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Along with wasps, bees and bumblebees, hornets are among the most well-known flying insects in Germany and Central Europe. Due to their size, hornets appear very dangerous, but the peaceful animals only sting when the nest is endangered or if the insect can no longer escape or is crushed. Vespa crabro, like other representatives of wasps, can settle near humans, which raises the question: is it allowed to independently remove a hornet's nest?

Remove hornets nest

Remove hornet's nest yourself?

If you discover a hornet's nest in your garden or house, you need to think carefully about what to do next. Hornets are under in Germany natural reserve as a specially protected species within the Federal Species Protection Ordinance. This means that the insects of the Vespa crabro species receive intensive protection, which makes it possible for private individuals to destroy or move the animals and their nests independently prohibited. Likewise, the following actions are punishable as misdemeanors:

  • attract
  • catch
  • hurt
  • kill

Injuring or killing a hornet out of fright is not a problem, but a hornet nest has a population of around 700 individuals. It would be noticed by conservation authorities if the entire population was wiped out. Since the animal is an important species for the natural cycle, it is under this special protection. For this reason, private individuals can only obtain authorization after consultation with the competent authority, which will consult a professional to check and remove or relocate the nest. In addition, for safety reasons alone, you should not move or destroy a hornet's nest yourself, as the animals appear extremely aggressive on it.

Hornet, Vespa crabro

tip: Because hornets are a protected species, you can expect hefty fines if you attempt to remove the nest on your own. Depending on the state, if you accidentally kill a queen in nest destruction or relocation, the fines range from 5,000 to 65,000 years and even prison terms of up to five years.

conditions and possibilities

Removing a hornet's nest is not easy. Since the animals are under nature protection, you must clarify the procedure with the responsible nature conservation authority beforehand. Depending on the region in which you live, the requirements for this differ significantly. You are not allowed to remove them yourself, but you will receive permission for a valid reason. This allows you to hire an expert to carry out nest relocation or nest destruction:

Resettlement for allergy sufferers

If you have an allergy sufferer in the family and the nest is in the house, you have extremely high chances of resettlement. As soon as you can prove the allergy medically, the risk of leaving the hornet's nest in your living space is too great.

Resettlement due to unfavorable location

Rarely, it is allowed to relocate the nest as soon as it is built in an extremely unfavorable and much-frequented place in the house. However, an expert opinion must first be carried out here in order to check the danger.

In the case of a hornet's nest in the garden, garden shed, garage or similar facilities, resettlement or destruction is often not permitted, as this not in the immediate vicinity of people lie. Even if you have small children or pets like cats, the permit will not be allowed in these cases. After getting approval, you need to contact an expert to do this work for you. You can choose from:

  • Hornet Advisor
  • exterminator
  • specially trained firefighters
  • beekeeper
  • conservationist


In many cases, relocating the animals is free of charge because they are important for the environment. However, if relocation is not possible after the expert's assessment and the nest really has to be destroyed, you will have to pay extra. But before that you have to contact the nature conservation authority and a kill permit catch up, otherwise destroying the nest is not allowed. The fee for destroying an entire colony of hornets is between 200 and 350 euros. You should therefore consider whether it is worth removing the nest or simply living with the animals and waiting until they move out in winter.

Live with hornets

If you do not meet any of the reasons for removing or relocating the nest described above, you will have to live with the animals until winter. Because hornets very peaceful and, compared to wasps, stay away from humans, encounters with the insects are extremely rare.

behaviour rules

With the following rules of conduct you minimize the possibility of being bitten by the animals, even if they live in your attic or directly in a tree in the garden:

lock nest

If the nest is open to the public, cordon it off with security tape within four meters as a precaution. This allows you to be sure that children, pedestrians or your neighbors do not get close to the nest.

safety distance

Always keep a good safe distance yourself. You should extend this safety distance to four to five meters when mowing the lawn, as the volume of the device could irritate the animals.

Behave calmly

Just keep quiet, don't blow on or hit the animals. Likewise, you should never intentionally step into the flight path of the hornets, otherwise they will feel threatened.

Don't walk barefoot

If you have fruit trees in the garden, you should never walk barefoot through the grass with fallen fruit. Since hornets expand their diet to include fallen fruit, especially towards the end of summer, or hunt other insects that feast on the fruit, bare feet are particularly at risk of being bitten.

leave Nest alone

Don't tamper with the nest or blow into the entrance hole. Carbon dioxide makes the animals aggressive and they notice it immediately when the hornet's nest is being handled. Some people think they can just seal the nest entrance. However, the animals are so focused on maintaining their colony that even the smallest movements at the nest are classified as a threat.

children and pets

If you have children, tell them to leave the hornets and their nest alone. Pets should be kept away from the nest as much as possible.

Insurance from professionals

If you require additional security, you should hire a professional who can perform a variety of installations. These do not destroy the nest and ensure that humans and hornets do not see each other at all. You have the choice between:

  • screens
  • Fly Wire Cages
  • Flight path diversions

These ensure that the hornets can easily get out of their nest and do not encounter people or pets. These installations are devices that can even be placed in such a way that they are no longer noticeable. Best of all, they do not harm the animals.

secure nest

If you cannot remove the animals, you should definitely secure the nest a little if it is in your house. The reason for this are the eliminations:

1. Hornets' nests have an opening through which the animals' excrement is directed out. The downside: gravity causes them to drip over the wall or straight down. This creates smearsthat are difficult to clean.

2. Most of the faeces and prey waste therefore collect on the ground directly under the nest. For example, so that you do not have to remove and renovate the flooring in winter, you should place a tub or large baking sheet under the nest. Line it with newspaper or plastic wrap. Alternatively, you can fill a larger tub with bedding.

3. When placing the tub, be careful not to disturb the animals. Do not breathe directly near the nest or touch it. It is easier to position, especially at night.

4. You can empty the tub from the beginning of November, as the hornet's nest will be empty by then.

Remove hornet's nest permitted

Once November arrives, it is now time to remove the hornet's nest. Since a completely abandoned hornet's nest will no longer be occupied by the animals in the next year and the queens will not hibernate in it, it's up to you without permission free to remove this on your own. Still, before removing it, you should hire a professional to check the nest for possible residents, especially queens.

tip: A great advantage of the hornet's nest is the fact that in most cases these are not noticed until very late in the year, around the end of July or even later. Since all workers and drones have died by the beginning of November at the latest and the queens have left the nests, you only have to live with the animals for a short time.

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