I recently discovered a fairly large (a few hundred wasps, from the look of it) wasp-nest under the eaves on the side of my house.

Anyways, I called a exterminator (Terminix, actually), and they tried to push a year-long maintenance contract on me, and claimed that wasps leave pheremones, and if you don't continually kill them off, they will keep coming back.

In my own research, there is no note of this particular wasp behaviour on wikipedia, and I have actually found a lot of insect-control websites that specifically say wasps don't nest in the same place every year. This makes me think that Terminix may be stringing me along a bit.

Has anyone heard this claim "they will return unless you kill them off repeatedly" statement before, or is it likely that I can deal with it myself with a can of wasp-killer spray?

  • 1
    Remember that wasps are also beneficial to humans, except for the stinging. Many eat the insects that want to eat your vegetable garden. Can you tolerate them until they leave the nest for winter?
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Sep 9, 2012 at 14:43
  • 5
    Just walk around your house every once in a while, and take care of these things before they get out of control.
    – dbracey
    Sep 9, 2012 at 19:39
  • 1
    I have heard such a claim by exterminators before as well... You inspired me to ask this question on Skeptics Sep 10, 2012 at 11:31
  • I had to use wasp killer on a few nests in the corner of my backyard fence last year. I sprayed very thoroughly, and didn't see any for the rest of the year. This year they were back in the same spot again. I'm aware that it's only anecdotal evidence, but from my experience they can (maybe by just coincidence) return to the same spot.
    – Doresoom
    Sep 10, 2012 at 20:15
  • 4
    They may simply be returning to the same spot because it matches the same criteria as being a good place for a nest -- sheltered and so on.
    – keshlam
    Oct 6, 2014 at 4:35

10 Answers 10


A $3 can of wasp spray will do the trick. Hit them at dusk, soak down the nest. The nest will be empty come morning. Some sprays say on the label that they will repel wasps for a couple of months. I always carry several cans of spray in my truck as I run into them constantly when working on houses. Go get um !!!!

  • 2
    Well, the can I bought was actually $5.99, but it sure did work.
    – Fake Name
    Oct 20, 2012 at 3:35
  • I've used M-80 firecrackers taped to the end of a pole. They work well, but are liable to blow a hole through the soffit if not handled properly and are likely now illegal in all 50 states. Apr 18, 2015 at 11:33
  • 1
    @WayfaringStranger - Ha. Yeah, any wasps that the M-80 doesn't stun are going to be pretty pissed off. They're not 100% illegal but practically any incorporated area, especially in semi-arid regions, will either ban fireworks specifically or anything more than a cigg lighter in general.
    – KeithS
    Sep 8, 2015 at 20:34

I do not believe that wasps return to the same location to nest.

You can deal with removing the nest yourself, or depending on where you live and how cold it gets, you can wait till the winter as they will naturally die when it gets cold.

Here are instructions:

Wasp nest removal is a fairly simple process. Finding the nest usually entails a quick survey for heavy wasp traffic during dusk or dawn, when wasps tend to return to the nest. Once the sun is down for the evening and you've noticed less traffic near the nest, dress yourself with multiple layers of clothing, and find a pair of gloves, just in case. Then, go out to the nest and spray the entrance with any wasp killing agent, like Raid. Spray liberally, but avoid inhaling too much of the poison. Most wasp poisons kill on contact, but it's best to be safe by slowly leaving the area, as sudden movements can attract attention.

Which wasp killer you use depends on where the nest is:

For nests that are located underground, you will want to use a wasp killer that is not labeled as a projectile spray. You want very little spray for yellow jacket nests that are found underground.

For nests that are elevated, you will want to find a can of wasp and hornet killer that is labeled as a projectile spray. This will ensure a stream of wasp poison roughly 15–20 feet in length, allowing plenty of distance to make a quick escape if necessary.

