How to Get Rid of Wasps

Five Parts:Physical RemovalHomemade InsecticideBait and TrapGetting Rid of NestsTraditional Chemical Control

Wasps can pollinate flowers and offer a range of other benefits, but when a nest develops near your home or workplace, you may have no choice but to get rid of them. Here are a few different ways to go about the task.

Part 1
Physical Removal

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    Swat the wasps. The simplest, most direct way to kill a wasp is to smack it with a flyswatter. This only works if you are trying to get rid of a small number of wasps, though, and comes with its own pros and cons.
    • Note that this is a very risky tactic, however. Wasps are quick, and if you have slow reflexes, you are likely to get stung when the wasp flies away and tries to defend itself.
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    Vacuum or sweep the wasps away. If the wasps are low on energy and crawling around your floors, you can get rid of them by sweeping them out of the door with a broom or by sucking them up with a vacuum cleaner.[1]
    • It is advisable to do this as soon as spring arrives, and as soon as wasps start coming out of hibernation. They tend to be slow and sluggish, making it easier to catch them and sweep them away.
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    Reposition flowers and hide appealing food sources.[2] Flowers, food, and drinks can all attract wasps. Get rid of them by removing their reason for hanging around. Move flowers to the far side of your yard and hide away food and drink.
    • Move potted flowers away from your house and avoid using sweet or floral perfumes, shampoos, lotions, or soaps.
    • Hide all animal food and human food, as well as soda and alcohol. Do not let it linger outside, especially in the heat. The protein and sugar can attract the wasps.

Part 2
Homemade Insecticide

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    Make a natural insecticide with peppermint oil. There are natural insecticides you can buy that make use of peppermint oil, but if you cannot find one or want to save a few bucks, you could try making your own at home by diluting a little peppermint oil with water and applying it as a spray.[3]
    • Mix 2 cups (500 ml) of water with 30 drops of peppermint essential oil in a spray bottle. Spray this solution on wasps and nests.
    • Consider mixing 2 Tbsp (30 ml) of shampoo or dish soap into the spray bottle, as well. The soap will make sure that the peppermint sticks.
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    Kill the wasps with soapy water. A combination of hot water and dish soap can kill wasps instantly when sprayed directly on them.
    • Add 2 to 4 Tbsp (30 to 60 ml) of liquid dish soap to 2 cups (500 ml) of water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on wasps and on developing nests.
    • If you use a hose end sprayer, you can attack the nest more directly and more easily.
    • The soap clings to the wasps and dehydrates them.
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    Spray WD-40.[4] If you have a spray can of WD-40 on hand, that, too, can be used as a home-based insecticide. The exact reason why this household chemical proves effective is not always agreed upon, but many believe that the scent alone is powerful enough to suffocate the wasps.
    • Spray a generous amount of WD-40 in any areas you have seen wasps frequent, especially if the area seems like a small crevice that wasps would like to build a nest in. You should also use the spray to drench any existing nests you spot.
    • After an hour or so, you should be able to remove any nests you sprayed directly. The wasps inside should be dead, at least for the most part.
    • Note that some people recommend burning the nests after spraying them with WD-40, but this is unnecessary and can be extremely risky if you cannot control the flame.

Part 3
Bait and Trap

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    Buy a lure trap. Hang a commercially-bought lure trap in an area the wasps frequent. Check every few days and replace as needed once the trap begins to fill up.[5]
    • Lure traps contain chemicals, such as hepytl butyrate, that smell pleasing to various wasps. Once wasps wander into the traps, they are unable to climb their way back out.
    • Place these traps as far away from living quarters as possible to draw the wasps away from you.
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    Make your own water trap. A water trap can be made at home with a bucket or 2-L plastic bottle. Fill the container will water and lure the wasps to the sight with an appetizing smell.[6]
    • Cut the neck off a 2 L plastic bottle. With the cap off, turn the neck upside-down and let it rest inside the bottom portion of the bottle. Hold together with strong tape.
    • Be sure to bait the trap. You can use sugar water, soda, or pieces of meat and other protein.
    • Wipe a layer of cooking oil around the edges of the trap so that it becomes too slippery for the wasps to stand on.
    • Hang the trap using a piece of thick string or rope.
    • Before emptying the trap, freeze it or pour boiling water into it to kill any remaining living wasps.
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    Purchase a bait station. A bait station is an enclosed trap that lures wandering wasps inside, at which point the wasps are killed with a chemical insecticide
    • Most bait stations nowadays use Esfenvalerate, but this poison is not as potent as poisons contained in older bait stations. As such, its effectiveness is limited.
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    Set glue traps. Glue traps are minimally effective against wasps since they are generally used against pests without wings, but if there is an area in your house or garage that wasps frequently crawl around, you can place one of these traps there.
    • Place glue traps near wasp nests and near entryways to the nest. This is especially useful in the early stages of nest development, since the wasp population is smaller at this point and more easily controlled.
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    Make a drinking station bait. This is effective early in the season.
    • Establish a drinking station by putting a plant pot in a tray and keeping the tray topped up with water. Place it in a sunny position, and the wasps will learn to drink there.
    • Buy an insecticide powder containing a pyrethroid such as permethrin (a natural product extracted from chrysanthemums).
    • Mix the powder to a paste and stir water into it. Fill the water tray and keep it topped up.
    • The insecticide will break down after a day or two, so keep adding fresh water to attract more wasps, and repeat the whole process every three to five days.

