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stemnyjones's avatar

2 questions about wasps... is there a way to kill a wasp nest without pesticides, and do they have any type of memory?

Asked by stemnyjones (3969points) June 14th, 2010

There’s a hanging nest right above the door of my apartment. Every time I go outside with my 8 month old daughter, they start flying a little too close for my comfort.

So, I called the front desk about it and they said they’d write up a report for maintenance, but every time they’ve said that in the past, it means that they don’t think maintenance should have to do that (the times we’ve called and maintenance actually came, they paiged them right away then told us they were on the way). We don’t have any pesticides or extra cash at the moment, so I was wondering, just until I get a paycheck… is there a way to kill them without pesticides? And I noticed that at my mom’s house they kept coming back to the same spot even when she knocked the nest onto the ground, so is there a way to stop them from coming back?

My second question comes up because earlier I tried to spray a mixture of Dawn & water onto the nest (someone told me that would work). The spray didn’t quite go high enough to reach them, but they immediately all stopped what they were doing and opened their wings, so I ran back inside before they could attack. If I go back out there in an hour or two, will they immediately swarm me?

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16 Answers

filmfann's avatar

I had to deal with a nest by my pool yesterday. You can knock it down with a super soaker, and they will abandon a nest that is on the ground.

stemnyjones's avatar

@filmfann I figured they would abandon a downed nest, but in the case of my mom’s house they continually rebuild the nest in the same spot. Maybe she didn’t break it down good enough.

I read that I should deal with the nest after dark. I wonder, if I hit the nest down (right by my door, unfortunately) at night, if I will be able to get into the house before they come out..

WestRiverrat's avatar

VexCon from the TV show use a natural pesticide for wasps and stinging insects. It doesn’t harm mammals, birds or reptiles. Video feeds are blocked or I would link you to the show where he says what he uses.

MissAusten's avatar

What kind of wasps are they? Some are more aggressive than others. For example, if they are yellow jackets, they probably won’t bother you unless you bother them. If they are bald faced hornets, on the other hand, they will more aggressively defend the nest and may sting you just for walking nearby.

If all else fails, wait until you’ve had a couple of good frosts. The wasps will die when the weather is cold (except for the queen, but she leaves) and you can safely knock down the nest then.

MissAusten's avatar

This article describes how to remove a wasp nest without chemicals, but it sounds risky to me.

stemnyjones's avatar

@MissAusten Problem is, it doesn’t frost here. I live in Louisiana.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Just buy a can of Raid Bee and Wasp spray for $4 and be done with it. They are not your friends. Screwing around with detergents and friendly sprays is dangerous.
Use something potent that will do the job quickly. The best application time is early morning when it’s still cool outside and they are inside the nest.

Don’t wait for them to sting you or your daughter. Just do it. Or ask a neighbor to do it for you and give him a beer or brownies in return.

MissAusten's avatar

Oh, you’re screwed. They’ll just keep making the nest bigger and bigger until it envelopes the entire building. ;)

Well, you can either ignore them, poison them, or suit up in something that will protect you from stings and remove the nest like my link above describes. You could also lean on the apartment manager. Tell them you will pay someone to remove it, but deduct the cost from your rent. Include a receipt. Or, say you suspect your child is allergic and if the nest isn’t removed and she is stung you’ll hold them responsible. Keep bothering them until they finally deal with it.

Usually, I’m in favor of leaving wasps alone. Their life cycle can be fascinating to observe. There’s usually a nest somewhere nearby that we keep an eye on during the summer so we can watch the process of egg-larva-pupa-adult. We’ve never been stung. However, if the wasps are so near a busy area and behave aggressively, I understand you wanting them gone. Good luck!

Edited to add: If you can find out what kind of wasps they are, I’d be happy to look up more specific information.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I once destroyed a nest up in a tree with my 12 ga shotgun, full choke, loaded with a 3” shell of #6 shot. Now you see it. Now you don’t.
You probably can’t do that in your apartment complex, but it is a “pesticide free” solution.

SmashTheState's avatar

Yes, @worriedguy, you’ve successfully proven that you’re smarter than an insect the length of your thumb, with a brain the size of the head of a pin. Congratulations.

@stemnyjones Rather than suggest you acquire a Civil War cannon and blow off the side of your building, my advice would be to relocate the nest to somewhere more satisfactory to you and the wasps. Where the queen goes they’ll follow, so if you wear protective clothing, smoke the nest, then detach it and move it into the branches of a tree nearby, they’ll probably follow the queen there happily. Wasps are good to have as neighbours, since many species prey on other insects which will otherwise annoy you.

ItsAHabit's avatar

If the nest is not in a location that might be flammable, you can destroy it with fire. That both kills the nest and the wasps and they obviously can’t return. You might want to have a water hose handy just in case of an unexpected fire emergency.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@SmashTheState Moving the nest is a great idea. Will you help @stemnyjones do it? I sure won’t.

stemnyjones's avatar

Haha. Hey, guys… I just got someone to knock it off of the wall. Thanks though. x)

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Ha-ha. Your question sounds like you are really worries about offending the little critters. What is wrong with pesticides? We have quite a wasp problem in the town where I live, and we find that hitting the nest with a high-pressure hose does a good job. Even better is a can of wasp spray. It sprays really far and really hard so you aren’t close enough to the nest to get stung. On a side note, I read on line somewhere that carrying a can of wasp spray is the best personal defense you can have. Better than pepper spray or even a gun. It’s legal, it sprays really far, and it stops the bad guy in his tracks.

stemnyjones's avatar

At the time I didn’t want to use pesticides because of my baby daughter.

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