The insect order Hymenoptera is one of the largest orders in the animal kingdom with nearly 200,000 described species of ants, bees, wasps, sawflies and more. Hymenoptera is made up of both social and solitary bee and wasp species, many of which are common urban pests. Carpenter bees, mud dauber wasps, and cicada killer wasps are the most commonly managed solitary Hymenoptera species in the country. With the exception of ants, paper wasps and yellow jackets are the most commonly managed social Hymenoptera pests on urban and suburban properties. While all yellow jacket species construct nests from raw materials collected from the environment, some species build above ground nests in trees, shrubs, on structures, and within structures, while other species build nests within ground burrows on residential and commercial properties. While encountering an above ground nest near or within a home is certainly alarming, people are more likely to anger ground nesting species after accidentally disturbing their obscured nests.
When one or a few indoor wasps are found, homeowners can carefully eliminate the pests with a vacuum, but more extensive infestations should be handled by a licensed and trained pest control professional. Rather than using traditional insecticide sprays, pest control professionals often use a vacuum to remove wasps and nesting materials within wall voids, and trowels are often used to dislodge or expose nests in hard-to-reach locations. Vacuums are also commonly used for removing wasps and nesting material from ground burrows. Since ground-nesting wasps often excavate additional entry roots near the burrow, pest control professionals must pinpoint each alternate entrance before filling them with soil to prevent wasps from escaping while the nest is being treated. After all wasp inhabitants are sucked from their ground burrow and into a vacuum, the nest material is removed. Removing wasp nests is a dangerous undertaking, which is why pest control professionals wear protective clothing while dealing with social wasps and their nests. The best time to remove a wasp nest is during the morning or evening when the weather is cool and all wasps are likely present within the nest. Disturbing wasp nests either accidentally or deliberately during a removal effort is the most common cause of fatal envenomation incidents.
Have you ever attempted to remove a wasp nest without professional intervention?