Getting Rid of Wasp and Hornets

Treating hornets and other wasps should be done at night, without shaking or disturbing the nest. You will need a quick spray of Bonide Wasp and Hornet Aerosol or PT Wasp and Hornet Killer.

  1. Care should be taken when spraying directly on trees and bushes with the product, spraying as little as possible. If you spray on a house, it is recommended that you clean the area the next day, because of their oil bases.
  2. When dealing with social wasps, such as hornets, wear protective equipment including a bee hat, long-sleeved shirt, coveralls, eyewear, and gloves.
  3. Locate the wasp nest by examining all protected areas in the vicinity of wasp activity. Just removing the wasp nest will not resolve the problem, because surviving wasps will reconstruct a new one.
  4. The best strategy is to treat the wasp nest at night when all the workers and queen are present. Spraying into hornets nests should ALWAYS be done at night. They are far less aggressive and are all at home. This tactic maximizes the effect of the pesticide application by killing most if not all of the wasps. If treatment is made at night, avoid shining a light directly on the nest or use a red filter on the flashlight to dim the shine.
  5. Daytime treatments are successful when the wasp nest is treated, or if the wasps present on the nest are killed. Then, the wasp nest is removed, and the attachment area treated. Returning workers looking for the wasp nest contact the residual and die. Complete the job by removing the wasp nest, particularly if it is in an attic, wall void, etc. This service prevents secondary infestations by dermestids or other pests.
  6. After treatment of the wasps/hornets nests, continue to monitor the area for wasp activity.

Control Tips

  • Hornets and Yellow Jackets are far more challenging and dangerous to control than paper wasps.
  • The best time to treat is at night, when the hornets and wasps are less aggressive.
  • Hornets nests have a single opening, usually toward the bottom, where the wasps enter and exit.
  • It is essential that the paper envelope of the nest not be broken open during treatment or the angry wasps will scatter in all directions, causing even greater problems.
  • A full wasp suit sealed at the wrists, ankles, and collar is recommended when disposing of a hornet nest.
  • Treatment of wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets is best performed at night; paper wasps can be eliminated during the daytime provided you do not stand directly below the nest during treatment.
  • Most wasp and hornet sprays cause insects to drop instantly when contacted by the insecticide.
  • Standing directly below a nest increases one's risk of being stung.
  • Spraying into wasp nests should ALWAYS be done at night. Wasps are far less aggressive and are all at home. Caution should be taken when inspecting wasps nest during the day.

    Wasps Nests

    Wasps Nests vary in size, shape and locations. They can be enclosed or open. Some are found under eaves, and others like yellow jackets are located in the ground. Typical areas include, around bushes or trees, under eaves, under exterior fixtures, around door and window frames. Wasps will seek locations that are left undisturbed to build their nests.

Recommended Wasp Control Products

  1. Aerosols - Get A Quick Knockdown

    PT Wasp & Hornet Freeze, Wasp-X, Bonide Wasp & Hornet Aerosol are aerosols that would give a very quick knock down of the wasp nest. You can spray as far away as 15-20 feet. These quick kill wasp aerosols have oily bases, so care should be considered when using not to stain a surface. EcoPco Jet Contact Insecticide Aerosol is another alternative. The ECO PCO line is much less toxic than other insecticides because they are made up of botanical lines.

    We recommend Stryker Wasp and Hornet or Styker 54 Aerosols


  2. Insecticide Dusts - Void areas - Kill Emerging Wasps

    Insecticide dusts will deter wasps or hornets from returning the following season and kill emerging wasps. It will continue to kill for 6 months or more in areas where the dust is protected.

    • Tempo Dust - Has a high success rate against stinging insects.
    • Dusters- Will help dust into these areas.
  3. Residual Liquid Insectides - Spray Future Nesting Areas

    Spray in the area of the wasp infestation with LambdaStar UltraCap 9.7 or Cyper WSP. These are concentrated insecticides that you mix with water. Spraying around the area where they have a tendency to nest would give you control and help prevent future nesting. You can use both of these concentrated insecticides for a wide variety of general household pests.

    LambdaStar Ultra Cap 9.7 leaves no visible residue while Cyper WSP (wettable-powder) may leave a powder-film like a residue seen against dark surfaces.

