If you can’t get to the nest, there are other measures you can take to help get rid of the wasps.
Logic dictates that if you can’t get to the wasp hoard, they can come to you.
So you should look into baiting them into some DIY solutions to bring their population down.
Here are some possible solutions to get rid of wasps when you can’t find the nest or can’t see it.
Identifying the nest
Note that yellow jackets don’t nest in eaves or awnings. Their nests are on ground level rather than hanging.
Wasp nests will hang from eaves or roofing. This is one way to easily tell the difference between yellow jackets vs. wasp nests.
It’s important to know the difference because they’re two different species with different housing habits.
Wasps build their nests in a variety of locations, depending on the species.
Some common places where wasps build their nests include trees and branches (bald-faced hornets). Paper wasps tend to nest in house eaves. Potter wasps like to nest in sides of homes like mud daubers.
Yellow jackets tend to hide in random holes and containers.
Some species even excavate large holes in the ground like cicada killer wasps.
Types of wasp nests
They are typically made of a material known as paper, which is made up of chewed-up wood and plant fibers.
This is why soaking it with water makes it clump, which eventually can ruin the nest entirely.
Some common types of wasp nests include the following:
- Paper Wasp Nest: These are small and flat, with a honeycomb-like structure- not to be confused with bee’s nests. You can find them hanging from eaves, branches, or other structures.
- Mud Dauber Nest: These nests are made of mud. Because of their structure, they’re big and are often long and cylindrical. These nests are usually found attached to walls or other vertical surfaces.
- Yellowjacket Nest: These secretive nests are usually located underground or in other hidden locations because of their nature. They are often made of paper and have a distinctive spherical shape, which makes it easy to tell the difference from wasp nests.
- Bald-Faced Hornet Nest: These nests are usually large and round with a signature, dark grayish-brown color. They are often found hanging from trees or other tall structures.
- Potter Wasp Nest: These nests look like miniature clay pots with a small hole at the top similar to paper nests. Female wasps will build their nests on the walls of houses or underground, mixing dirt and water in their mouths to build it.
- Cicada Killer Wasp Nest: These nests are usually located in the ground and can be identified by the large holes, but you’ll need to look closely. They use this to deposit eggs.
How to find the wasp nest
If you’ve tried all the passive approaches but you’re still finding them buzzing around your property, maybe it’s time to locate the nest itself. Then you can get it removed.
Check around the eves, window corners, and fencing. They love to hide in wooden objects that have joints or provide some kind of gap for them to nestle in.
Look for cluttered areas with junk storage. Windowsills, awnings, shingles, roofing, porches, barns, sheds, rafters, or patios are all prime targets for nests.
They like covered areas that safeguard them from the elements (rain, sun, etc.). If you find it, there are some things you need to consider.
If it’s a paper nest, use a sprayer to soak it down. Stay at least 20 feet away wearing proper PPE in case they swarm. Do NOT attempt this if you don’t have the proper protection to shield yourself from them.
Call a professional instead. The ideal time to spray is in the evening twilight because they’re quietly resting during that time. Once you spray it, they’ll start flying out. Pay careful attention to the exit of the nest.
When the nest is soaked, use an insecticide wasp killer at the entrance of the nest. It’s where you saw wasps coming out of earlier. You can use an insecticide spray or dust right on this spot.
Do it in the evening. Be extremely quiet with proper protection. Again, do NOT attempt if you don’t have the proper gear or if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Eventually, they’ll come into contact with the poison, which kills the queen. They’ll abandon the nest.
Wasps bring food back to the nest to feed their young.
Use a spray
You can buy a wasp spray made just for wasps. Read all warnings before use.
This can help kill the wasps that are active within an area but won’t eliminate them as you don’t know where the nest is.
It’s only good for temporary wasp control if you have a lot of them.
If you can’t get to the nest, using a wasp spray is ideal.
Use a wasp trap
Buy a wasp trap from your local hardware store. These are specifically designed with pheromones to bait in male wasps.
They fly into the trap. Then they get stuck in the adhesive or funnel-shaped cone depending on what kind of trap it is. It works by killing the males because they can’t procreate without them so eventually the wasp population will be forced to migrate.
Even if you can’t see the nest or don’t know where it is, these traps work because you only need to place them where you see wasp activity. Usually, they hang to a hook or a stake.
Use as directed. Set up multiple stations for effective wasp control, but don’t place two of them too close in proximity because it reduces the effect. It’s cheap and passive, and it works even if you can’t get to the nest.
This is probably the easiest solution, but it does take some time for it to kick in. So if you’re in a rush, you may want to try something else. Keep reading.
Here are some popular choices (links to Amazon):
Build a DIY wasp catcher
You can also build your own wasp nest if you don’t want to buy one.
Simply fill an empty plastic bottle with something sweet like dish soap.
The wasps will be drawn to the soap and will be trapped inside.
Here’s how to make one:
- Cut off the top third of any 2 liter bottle.
- Invert the top part of the bottle and place it inside the bottom two-thirds of the bottle. So it’s basically like a funnel.
- Fill the trap with a mixture of sugar water or fruit juice. You can use anything sweet.
- Some pole use Dawn dish soap. Experiments with the volume of water you use.
- Place the trap in an area where wasps frequent, like your patio or garden.
If you have no access to their nest or can’t see it, it’s an ideal solution to use a wasp trap instead.
Make a wasp killer
Use a natural wasp killer. You can make a natural wasp killer at home using water and Dawn dish soap.
See the video following:
Call a professional
Tried everything but can’t get rid of the nest. Or do the wasps just keep building new ones?
Consider calling a pro to come handle the issue. They have access to industrial-grade supplies that the public can’t buy.
If you want to save time or energy (or just get it done right), just hire someone to do it for you. Call your local pest control companies. Get some quotes. If you’re able to find one that offers green or organic solutions, go for it.
Keeping wasps out
There are several ways to prevent wasps from building nests on your property.
Remove food sources
Wasps are attracted to sweet and sugary foods. Dish soap too.
Wasps love this sweet smelling foods so make sure to clean up any spills or crumbs around your home. This is why you see them buzzing around your plants or other edibles.
Keep your garbage cans tightly sealed and remove any overripe fruit from your yard.
Seal entry points
Seal any cracks or gaps in your home’s exterior, such as around windows and doors. Don’t forget the door gaps and the windowsills. You need to repair any gaps or cracks to prevent wasps from entering.
If you have a problem with them getting inside, consider patching up your house. Make sure there’s no gaps where they can get in.
Plant wasp repelling plants in your garden
Certain plants, such as mint, onion, garlic, citrus, eucalyptus, and citronella, can help repel wasps.
Plant them around the perimeter of your garden so it acts like a barrier.
You can also try hanging fake wasp nests around your property to deter them from building their own nests in your garden.. This is good if you can’t get to it or it’s hidden.
Did you get rid of the wasps?
Now you’re armed with the knowledge you need to identify, find, and eliminate the nest.
Even if you don’t know where it is, you have some places to look now.
You don’t need to know the specific location to get rid of the wasps. It’s important to set up repellents and exclusion so they don’t get into your home or garden.
Using repelling plants plus sealing up your house will keep them away. But if you can find the nest, get rid of it or call a professional.
There are plenty of things you can do even if you don’t know where it is located precisely.
If you have questions about your specific wasp issue, please post a comment.
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.