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  • Dave Kuikstra

How to Handle Wasps and Hornets on Your Property

Updated: Jan 7


Warm weather is when wasps and hornets thrive. These large stinging insects have a purpose in nature, but when they are close to your home, outdoor entertainment area or pool, they are a danger. Here’s what to do to keep wasps and hornets away or remove a nest on your property.

Wasps That Live in Pennsylvania

If you live in Pennsylvania, you can find any number of wasps:

  • Yellow jackets: These are smaller than hornets and striped. Their nests can be found in the ground, in hollows of trees, or in walls when they can find an entry way through a crack. These can be highly aggressive

  • Paper wasps: These wasps are dark-colored and grow to about 1 inch long. They prefer to build their paper nests that are open from the bottom from tress and shrubs and from the eaves of buildings.

  • Mud dauber wasps: These wasps are solitary and do not live in colonies like other wasps. They build small mud pipes in which to nest and are not aggressive.

  • Bald-faced hornets: These large, 1-inch wasps are black and white (or yellowish white), with a white face and white stripe at the end of the abdomen. Their gray, papery nest can be found hanging from a tree branch or under building overhangs. These can be highly aggressive

  • Digger wasps: Like mud daubers, these wasps are solitary and generally not aggressive. They build a small nest in sandy soil.

  • European hornets: These wasps are brown and yellow and can grow up to 1.5 inches long. Their nests are usually found in the hollow of a tree or a portion of rotted wood in a home’s exterior and consist of layers of combs within an outer covering.

How can you prevent wasps from taking up housekeeping on your property? The best preventative is to remove their food sources. Wasps eat both protein-based foods (like other insects) and sweet foods (like flower nectar). But if you freely provide other sources – such as barbecue left out after dinner or open soda cans – wasps will take the opportunity you provide. Prevent foraging wasps from preferring your property by:

  • Securely covering trash, garbage and recycling containers

  • Quickly cleaning up any fallen fruit from fruit trees or bushes

  • Keeping a tight lid on beverages served outdoors

Why Wasps Pose a Danger

Wasps are aggressive and territorial, making them a danger to people and pets. They are easily disturbed and quick to anger, capable of stinging multiple times in groups when they are agitated. There stings are very painful and can produce a deadly allergic reaction in some people.

In addition to posing a problem in your yard, wasps can also nest in the walls of buildings. That’s why home maintenance, like sealing and caulking entry points on the exterior of your home, is so important.

Should You Handle a Wasp Nest on Your Own?

Call a professional as soon as you discover a wasp nest on your property. Trying to remove it on your own puts you in dangerous contact with dozens or more of these stinging pests. A professional has the expertise and safety equipment necessary for effective and safe removal.

Are you concerned about a wasp or hornet problem on your property? Shoreline Pest Solutions can identify the wasp and safely remove the nest. If you live in Pennsylvania, give us a call at 217-767-5730 or contact us online.


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