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Stinging Insects—DIY or Call in the Professionals?

Spotting a wasp, yellow jacket, or hornet nest in your yard, or even on your home, can be worrisome. Leaving these nests untreated can increase your chances of being stung. While you can deal with some pests on your own, others require professional help. Check out when it’s okay to handle stinging insects yourself and when you should call in the professionals.


Paper Wasps

 Paper wasp

Paper wasps are known for their paper-like nests. They can be gray or brown and have an umbrella-like shape. Compared to other stinging insects, paper wasp nests are the easiest to eliminate yourself. Their nests are more accessible because of their preferred nesting spots. You can find their nests hanging from branches, in attics, wall voids, or door frames. Paper wasps also build smaller nests with fewer wasps which reduces the chance of being stung. Though these wasps aren’t as aggressive as other stinging insects, they will sting if they feel threatened. Even though you can treat these nests yourself, it’s important to always be careful.   

Yellow Jackets

Yellow Jacket

Yellow jackets construct larger nests than paper wasps. These nests can house thousands of yellow jackets. They have a paper-like appearance with hexagonal cells. These nests are harder to locate because they typically nest underground. Their nests are often found under steps, in sidewalk cracks, and at the base of trees. They can sometimes be spotted in bushes. Since yellow jackets are more aggressive and their nests are larger and harder to find, treating them yourself can be more difficult. If you treat these yourself, make sure to be cautious and spray the nest at night when yellow jackets are less active.



Hornets are the most difficult stinging insect to handle yourself. It’s usually best to leave these nests to the professionals. Hornet nests are made from wood pulp and have hexagonal cells. They have one entry point and are often placed in shaded and protected areas. They are usually hard to reach. Trees, wall voids, attics, bushes, and the roof of buildings are common nesting sites. Some hornets, like the bald-faced hornet, prefer nests to be 3 feet above the ground while others, like the European hornet, place their nests 6 feet above the ground. Hornets build larger nests and can have hundreds of hornets living in them. These stinging insects are very aggressive so make sure you are careful around them.

Treatment Tips

Wasp & Hornet Killer

If you decide you want to tackle a stinging insect infestation, there are a few things to keep in mind. It’s best to wear long sleeves and pants that are made of a heavier fabric. This will help to protect you from stings. When treating a nest, never stand close to it. Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Wasp & Hornet Killer is a foaming jet spray that reaches up to 18 feet. This allows you to remain a safe distance from the nest while effectively treating it. Make sure to spray the entrance point to kill the insects inside and then continue to coat the entire nest. If there are wasps or yellow jackets outside of the nest, try to make contact. Paper wasp nests can be treated during the day or at night. Remember to spray yellow jacket and hornet nests at dawn or dusk when they are least active, and the colony is most likely to all be in the nest. If you are allergic to these stinging insects, do not try to treat the infestation yourself. Contact your local pest management professional. 

Stinging insects can become an unwanted guest in your yard. When this happens, their nest needs to be removed. Be careful when treating nests yourself and contact the professionals when dealing with more dangerous insects. If you’re dealing with a pest problem, we want to help! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products.

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