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I had a wasp nest in an area where I'm scared the kids might go and get strung.

I waited till night fall and knocked it down with a broom.

However, the wasps still congregate where the nests was. It's been two days.

Will they eventually move on? Prefer not to kill them with spray if I don't have to.

These are paper wasps.

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  • The wasps are going back "home" to rebuild where they thought was a good place to build a nest. I'd have thoroughly sprayed the nest with relevant pesticide.
    – RonJohn
    Mar 20, 2023 at 7:17

4 Answers 4

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Paper wasps are not aggressive and will not sting anyone who doesn't threaten their nest, unless someone actually touches a wasp - then that person will get stung. I've shared a shed with a species that makes a small nest for years with only one sting - when I touched a wasp that had landed on the handle of the tool I wanted to use. My fault, not the wasp. They are also considered beneficial to the garden, because they're great pollinator and control many insect pests.

This site from a home services company details some methods for keeping wasps from your home. Note that the company is in Texas, so some of the information may apply (they apparently have more in-house and under-house wasps than we have in the northern US, and conversely we seem to have more paper wasps than they do). Much of their information applies to any wasp species, however.

Some highlights from that article:

  • Remove any unwanted food or drink around your property
  • Keep your trash cans and trash areas covered and tightly sealed.
  • Remove or relocate hummingbird feeders, because wasps are drawn to sweeter foods
  • Grow wasp-repelling plants such as Eucalyptus, spearmint, thyme citronella and wormwood (Dusty Miller) near areas where you don't want wasps
  • In spring, when wasp queens are looking for a place to locate a nest, place small bits of raw meat as a decoy in an area where it's okay for wasps to congregate
  • Use wasp traps to kill workers (won't kill the queen, though)

And there are many other methods.

A couple of notes:

  1. Don't waste money on wasp decoy nests, as the science shows that they don't work. See here for a discussion about decoy nests.
  2. Don't use insecticides in any area where children will be playing. Insecticides are neurotoxins that CAN affect humans, especially children. In the article I cited above, the author lists more than a few natural ways to repel or kill wasps.
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I find that I have to do two things to stop them from building in the same spot.

  1. Remove all of the nest, including the little stub/stick
  2. Spray the area liberally. You don't need to kill the wasps.
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Wasps use pheromones - like ants They can probably still smell the nest, and the distress pheromones from your attack on their nest. I'd suggest perhaps spraying the area down with a weak vinegar solution, as is suggested for getting rid of ant trails. With no extra pheromones, they'll eventually disperse.

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Once I had some wasps building a nest in a place that I could not tolerate. Before I knocked it down, I rolled up some newspaper and got it smoldering. I held it near the nest in order to 'smoke them out'. I was expecting a general panic of wasps but to my surprise, they calmly 'marched' out of the nest in an orderly line and up the roof. I then knocked the nest into a metal can/bucket and set it on fire.

I never saw them again. I assume they moved on to a new location. It was a pretty new nest, and I am not sure they would behave the same way if it was an established nest. But, if you want to avoid spraying poison on your property, you might want to try this first. Wait until dusk when they have returned to the nest for the night. Create a lot of smoke and blow or fan it over the nest. If you are lucky, this will trigger their instinct to flee the nest. Be careful that you don't set the nest or other things around the nest on fire at this point. For future reference, it's easier to do this before knocking the nest down due to the fact that smoke and heat rise.

Then, put the nest in a something fire-proof like a coffee can or an outdoor fire pit and burn it. You might need some add some paper, kindling and/or other fuel to fully destroy it. Once the nest is gone there will be no reason for them to come back to that spot, but it is possible they could start another nest in the area.

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