Part 4
Getting Rid of Nests

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    Hang a fake nest. Chase wasps away at their first appearance by hanging a fake nest around your home or around any area you want wasps to stay away from.
    • You can buy a product designed to look like a real nest, or you can use a paper lantern or brown paper bag.
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    Knock the nest down. If the season is early and the nest is still small, knocking the nest down time after time after time will discourage the wasps, which will eventually look elsewhere to build. Use a broom, stick, or similar tool
    • Wasps can be persistent, so it may take persistence on your part before you have success. Expect to knock the nest down several times before the wasps give up.
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    Capture and seal the nest. One way to destroy a nest and the wasps that live there is to seal it inside of a plastic bag. Tying this bag up tightly can prevent wasps from escaping, thereby suffocating and starving them.
    • Once the activity at the nest quiets down, quickly put a thick plastic bag over it and tie it off at the top. Tear the nest away from its position and tighten the tie.
    • The plastic must have an airtight seal. Leave it outside in the sun for several days to ensure that the wasps die off, or freeze the bag for a few days in a deep freezer.
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    Drown the nest. For a faster kill, you can capture the nest in a cloth bag and dunk it into a large tub of water, drowning the wasps instantly.
    • When the activity of the nest quiets at night, place a cloth bag over it and quickly tie the top. Yank the nest away from its fixed position and quickly dunk it in a tub or bucket of cold water.
    • Keep the nest submerged by dropping a weight, large rock, or multiple medium-size rocks on top of it.

Part 5
Traditional Chemical Control

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    Use insecticides on the wasps and on the nest. Depending on the insecticide you purchase, it should either be applied directly to any individual wasps you see or to the entire nest.
    • Insecticides are most effective when used in enclosed spaces with closed windows and doors.
    • Try a freeze-type insecticide. These products freeze the nest on contact, which can dramatically slow wasps down and limit their ability to attack and defend.
    • Wasps attack when they sense a threat to themselves or to the nest, however, so you need to work fast and work at a time when the wasps are less active, like at night.
    • Some insecticide hoses can shoot a stream as far away as 20 feet (6 m).
    • Spray cracks and crevices early in the season. At the first signs of a problem, you should apply insecticides and repellents to kill the early-comers and discourage others from showing up.
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    Call a professional exterminator. When dealing when chemical insecticides, professional exterminators might be a safer alternative than DIY tactics, especially if the nest or wasp infestation is inside a structure instead of outside.
    • If a nest is in the walls of your home, an exterminator might carefully drill a hole in the window frame, floor, or wall near the nest's location. The exterminator can pump insecticides through this hole to reach the nest.
    • Another advantage of hiring a professional exterminator is that he or she will have access to stronger chemicals, so the wasps might die quicker.


  • Always perform DIY treatment at night. Wasps tend to be less active in the dark, but they will respond quickly to light sources, so a flashlight might be enough to give away your location.
  • It is also a good idea to wait until temperatures cool before treating nests, since wasps tend to be less active and less aggressive when they get cold.
  • If you're trying to locate a wasp nest, pay close attention to the location the majority of wasps return to. Nests are typically located under roof eaves, behind shutters, or in sheds, but they can be found along fences and in holes in the wall, as well.[7]


  • If you do not know whether or not you are allergic to wasp and bee stings, have an allergy test performed by your doctor before attempting to handle wasps directly.
  • Wear protective gear when trying to get rid of wasps. Cover as much skin as possible. Wear thick gloves and, if you can, a hat with a headnet attached.
  • Do not try to get rid of the wasps yourself if you are allergic to wasp or bee venom or if the nest is in a spot that is difficult to access.

Things You'll Need

  • Fly swatter
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Broom
  • Peppermint oil
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Dish soap
  • WD-40
  • Lure trap
  • Sugar water or protein bait
  • 2 L plastic bottle
  • Knife or scissors
  • Plastic bag
  • Cloth bag
  • Tub of water
  • Bait station
  • Glue trap
  • Rope
  • Fake nest
  • Chemical insecticide
  • Protective clothing

Article Info

Categories: Home and Garden