Wasp or Hornet Infestation in a Garden

Paper Wasps and Nest (via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Wasp and hornet infestations in a garden can be a significant problem for homeowners. These insects can build nests in trees, bushes, and even in the walls of houses, and they can become aggressive if they feel threatened. They can also ruin outdoor activities and gatherings as well as damage plants and fruit.


Symptoms of a wasp or hornet infestation in a garden can include:

  • Seeing multiple wasps or hornets flying around the garden, especially in the vicinity of a nest or feeding on sweet or sugary substances.
  • Finding a nest in a tree, bush, or wall, which can be a round or football-shaped structure made of a papery material.
  • Seeing wasps or hornets crawling on plants and fruit, which can indicate that they are feeding or laying eggs on them.
  • Being stung by a wasp or hornet while in the garden, which can cause pain, redness, and swelling at the site of the sting. In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction can occur.
  • Noticing holes or damage on fruits and vegetables, which can be an indication of wasp or hornet feeding.
  • Seeing an increase in wasp or hornet activity in the area, which can be an indication of an active nest nearby.
  • Observing a swarm of wasps or hornets around the garden or house, which can be an indication of a colony trying to establish a new nest. It’s important to note that not all the symptoms mentioned above may be present in every case and that not all wasp and hornet infestations will be visible.

What is a Wasp or Hornet

A wasp and hornet can look different depending on the species but some general characteristics are:


  • Slender, elongated body with a narrow waist
  • Typically have yellow and black stripes, but some species may have different colors such as red or brown.
  • Clear wings
  • Two antennae on their head
  • A stinger at the end of their abdomen


  • Larger than a wasp, with a similar shape
  • More distinct yellow and black pattern on the body
  • Clear wings
  • Two antennae on their head
  • A stinger at the end of their abdomen It’s important to note that not all wasps and hornets will have the same exact physical characteristics, and that some species may have variations or different colors. If you suspect a wasp or hornet infestation, it is best to consult a professional for proper identification and treatment.

Treating a Wasp or Hornet Infestation

It may be necessary to use multiple methods to effectively treat a wasp or hornet infestation in a garden. For example, removing the nest and trapping the wasps or hornets can be done simultaneously, and deterrents can be used to prevent future infestations. In some cases, hiring a professional exterminator may be the best option as they have the knowledge, tools, and expertise to handle the infestation safely and efficiently.

It’s important to note that the treatment method you choose will depend on the severity of the infestation, the species of wasp or hornet, and your personal comfort level with the task. Some methods, such as nest removal, can be dangerous if not done properly and it is best to consult with a professional.

Nest Removal

Nest removal is a common method for treating a wasp or hornet infestation in a garden. Before attempting to remove the nest, it’s important to identify the type of wasp or hornet you are dealing with. Some species, such as yellow jackets, are more aggressive and may require professional extermination. It’s important to take care not to damage the nest as it might cause the wasps or hornets to become aggressive. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe removing the nest yourself, it is best to consult with a professional for help.

Here are some steps to follow for proper nest removal:

  • Locate the nest: Observe the flight patterns of the wasps or hornets, or search for a papery nest. Mark the location for easy identification.
  • Prepare for the task: Wear protective gear such as gloves, long sleeve shirt and pants, and a veil or mask to protect your face and body. It’s also important to have a long-handled tool or ladder to reach the nest, if it is out of reach.
  • Use insecticide: Use a dust or spray insecticide specifically labeled for wasp or hornet control. Spray the insecticide directly onto the nest, making sure to saturate it completely.
  • Wait for the insecticide to take effect: Wait for at least 24 hours before attempting to remove the nest, to ensure that the insecticide has had time to take effect.
  • Remove the nest: Once the insecticide has taken effect, remove the nest carefully. Use a long-handled tool to reach the nest and gently pull it down. 

Properly disposing of a wasp or hornet nest is an important step in the treatment process. Here are some steps to follow for proper nest disposal:

  • Wear protective gear: Even after the wasps or hornets have been eliminated, it’s important to wear protective gear when handling the nest.
  • Seal the nest: Before disposing of the nest, seal it in a plastic bag to prevent any remaining wasps or hornets from escaping.
  • Dispose of the nest: Once the nest is sealed, it should be disposed of in an appropriate manner. Some options include throwing it in the trash, burying it in the ground, or burning it.
  • Check for any remaining eggs or larvae: Before disposing of the nest, it’s important to check for any remaining eggs or larvae and repeat the process until the infestation is completely eliminated.

It’s important to note that some states or municipalities may have specific regulations regarding the disposal of wasp or hornet nests. It’s a good idea to check with your local authorities to ensure that you are disposing of the nest in an appropriate and legal manner.


  • Purchase or make a trap specifically designed for wasps or hornets. These traps can be baited with a sweet liquid or a protein-based bait
  • Place the trap in the area where the infestation is the worst. This could be near the nest, near a food source, or near an entry point to the house.
  • Check the trap regularly and dispose of any trapped wasps or hornets.
  • Keep in mind that trapping alone may not solve the problem, as it only captures adult wasps or hornets, it does not address the root of the problem.


  • Use wasp and hornet repellents such as peppermint oil, cinnamon, or citrus scents. These natural repellents can be sprayed around the perimeter of the garden or house, or used in a diffuser.
  • Keep trash cans sealed and clean up any spills or crumbs that may attract wasps or hornets.
  • Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible, especially during peak wasp or hornet activity.
  • Keep an eye on sweet-smelling flowers and fruits, as they are a favorite food source for wasps and hornets.
  • Use yellow light bulbs, as it is known that it repels wasps.

Professional Extermination

  • Hire a professional exterminator who has the experience and equipment to safely and effectively eliminate a wasp or hornet infestation.
  • A professional exterminator will be able to identify the type of wasp or hornet and will use appropriate methods to remove the nest and control the population.
  • They will also be able to advise on preventing future infestations and provide tips on keeping your garden and home wasp-free.