You just found a wasps nest in your roof or attic and you’re not sure what to do. Do you take action, or should you leave it alone?
There are a lot of mixed opinions on this topic because people have different reasons for why they would want to remove a wasp nest from a roof or not.
Wasp nests should always be treated so as to kill off the colony and subsequently removing the nest is also advisable. Although a dormant nest will unlikely be reoccupied, its physical presence can lead to serious structural damage to your home in addition to any damage already caused by these insects.
In reality, it’s sometimes not as simple as we think to remove a wasps nest, and there are some cases where it makes sense to leave them in place.
This article will explore some different points of view as well as provide information about how to get rid of the wasps if you decide that’s best for your situation.
When should you leave a nest totally alone?
If a wasp nest is anywhere inside your home or likely to cause a nuisance to gain access to it, then you absolutely need to remove the colony and the nest. However, if the nest is in your yard in a tree, you may find that the wasps don’t bother you for more than a few months in the summer. When dealing with an allergy in the family, of course, you should remove every and any wasp nest
As a general rule of thumb, you should consider removing all nests that you find in your roof space as even after killing off the colony, they can pose a risk to your home. I will talk about that more in this article, so please jump ahead to that paragraph for more information.
If the nest is outside and not attached to your property, then leave it alone if it’s safe for your family to do so. Wasps are important for the local ecosystem and do the same job as bees to pollinate plants, an essential job.
Can a dormant wasp nest really damage your home?
Although the wasps are generally seen as the real threat, an abandoned wasp nest can still cause future damage to a home. This can occur if it becomes wet and spreads this moisture to a wall or ceiling. Nests have also been known to constrict air circulation, leading to condensation build-up and further damage.
So, It’s important to be on the lookout for wasps and nests in your home. If you find them, it means that there may be a problem issue with ventilation somewhere or maybe an issue where they are entering into walls through cracks of some kind, often ones they have enlarged.
The goal will not only help get rid of those pesky pests but also prevent any future damage from the nest left behind.
As I mentioned before, the real danger of these dormant wasp nests is that they can easily become damp and this will lead to a great deal of moisture. Moisture can lead to mold and mildew, which will be detrimental to your home’s health as well as safety;
If the nest gets wet enough or is damp already then it may start leaking, which can lead to ceiling damage and, over time, serious structural issues!
Even if the nest itself isn’t the direct source of dampness, the way that wasps build them could lead to compromises to the design of your roof. Especially, as spoken about in the Btpenviro case, where two nests effectively blocked any air circulation into a roof and caused condensation to damage the roof and ceiling.
Can wasps damage your home?
No only can a wasp nest lead to damage to your home, the wasp themselves can also cause significant damage if left to their own devices.
Some species of wasps, especially the horntails, will chew through the wood they stick their nest too, which will weaken it over time. Not a good thing if that wood is part of a supporting beam in your roof.
Wasps often chew through different surfaces to leave their nest or lay eggs, so this can sometimes lead to structural damage. Also, If you find that a wasps nest has been set on top of your attic or roof, they may be doing so in order to access the warmth inside. Of course, chewing their way in may be the only point of access.
Wasps are notorious for making their homes where many homeowners least suspect them. It’s imperative that you get rid of these pesky wasps before they actually open a hole in your ceiling, resulting in lots of water damage to the walls below your roof. If a nest is going to let in other pests, then you should take action.
How do you kill off a wasp nest?
To neutralize a wasp nest you need to target the entire colony. One of the best products to use on the market is Delta Dust Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide Dust as it will work for wasps and other insects.
These chemicals are sprayed onto the nest, killing any wasps that come in contact with it, these products also keep new flying larvae from maturing into adult members of a colony. However, it’s advisable to observe the wasp nest and apply another treatment after several days to ensure total success.
These types of powders work well as they coat any wasp that comes in or out of the nest after it’s been treated, and they, in turn, spread it throughout the other members of the colony.
The downside to using Delta Dust is that it can be messy, and may contain a strong odor. If you have people who are allergic reactions or asthma then this product would not work well for them either as they could experience some difficulties breathing during the application process if used indoors without proper ventilation (such as wasps nests found in closed attics).
In fact, there are a few other things you need to be wary about when treating wasp nests, especially inside an attic. For more information, you can read my other article here which goes into much more detail about how to treat wasp nests in your roof.
How do you remove a wasp nest by yourself?
Wasp nests can be removed as a whole by covering them with a plastic bag and tearing them off their mountings, or for larger nests, with a conventional hoover. If removing a nest, you should always have protective clothing on to minimize stings and this is best done after treating the nest with insecticide.
As with all things in life, no two wasp nest removal jobs will be the same and you’ll have to decide on the best course of action based on your case.
For smaller nests in a very accessible part of your roof, then removing the nest as a whole is an option. For small nests, you can cover them with a plastic bag and tear it off the wall or beam it’s been built on (wear protective gloves).
You can then either put the nest in a garbage can and seal it shut or burn the nest on a bonfire if that’s permitted in your local area.
However, some nests will be too large to get into a conventional plastic bag or they may not be easy to access, especially in the roof. In these cases, you can use a vacuum cleaner and a thick pair of gloves to remove the nest.
If you have an industrial vacuum cleaner (or one you can rent), you can literally break down the walls of the nest and suck up the nest and dead wasps as you go. Ideally, you should do this after you have killed off the wasps, but if you can also hire a beekeepers suit, you could do it with live wasps too.
Once the nest and queen (who will be inside the nest) are gone, the other wasps will not be able to grow in numbers and won’t immediately start building a new nest.
How long will a wasp nest last?
Wasp nests are seasonal, as wasps are warm-weather insects. Nests are built in the spring and the Queen will lay eggs which in turn hatch by early summer. So, the average nest can last for 3 to 4 months if left unmolested.
Wasps in general live a maximum of about 122 days while the queen can live for a maximum of about a year. So, the activity within a single nest won’t last much longer than a full summer.
If that nest is in your home or somewhere in your yard, it’s best to treat it and remove it as soon as you can. If the nest isn’t threatening the structure of your home, you might want to let the wasps get on with their job within the ecosystem you find yourself in.
What is a wasp nest made from?
Most species of wasp build their nests from a paper-like pulp created from chewed-up wood and the wasp’s own saliva. This is why wasp nests have a papery appearance. Some species, mud daubers, make their nests from mud. In both cases, the nest is fairly easy to break up when you need to remove them from your home or property.
Although wasps will never reoccupy a dormant nest, they may be encouraged by its presence and recycle some of its material. This may be rare, but it’s a good enough reason to get rid of any nests that are hanging around so that other wasps don’t arrive to cause further damage.
Should you use a professional to remove a wasp nest?
A wasp attack can cause a person to experience anaphylaxis, and if the victim is allergic then this could be fatal. This may seem unlikely but in fact, around 100 people die every year from insect stings – that’s one death for every 13 million of us!
So, dealing with a wasp nest on your own is not the wisest option and it should only be done with extreme care. You may want to call a professional wasp nest removal service instead as they will have all of their protective gear on hand at any time, which is crucial for protecting themselves from stings or bites that could lead them into anaphylactic shock if you suffer one yourself.
I would strongly advise calling in the professionals, even though the average removal fee is around $300, whenever the nest is in a precarious or difficult place to access.
Sometimes, it’s just not worth the risk just to save a little bit of money.