Hornets and wasps are responsible for hundreds of deaths each year, making hornet nest removal dangerous business. Many unfortunate homeowners have learned the hard way that removing wasp nests is never as easy as it may seem. According to Canevazzi and Noll, authors of the paper Environmental Factors Influencing Foraging Activity in the Social Wasp, wasps can be active year round and will protect their nest at any time.
Those who have experienced the burning sensation of a wasp sting know that getting stung once is already too much, and most wasp nests contain upwards of 10,000 wasps. Even for people who are not allergic to these painful stings, serious health threats can occur with the hundreds of potential stings that are nearly always inflicted when a nest is “attacked”.
Hornets are actually members of the wasp family. When wasps sting, they do not lose their stinger, unlike bees, which means they can sting repeatedly and often do. Most stings in Colorado are from yellowjackets and the European paper wasp, a new resident. There are several other stinging types of wasps found in Colorado: mud daubers, western yellowjackets, hornets, and paper wasps, all of which produce painful and potentially dangerous stings.
Different types of wasps build their nests in different places and shapes. Mud daubers build cylindrical tubes of clay under eaves and on chimney ledges. Hornets create the familiar football-shaped hanging paper nest, while paper wasps prefer eaves and playground equipment for their umbrella-shaped nests. Yellowjackets build similar nests underground, which can be a real shock to the unsuspecting gardener, especially when thousands of wasps emerge in a patriotic rage! Wasps tend to stay relatively close to home, unless they are chasing an attacker. Also, wasps frequently build nests inside walls, making it difficult for homeowners to identify and access the problem area.
Wasp traps are commonly found in garden and variety stores and can help eliminate individual wasps, but not the colony. The biggest problem with wasp traps is that they only attract yellowjackets and none of the other varieties.
Another common option for homeowners is to use wasp spray to kill a colony before removing the nest. The aerosol can sprays a stream of poison 20-30’ to the nest in an effort to kill its inhabitants. There are several big problems with this method. First, wasps tend to fight back. Second, you are spraying poison in your yard. And lastly, it is practically impossible to tell if all the wasps are dead until you have your hands on the nest, likely while perched precariously on a ladder. This can have disastrous consequences.
Discouraging the presence of wasps is much easier than getting rid of an established colony. Wasps are meat eaters, and consequently are attracted to garbage, uncleaned grills, pet food, and your picnic lunch. They are also attracted to sweat, perfume, and flowers. There are mixed reviews of claims that fake wasp nests can deter the establishment of a new colony. To kill an individual wasp, a can of hairspray works wonders, but carrying around the can may become tiresome.
A serious infestation requires professional wasp removal due to the level of danger involved. Pest removal experts have the necessary protective gear, professional equipment, and nontoxic chemicals that kill all the wasps in the nest without exposing children and pets to harsh poisons. Using professionals provides your family with guaranteed results and intact family members, taking the sting out of wasp nest removal.