    • LambdaStar UltraCap 9.7 - residual spray to spray vulnerable wasp nesting areas(prevent future nesting sites).
    • Cyper WSP - residual spray to treat and prevent furture nesting sites.

Difference between a Wasp and a Bee

The main difference between and wasp and bee is that wasps feed on other insects, while mostly paralyzed arthropods and bees feed on a mixture of pollen and nectar. Wasps have smooth bodies as opposed to bees that have hairy bodies. They are about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch long in a variety of colors and shapes. They live off other insects, primarily spiders.


Types of Wasps - Social Wasps and Solitary Wasps

Stinging Wasps

There are two types of wasps, social wasps, and solitary wasps. The social wasps such as Yellow Jackets, Hornets, and Paper Wasps usually have a larger population than solitary wasps, like Mud Daubers and Cicada Killers. The stinging wasps belong to the family, Vespidae. Solitary wasps also sting but are used primarily for subduing prey (the solitary wasps rarely sting humans). One way to identify a stinging wasp is to note their wings when they are at rest. They fold their wings lengthwise, making them seem half as wide as they are. Most wasps build their nest from wood fibers, producing a paper shelter. These wasps are inactive during the winter months and hide in protective coverings. The queen makes the nests and feeds the young larvae.

Social Wasps

Most social wasps live in nests and defend it aggressively and are vespid wasps (family Vespidae)

The Bald-faced hornet (Dolicho-Vespula maculata (sometimes called white-faced hornet), European or giant hornet (Vespra crabro) and Yellow Jackets (Vespula spp.) are prominent structure-infesting wasps. The Yellowjackets are the smallest of the common vespids. These wasps of the Vespid family are beneficial social wasps that live in colonies with thousands of individuals. These hornets are threatening because of their opportunistic behavior of nesting in structural voids, attics, and any cavities in landscaping features. They scavenge in trash containers and look for food and drinks that are consumed outdoors. They will eat ripe fruit in gardens and vineyards. As the temperature cools in the fall months with reduced food supplies, they may seek shelter in warm shelters, invading human structures. Since their colonies peak in the late summer and fall, their colonies are most noticeable. Paper Wasps are social wasps; they are also called umbrella wasps due to their nests' shape.

  • Typical "wasp" body type: - a short, narrow attachment between the thorax and the abdomen, which is spindle-shaped and tipped with a long stinger.
  • Thorax and abdomen brightly marked with yellow, red, or brown on a black background. Many hornets are confused with yellow jackets.

Paper Wasps-Polistes spp, Family Vespidae: These wasps are also called umbrella wasps due to their nests' shape.

yellow jackets

Yellowjackets have bright yellow and black patterns. As a social wasp, they will aggressively defend their nests. Yellow Jackets have thin waists, while bees have a thicker waist. They typically build their nests in the ground. Many times their nests start from an abandoned animal burrow. They feed on meats and sweets.

Bald Faced HornetBald-faced Hornet - white and black.

Paper Wasps

paper wasp nestPaper Wasps have a coloration of yellow, brown or red patterns on black.The Paper Wasp of the family Poliste, commonly builds its nest under the eaves of houses or porch roofs. Paper Wasps are social wasps. Paper wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets construct nests of a paper-like material which is a mixture of finely chewed wood fragments and salivary secretions of the wasps. Paper wasps typically build their umbrella-shaped nests under eaves and ledges.

Paper Wasps Control: These wasps are not as aggressive as yellow jackets or hornets and can be eliminated rather easily with a wasp and hornet sprays such as Bonide Wasp and Hornet Killer or PT Wasp and Hornet Killer.

Ater that, dust an insecticidal dust like Tempo Dust into the their entrance at night. Wear protective clothing and try not to use any lights. Even with Paper Wasp, you still can get stung. Treatment can be accomplished by applying a wasp and Hornet aerosols.

Giant European Insect Hornets

Giant European Insect Hornets have yellow and brown coloring. They will aggressively defend their nests. A fertilized queen hibernates during the winter and emerges in the spring to establish new nests. Each colony may have 300 or more workers. They are active during the summer and spring months and are attracted to sweet foods. They are not as aggressive as yellow jackets. Some hornets are yellow and black and are confused with Yellow Jackets.

