How to get rid of Hornets, Wasps & Yellow Jackets

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We have had a ton of calls and emails from customers that are concerned about hornet, wasp and yellow jacket infestations on their property. This article will share a few tips and tricks that will keep you safe and make the hive removal process as easy as possible.


We hate to sound like your worried mother… but please be very careful when dealing with hornets and wasps. If you don’t feel comfortable, please contact a professional. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

About Hornets, Wasps & Yellow Jackets

Before we tell you how to get rid of these pests, it’s important to learn about why they’re beneficial to the environment and why they likely chose to build a hive on or near your property. European_wasp_white_bg

Hornets, wasps and yellow jackets are part of the Vespid wasp family. These insects share many similar physical traits and characteristics. Most notably, they have narrow wings, a skinny body and minimal hair. Distinguishing their differences can be tricky. Here is a website that has some good close-up pictures to help:

Additionally, both hornets and yellow jackets typically live in colonies of more than 100 individual insects and are experts at ‘papermaking’ (The process of ‘papermaking’ involves constructing a hive from gathered wood fibers). The easiest way to identify which type of Vespid you’re dealing with is to look at the nest. Here are a few identifying features:

Wasps: A typical wasp nest is a open umbrella shaped structure. Wasps usually build their nests by window casings, in eaves or other tight spaces.

Hornets: A typical hornet nest is very large and fully enclosed. Hornets usually build their nets from strong structures such as tree branches or roof peaks.

Yellow Jackets: A typical yellow jacket nest is also large and fully enclosed, however they’re only found underground.

To help visualize all of these points, here is a great chart by:

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Environmental Benefits

Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets are particularly beneficial to gardens through the means of insect control. It’s estimated that they remove nearly 2 lbs of insects from a 2000 sqft garden. Additionally, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets also help with flower pollination. Although they’re not as effective as honey bees, they do help!

Getting rid of the hive

Now that you’ve learnt about the Vespid family and have knowledge concerning their benefits to the environment it’s time to make a decision regarding your choice to destroy the hive and get rid of these stinging insects. If the nest is away from your home and is not harming your family, you may decide to leave the nest due to the benefits that we discussed. However, if the nest is near your home it’s important to take immediate action. hive

Step 1: Locate the hive

Take note of where you see the insects flying, landing and traveling to. If you notice a lot of traffic around a certain area is safe to assume that the hive is close-by. If the hive is not visible (i.e- under a deck), try to gain a clear unobstructed view.

Step 2: Purchase a chemical spray

The decision is entirely yours! There are a ton of different chemical products to choose from. Here is a list of products that Canadian Tire offers, also remember to check your local hardware store:

*Natural Method: If you’re looking for a natural method of extermination here’s a website with a ton of great information:

Step 3: Wait until night

Don’t try anything during daytime or daylight hours. Wait until later in the night when the insects are less active. Also, when looking at the hive, don’t use a typical flashlight, it will attract and wake up the pests. Use a light with a coloured tint, it’s much more effective.

Step 4: Plan and exit route

Once the hive is sprayed, it’s important to make a fast exit to a safe area. Plan ahead and clear a path well away from the hive. A covered area is best. Also, remove all children and animals away from the area.

Step 5: Follow the directions

Please pay careful attention to the directions that are posted on the can of insect spray. Each product varies in use… so please exercise caution.

Get Professional Help

If you’re nervous or hesitant about the process, please feel free to contact us or your local pest control company. We have specialized protective equipment, industrial supplies and years of experience in dealing with hornets, wasps and yellow jackets.

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Victoria Harbour
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Barrie, ON
L4N 5J8

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