Repeating this process twice or even three times may be necessary until you're certain the nest has been vacated. Once you see that there is no traffic, it's probably safe to knock down the nest if it's an aerial nest, or fill the nest with dirt and gravel if it's in the ground. This should be the end of your wasp problem until the next migration cycle.

source: getridofthings.com

  • oh they do, I destroyed a nest with wasp spray, right outside my door last year, now they are back building a nest at the exact same spot.
    – KoKo
    Jul 8, 2017 at 23:57
  • 1
    @KoKo, you know the real estate slogan, "location, location, location"? That applies to wasps, too. If they keep coming back to the same spot, it may just be an ideal location for a nest, rather than pheromones, as the OP was advised.
    – fixer1234
    Jul 10, 2017 at 16:45
  • @fixer1234, How do I make the location non-ideal for wasps?
    – KoKo
    Jul 11, 2017 at 2:25

As a retired telco lineman, I had daily encounters with yellow jacket wasps. I used to finish the summer days with wasps' nests past my ankles in the bottom of the bucket. As in bucket truck. We had to deal with them when we we opened the enclosure, and they would be pretty angry due to our invasion of their home in the telco equipment. A couple of tips: always wear glasses that cover the eyes well, as they will try and sting you in the eyes if your eyes are close to their nest. You could use a CO2 fire extinguisher, as it will freeze them and stop their activity.

The statement that the wasps will return, is in a way true, since any good home will again be used by the wasps looking for a place to call their own next year. One thing I did notice over the winter, when working in the splices: the surviving nests were vacant, but if I probed around in the nest I would see a larger wasp, the queen. It seems the queen would survive the winter, and may in fact start a new nest. If you remove the whole nest, and destroy it, this shouldn't be a problem. Make sure you will not fall off a ladder, or fall if being stung, because this has killed utility workers. It is a good idea to have someone on standby if you get stung, since your throat will swell closed, and anaphylactic shock can set in, even if you never had a reaction before. If you don't have help ready, you won't live to tell the tale. It happens quickly and kills, even in urban areas with hospital and ambulances nearby.


My trick to get rid of inaccessible wasp nests is to set up a shop vac for a half a day sucking at their entry point. Once all the wasps are in the shop vac I suck up some raid spray. I then seal up the hole in the house. Works well. I guess if you really want to let them go you could take them somewhere and release them out of the shop vac. Good karma?


It's bad enough to have to kill insects, but poisoning them is unnecessary and bad karma.

A good method for moving or exterminating them is to act at dusk or in the earliest part of a cool morning, while they are sluggish or immobile (per other postings). Also, as suggested elsewhere, wear protection.
Take a large (enough) plastic bag and gently envelope the nest with it. Carefully gather the bag opening around the nest attach point. As you pull the nest from its attach point, close the top of the bag and secure it with a knot or bag closure. Then either toss the bag into the trash or else relocate it and open the top, assuming the insects are still inactive.

I've done this several times with wasps, and it works very well.

  • 6
    First: Karma is not real.
    – Fake Name
    Oct 20, 2012 at 3:33
  • 5
    Second, if you want to come over to my house, get on a ladder, and scrape a hornet's nest off from a hard-to-access cranny under the eaves, so the hornets don't get hurt, you're welcome to. I personally want a solution that won't end up with me dropping an angry hornet's nest on my foot.
    – Fake Name
    Oct 20, 2012 at 3:34
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    When you throw a closed bag in the trash, I'm pretty sure they die a slow agonizing death (starvation, dehydration, or suffocation).
    – BMitch
    Oct 20, 2012 at 11:07
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    Have you given any thought to the karma related to the wasp stings some unsuspecting garbage collector will get while working on your street?
    – user14416
    Oct 2, 2013 at 20:07
  • Me and my dad have done pretty much the same thing with a 50cm Hornets nest. The only difference was that it was 3 very thick plastic bags and instead of a trash bin, we choose to dump into a campfire.
    – kaiser
    Oct 20, 2014 at 1:19

I have been watching hornets build a huge nest inside a decorative bird feeder I have in my garden (never used as an actual feeder). I leave them alone as I walk by and they leave me alone. I plan to remove the entire nest this coming January. I also have wasps nesting next to my small garage door in the door frame. Again I walk in and out and they simply fly by coming and going to their nest. I plan to plug the hole later this fall after we have had some cold weather. I do not like the idea of killing all those insects with poison. They are better insect control than I could buy. I am not allergic to stings, but they seem docile as long as I give them their space. Why is our first reaction to KILL?