Nest: Giant European Hornet nests resemble a large, inverted tear-drop shaped ball that typically is attached to a tree, bush or side of a building. Hornet nests may contain thousands of wasps which are extremely aggressive when disturbed. Hornets are most commonly found in hollow trees. However, hornets nests also can be found in barns, attics, hollow walls, and abandoned bee hives. The hornets nests built in unprotected places are covered with a brown envelope (paper) composed of chewed plant fibers. They gather bark from trees and leave small rings around the trunks of the trees. Many Hornets have large grayish-brown cartons like structure, they are often hanging from a tree or bush.

Control: Follow the general guidelines of wasp/hornet control above. First, inspect to locate nests, then treat the nest at night.

Solitary Wasps (Non-Social)

The solitary wasps are Sphecid wasps, Cicada Killers, Mud Daubers, Potter Wasps, Spider Hunter Wasps, and Cricket hunter wasps. Solitary wasps species have one female that builds either one nest or several distinct nests.

Cartons are not used in these nests. Each nest has several cells. Prey (another insect or spider) is placed in a cell with an egg laid on top; then, it is sealed. They do not fold their wings when they fly like social wasps. Some solitary wasps build their nests in the ground, like digger wasps and cicada killers. The Cicada Killer, a solitary wasp, is mistaken for a hornet. Cicada killers are very common in the USA.


Cicada Killers

cicada killer with cicadaThe female Cicada Killer will drag the paralyzed cicadas, and the larvae will consume the live Cicada in the following days. A burrow may have up to 20 cells with 1-2 cicadas and one egg per cell. The egg hatches into larvae to feed on the Cicada. The larvae spin a cocoon afterward and enter a dormancy thru the winter(overwinter) and pupate the following spring, continuing the cycle. 

Control and Prevention

  • If you notice fresh holes or developing nest, you can try applying Tempo Dust to the entrance of the holes. When the holes are new, you still have a potential to kill the larvae and adults.
  • A more permanent and preventative method would be to apply Bifen LP Granules over the whole area and water it in. The Bifen LP Granules would not yield immediate results, but stop them from returning the following year.


Mud Daubers

Mud Dauber carrying mud Mud Dauber carrrying mud, before flying.

mud dauber Mud Dauber nest that is covered with mud.

mud dauber nest Mud daubers build different types of nests from mud. Some nests are globular nests and some are ogan-pipe nests.

Mud Dauber Identity

  • 1/4- to 2-inches in length.
  • Dull black or brown to brilliant red, yellow or blue, many with a metallic sheen to the bodies or wings.
  • Wasp body type, frequently with a long slender petiole (connection) between the abdomen and the thorax.

Mud Daubers and sphecid wasps are solitary wasps. Many people mistake the Cicada Killer, for hornets. True hornets do not excavate burrows in the ground, such as the Cicada Killer.

Habits: Mud Daubers come out in the spring. At this time, they mate and build their nests. They either capture or sting insects or spiders for food. For this reason, solitary wasps are seen as beneficial insects.

Cicada killers and spider wasps burrow in the ground to build their nests. The cicada killers, spider wasps, and digger wasps can be highly active in high traffic areas like lawns and may be of concern. They can be controlled by applying residual dusts such as Tempo Dust into the burrows. We have several dusters for application of dusts.

Mud Dauber wasps are not social wasps. Many paralyze spiders to provision mud cells built to enclose eggs, larvae, and pupae. The mud cells form long clay tubes or large lumps. Mud Daubers are slender; they are shiny black or brown, orange or yellow, with black markings. Many have long slender thread waists.

Like Carpenter bees, there is no protective worker caste; these wasps are not aggressive; they will not sting unless pressed or handled. Mud Daubers place their mud nests in protected places like electric motors, sheds, attics, against house siding, and under porch ceilings.


Mud dauber and potter wasps can be eliminated easily by tearing down the nests and killing the adults with an aerosol product such as Stryker 54 Aerosol Contact Insect Spray

Health Risks: Mud Daubers have stingers but are usually not aggressive and sting only when handled.

By Hlgu1 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (],
By Hectonichus (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 ( or GFDL ], via Wikimedia Commons