How to deal with a wasp nest
Wasps and hornets set up home on balconies, in garden sheds, house porches and attics, without a second thought to the property prices and school choices in the area.
If you suspect you’ve got a wasp or hornet problem, what should you do?
Well first it depends on how much of a nuisance they are. If you are co-existing without too much bother, the advice is to leave them. Most wasps will abandon their nests at the end of summer (and you can remove them in winter). There is more information on the types of wasps found in Luxembourg, what their nests look like, and whether they are aggressive, at the end of this article.
Wasps are good for nature
Wasps and hornets may not be up there with bees, but they are remarkably good for the environment. Not only do they pollinate but they eat up garden pests and mosquitos. A colony of hornets can consume 500g of material a day, which is a lot of aphids. In fact they are considered an important part of permaculture.
Natur & ëmwelt Asbl offers the following advice for living in harmony with a wasp nest:
- Avoid sudden movements
- Don’t block a wasp's flight path to its nest
- Don’t plug the entrance hole
- Don’t blow at a wasp, as CO2 will generate an alarm signal
- Cover food outdoors and clear away leftovers
- Cover glasses and avoid drinking from cans or bottles
- Wipe children’s mouths with a moist cloth after eating
- Avoid strong smelling perfumes or creams and be aware that dark clothes can attract wasps
- Install fly screens on windows and doors
Locating a wasp nest
Wasps love wood, as it’s a source of material for building their nests. Check loft and attic areas, window ledges and beneath or above balconies and decking. They also like shelters and sheds, play houses, and play equipment. We even found ones trying to build a nest in our mailbox. They often set up home in the casing for roller blinds (so you should regularly open and close blinds to avoid this).
Some wasps will even take up residence in the ground and are particularly fond of abandoned mouse holes.
In areas that are inaccessible or difficult to reach but ideal spots for a wasp nest, the advice is to spray the area with an essential oil such as eucalyptus, tea tree, clove or lemon. This puts them off taking up residence.
Dealing with wasps that are a nuisance
If you’re allergic to a wasp or hornet sting, or if the nest is in a place where it’s impossible for you to cohabit, you will need to get rid of it. If you are not sure, you can ring Natur & ëmwelt on 621 969 444 and one of their volunteers will give you advice.
The fire brigade will sometimes deal with wasps nests, but their website takes pains to point out that they only do this if the nest is an imminent danger to the population. They ask that you don’t ring 112 with wasp nest removal requests unless this is the case, and they have produced a flyer (in French) with information to this effect. You can also contact your commune, who may be able to provide a list of pest control providers local to your area.
There are special sprays you can use at night (when wasps are less active) which can be effective if the nest is in an inaccessible area, but remember to wear protective clothing. Pest control providers advise that you don’t spray a nest with water or set fire to it (as this might cause a bigger fire), try to vacuum the nest up, or cover it with a plastic bag.
The following pest control companies will remove or treat a wasps nest (if it is in an inaccessible location like a roof):
Know your wasp or hornet
Natur & ëmwelt has produced a useful leaflet (in English) on wasps, hornets and bees, giving information on the behaviour of different types, together with distinguishing features of the yellow-striped insects and their nests. It also provides information on how aggressive each type is, to help you to decide what action to take.
To raise awareness of the importance and protection of bees, the VdL has created a bee walking trail in the capital and will organise tours from May to September. Thirteen information points with panels in French, German and English cover a 2.5km trail, with information on honey bees, wild bees, habitat, way of life, reproduction and current issues. It seeks to educate people not only about bees, but also hornets and wasps, and includes a wild bee house where you can observe worker bees.