  • Depends on the aggressiveness or hostility of the “hornets”, which could be referring to anything from yellow jacket wasps, to bald-faced white hornets, to mud daubers or paper wasps — the question wasn't more detailed. Yes, even the bald-faced hornets, which can be almost as territorial as humans, should be regarded with compassion like you'd have for anybody, but such hornets will attack on–sight those who stand too near their nest. Like some people. Anyways, I have seen that happen. Mar 11, 2017 at 1:26
  • Because most humans are far removed from the nature that sustains us at this point in our development. Anything that interferes with their comfort or security is something to be removed, despite what place it plays in our food chain, and the environment that we need to live that we take for granted (air, water, etc).
    – user66001
    Nov 4, 2019 at 17:36

They usually vacate in October/November. I've been watching them come and go all summer in my fascia boards. They do not bother us, I do not bother them.

  • -1 not really an answer to the question of will they return or how do you remove them.
    – BMitch
    Oct 2, 2013 at 17:51
  • 2
    +1 on avoiding insecticides and learning to live with them.
    – mike
    Oct 2, 2013 at 18:24
  • Correct that it doesn't address the OP's question directly, but then again it seems that the consensus on this page is that they may come back and build another nest in the same spot regardless of one removing last years one, so if not in a place that will affect people, tend to agree with kas. Like many other parts of nature that us humans are not taught are part of the system we have to be a part of (food chain), wasps serve a purpose and we can't just kill them all and not suffer affects immediately or down the line in our lives.
    – user66001
    Nov 4, 2019 at 17:30

I had wasps in my screen room 2 weeks ago and called an exterminator. Because I said I had them in my screen room he sprayed the screen room inside and out and never looked up at the deck which is the roof of my screen room. Less than a week later, 8 wasps were in my screen room then the next day my friend walked onto my deck and was swarmed by wasps.

I ended up using a can Ortho Hornet and Wasp Killer foam and he doused my door frame where the nest was located plus he did around the window. The wasps fled then I insured their departure by spraying with Spectracide Pro Wasp and Hornet Killer that shoots 20 feet. It's been 3 days and so far so good. You can handle removing wasps with plain old wasp killer you can buy at your local hardware store. It's a lot cheaper than an exterminator.


Glad to hear the can worked for you. Two years ago we had 3 wasps nests on the house. All three were in the cavity of the wall behind the brick. I take it from the above your nest was external to the house. I must have spent $200 on cans trying to attack these guys as they were a threat to us, coming into the living space and generally owning the property. One was in a dryer vent, one was in a weep hole and the third one was in a window corner having bored through caulking and insulation. I read up on this a bit and the understanding is we got three nests because when an established nest gets big enough part of its community along with a new queen fly off (can't remember the term) but if you witness it it is like a cloud leaving the mother ship and they don't go very far to build a new one. So that would have happened 2 times likely while we were on vacation away from the home. As it got colder the wasps just couldn't move very well, any left in the walls died in the winter and no wasps have come back although we did seal up the entries pretty good. For the dryer vent and window issue we re-caulked and for the weep hole we installed a stainless steel insert in all of them. This past summer was peaceful.

I have to chuckle because a in doing a ton of research I found a guy with the same issue and his solution was to stand at the front of the entry point with a tennis racquet and swat each one as it came out. I didn't have the nerve for that.


Go on domyownpestcontrol.com get yourself a sprayer. Then type in Demon WP (Wettable powder...Active ingredient...Cypermethrin.40%). This product comes in envelopes with four little packets of chemical. Mix two packets in a gallon of water and then proceed to agitate your sprayer. The mixture will look like sandy water, and must be agitated every few minutes to ensure the powder doesn't settle after spraying. it does however leave a white film over area of treatment. Use a pin stream nozzle and spray nests. After you get the nests, adjust the nozzle to fan or cone spray and hit all areas within 10 feet of the nests that wasps may hide. DO NOT remove the nests the same day as there will be foraging wasps out during time of treatment. Allow at least 24 hours for complete kill. Demon WP does kill wasps within a few minutes, but if you desire an instant kill, I would recommend adding a product called Exciter ( emulsifiable concentrate...pyrethrin.6%..piperonyl butoxide.60%.) . This contains Pyrethrins only which will give you a quick kill but no residual activity. However mixing the two together will give you a fast initial kill of wasps, and about three months of residual activity. While your at it, spray the foundation 2 feet up, and 5 feet out of your house to prevent crawling insects from gaining access. Or if you want to you can go with the cheap raid aerosol which will only kill the wasps that are there. Also wasp spray is oil based, so it is likely to stain or even kill/injure plants.

Sources.. 8 years of experience as a licensed pesticide applicator in NJ

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