Finding a wasp nest (or yellow jacket nest), such as the nest of the German Wasp Vespula germanica, or the common wasp, Vespula vulgaris), is a concern for many.
This page is intended to provide free advice and information about how wasps build their nests, when and how to remove them if necessary, and better still, how to prevent wasps building nests in inconvenient places.
Below, there are also links to advice about treating yellow jacket
stings, and tips to prevent stinging incidents, as well as the
importance of wasp pollination.
Nests made by Vespula germanica may be discovered in the ground, in lofts, or attics, or in a crevice or tree hollow or in a garden shed (perhaps stuck to the ceiling),
Yellow jacket nests are papery in appearance, and are actually amazing structures.
They are made from small amounts of leaf and rotten wood which are chewed by wasps, and used to construct a nest, often ball shaped, and increasing in size as time progresses (from Spring through Summer).
This is important to know. I was once asked about whether wasps could be 'smoked out' of the inside of a chimney breast by lighting a fire. Problem is, the wasp nest is paper and could catch fire. Wasp colonies will actually die out before winter anyway. Once the wasp nest has been deserted, this might be a time to dislodge the nest from the chimney and dispose of it.
Nests can be very large, but colonies usually die out in the autumn, although this may not be the case in warm climates.
If you live in a region where the nest will die out in the autumn, you may decide to leave it alone, and simply avoid it. If you definitely need to remove it, you will probably need to call in pest control.
Keep away from the nest. Pets will also need to be kept away from nest.
Children can be given additional protection by using repellents, such as sprays, and arm bands. Also, see my page on preventing stings.
A number of visitors have written in to describe experiences of aerial wasp nests. It is often quite possible to leave these alone as these readers have done. Please also remember that wasps are pollinators too, and they are are highly effective at natural pest control.
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