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A wasp nest in the house deters many residents, since wasps, like hornets, are considered aggressive compared to bees. In addition, wasp nests must not be removed by themselves, except in winter when the animals have left the nest. If you decide to get rid of the nest on its own, there are a few things you can do to prevent reintroduction the following year.

Remove wasp nest

Why can wasp nests only be removed in winter?

Wasps and their largest representatives, the hornets, are subordinate like bees and bumblebees natural reserve, as they play an important role in the natural cycle. Compared to pollen collectors, wasps and hornets hunt other insects and, as beneficial insects, help to eliminate pests. Incidentally, the species of the Vespidae family help somewhat pollination of plants, although this is not their main function. For this reason, they are under nature protection and the following offenses in dealing with the insects are punished with high fines of 5,000 to over 50,000 euros, depending on the hornet or wasp species.

  • Disturbances of the animals and the wasp nest
  • hurt the insects
  • the intentional killing
  • capturing the animals
  • intentional damage to the wasp nest
  • Removal of the wasp's nest without permission during the period from May to December
Wasps on wasp nest

wasp colonies

Since wasp colonies only inhabit your attic or tool shed for a certain period of time, you can easily dispose of the wasp nest over the winter. You should only pay attention to certain aspects, such as the time.


The best time to get a wasp nest out of the house is mid to late winter. At this time all wasps have literally “flighted away”, definitely the queens. The worker wasps often die either in the nest or outside. This quite late time of the year is chosen to make sure that the wasp's nest is really uninhabited.

Wasps are divided into two groups:

  • species early leaving the nest
  • late-nesting species

Early Species leaving the wasps' nest are usually no longer visible in early September or in the second week of September. Late however, defunct species remain on average until early November. These include the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris), German wasp (Vespula germanica) and the hornet (Vespa crabro). Below that falls Asian hornet (Vespa velutina). There is a high probability that you will find one of the four species mentioned in your attic, since the other twelve native wasp species build smaller nests, most of which are in the ground.

The best dates are therefore:

  • Mid-November to late December for early species
  • Mid-January to late February for late species
Wasp colony on a nest


This way you can be completely sure that you will not encounter any more wasps, which of course makes it easier to remove the nest. You can also avoid possible penalties that would arise from premature disposal. But you can also easily wait until the beginning of April and then dispose of the nest. The reason for this is the benefit, because the nests are an ideal winter quarters for other insects such as lacewings. Lots beneficials use the nests for this purpose and leave them when it gets warmer in spring. From an ecological point of view, you should therefore wait longer.

Tip: The milder the winters are in your area, the more important it is to wait until late winter so that there are really no more workers in the nest.


Many people want to remove a hornet or wasp nest as soon as possible because they fear for their own safety to have. However, in many cases, removing the nest is not necessary at all. The reason for this lies in the way of life of the animals.

1. Resettlement

Up until now it has only been extremely rarely demonstrated that young queens old nests obtain from the previous year. Although the nests spread an odor that sometimes attracts wasps, old nests are avoided. They will only be restocked if there is really no other safe place nearby for nesting.

You can use this to your advantage:

  • remove the nest only in April
  • by this time, most young queens have already found a new nesting site
  • while searching avoid the old wasps' nest in your attic

The old nest saves you from resettlement by the queen. This method works very well and gives you enough time over the summer to make your premises wasp-proof.

2. Accessibility

Wasps are always looking for a suitable one location for her nest. That is, if they have other sites available and the old nest is still standing while the nest is being sought, the queens will prefer that one.

In addition, there is no danger from the nests themselves. It is necessary to dispose of the wasp nest if the building structure is damaged or, for example, a window can no longer be closed properly. This leads to poor building insulation, which in turn causes you energy costs. You should therefore compare very carefully whether the wasp nest really needs to be removed.

Wasp nest on a window corner

Important points

If you have decided to remove the wasp nest, you need to consider the following points.

1. Check nest

Be sure to check with one professional or via specialist literature whether the nest is a wasp nest. If bees have nested in your house, you must not remove the nest over the winter, as bees hibernate in it.

2. When removing

Be sure to dump the entire nest in one piece into a sturdy garbage bag. This reduces the effort. You should then use a brush and a spatula or knife as much nest material as possible from the walls, ceiling and other surfaces into the same bag. Be particularly thorough when doing this. After that, wet clean the entire area. While new queens avoid recolonizing an old nest, they are sometimes attracted to the scent, which in turn could lead to a new colony. Wet cleaning counteracts this problem.

3. Prevention after the fact

After removing the nest and cleaning up the site, be sure to check the premises, for example the attic, check for possible openings and seal them. The fewer opportunities young queens have to invade your premises, the lower the risk of colonization.

Remove hornets nest

If instead of a wasp nest you have a hornet's nest under the gable or in the attic, you can do the same here. Because the life cycle of wasps and hornets the same way, they even leave the nest at the same time, you can safely remove the nest. Compared to their smaller relatives, whose nests they can safely leave, it is advisable to completely remove hornet nests in winter.

Hornets nest on a roof beam

The reason for this is the way of life of the animals:

1. Young Queens

Young hornet queens are dated compared to wasp queens odor attracted to old nests. That means they settle there again and the whole cycle starts all over again. Although hornets prefer to build their nests away from humans, the smell of excrement from the previous colony tempts the young queens to resettle.

2. Eliminations

Hornet droppings are a major problem and cannot be ignored. Compared to the excretions namely, from wasps and bees, these flow down from the nest and gather at one point.

The eliminations have two major disadvantages:

  • they discolor house walls inside and out
  • they damage the building structure, for example by causing the wood to swell due to the moisture in the excrements

If the same hornet's nest were to be inhabited for several years in a row, this can lead to serious problems over a long period of time building damage to lead. For this reason it is recommended to remove the nest over the cold season and to clean the site as thoroughly as possible. The less of the nest remains, the less chance there is of one resettlement. Likewise, as with the wasp nests, you should look for possible openings through which the insects got into the house, if the nest was in the attic, for example. Lock them and the risk of uninvited guests next year is low.

Hornet Nest

Tip: If you have discovered a hornet's nest, you should definitely place a collecting container filled with cat litter under it. The excretions can therefore collect there all year round and do not damage the building structure, and cleaning in winter is made much easier.

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