How to remove a wasp nest

If you find a large wasp nest, consider calling a professional exterminator. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Ronald F. of Illicott City, Md. )

If you find a large wasp nest, consider calling a professional exterminator. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Ronald F. of Illicott City, Md. )

Wasp nests in and around the home can be dangerous, especially if kids and pets are present, but there's no need to panic. As long as proper safety procedures are followed, just about anyone can safely remove a wasp nest.

Wasps will build a nest in a variety of different locations, such as roof eaves, behind shutters, on sheds, in trees, underground and inside wall cavities. Queens start building nests in the spring and they grow as her colony increases.

Three common wasps include paper wasps, hornets and yellow jackets. Paper wasps build open and exposed nests that resemble an upside down umbrella and typically are found under roof eaves and window ledges. Hornets build a papery shell to cover the football-sized nest and seek out cavities within buildings or shrubbery. Yellow jackets create smaller, paper-covered nests usually in the ground or wall voids.

Locate the nest by observing the wasps for a few minutes. Wasps fly in a straight line when approaching or leaving a nest. After finding the nest, decide whether to remove it or call an exterminator. If the nest is in a concealed attic or wall, it's almost always best to hire a professional exterminator.

Purchase an insecticide specifically designed for treating wasps. It’s most commonly sold as a spray, so make sure to read the instructions before use.

Wasps are less aggressive at night so remove nests after dark to reduce the risk of being stung.

Approach slowly and avoid shining a light directly on the nest. The light may startle the wasps and provoke them to leave the nest.

Apply the spray to the entrance of the nest. Wait at least a day after treatment to ensure the colony is destroyed, then remove the nest. Don’t break open the nest during treatment or irritated wasps will scatter in all directions. Wash the nest area with water to eliminate colony odors.

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A wasp nest hangs in a tree at Angie's List member Jack A.'s Fox Point, Wis. home.

Wasps on or around your home can be annoying and dangerous. Removing the nest is a task you may want to undertake yourself, or hire a professional to complete. Here's a quick breakdown on the costs of wasp removal.

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