Spray or powder insecticides are the most effective means of eliminating wasp nests. Some nests require the aid of professional exterminators, while others, depending on location, are best ignored.
Spray insecticides are very effective for small paper wasp nests, since both wasps and brood cells are exposed. Control is best accomplished by standing at least 15 feet away and spraying a direct stream of insecticide at the nest. Yellow jackets and hornets protect their nests with a paper mache covering, making the nest harder to eliminate. Pest control professionals are well-equipped to deal with these nests, but a properly prepared homeowner can destroy the nest by using two cans of insecticide to cover multiple openings at the same time, applying a continuous spray to the main opening at the base of the nest. Other precautions include wearing long clothing and planning an escape route.
Powder insecticide is an effective treatment for ground-nesting yellow jackets or wasps. Once the powder is applied to the nest opening, it is important to vacate the area as quickly as possible. Powders are also effective for wasp nests located inside buildings. However, care must be taken to choose a product that is approved for use in structures. Professional exterminators are often the best course of action for nests in homes or buildings.
Sometimes wasp nests are located in remote places or areas that receive little human traffic. In this case, it is easier and safer to ignore the nest. Wasps abandon their nests in autumn and rebuild in spring.