a nice big nest which wasn't there a couple days ago. Good luck to all of you that need to get rid of whichever you are dealing with.

  • jolj

    Criscross realistic.

    I understand how you feel, but not killing wasp is not new or politically Correct.

    My father smoked, used chemical Fertilizers, but he never bother wasp,bee, ants or snakes.

    When you live off the land you learn to give back & leave thing be.

    Every wasp sing I got as a child was from doing things & or being places I had not business.

  • jolj

    dmullen, Here in backwards South Carolina, we have vacuums that will not harm bees.

    We move them to a place in the woods, unless they are honeybees, which we put in hives. I would think people of high breeding of Southern C. would have heard of this


  • HU-290202704

    I have a question .. I had a paper wasp nest inside an inverted light on the balcony , unfortunately my grandson is allergic and we had to finally get rid of the nest and wasp due to so much wasp activity this time of year , we did use soap and water and did this at night . I left the nest with several , 50, wasp on the floor of balcony until next day after work .. in the morning the nest and wasps were still there , after work when I came out to clean it up the nest was gone but the expired wasps were still there did other wasps carry off the nest ? Where did it go ??

  • Frank

    I had about 6 wasps making a nest under the eave of my back patio for the past month or so. My patio is enclosed with windows so I didn't feel the need to disturb them and enjoyed watching them built their next and seeing it grow bigger each day.

    Last week, by the time they had about 4 little eggs in the holes of the nest, I went out in the morning to see the nest gone and laying on the ground! The landscaper for the hoa found it and knocked it down sometime that morning. I even saw some spray residue on my window. I was pretty pissed and upset for those poor wasps.

    Now a week later, there's 3 wasps left and they've started a new nest, but only a very tiny ball...much smaller than the original nest and they seem to be just hanging off it.

    They're hardly moving at all and I feel so sorry for them. Are they dying because it's late in the season and they don't have the energy to start a whole new nest? I feel so badly for them. They're just clinging to the tiny new nest and each other and hardly moving at all. Are they grieving? Dying? I wish I could help the poor little things.

    I have another nest in the front on the inside the porch light. Landscaper obviously hasn't seen that one (hopefully never does!) and I pass it pretty close when entering and exiting my house daily. They never bother me and I don't bother them.

  • Ethan Whateley

    actually I have done this MANY times. If the nest is in the early stages, you can simply spray water on them, the few in the nest will usually fly away to the nearest tree, leaving you the opportunity to knock that sucker down, with preferably some sort of long, pointed object. Be careful of those who may be returning to nest after you've given the others the firehose treatment. Paper wasp stings are quite painful ! and you definitely don't want to deal with being swarmed by them.

  • Ethan Whateley

    OH! and I meant to say, for those of you who have a guilt for killing wasps, keep in mind that they are in no way endangered. They do serve a purpose , as they kill other smaller insect pests and are also pollinators. I always feel bad after destroying a nest because they seem to work very hard on the building process, and its really quite impressive how fast it happens! But if they are around regular human activity this can spell trouble.

  • Ethan Whateley

    The giant Cicada Killer Wasps are the most frightening due to their size and loud buzz, but I'm convinced you almost have to pick one up and crush it in your hand before they will sting you. I don't suggest trying that! I hear they can sting.

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