Wasps can be beneficial in a garden as they eat insect pests. But, they can be quite aggressive and will come out to investigate if you get too close to their nest.

If you have a nest, consider one of the following options:

  • You can leave the nest alone if it is not really causing you a problem. Wasps’ nests will die off in the first frosts of autumn and will never be re-colonised
  • If you feel confident, you can treat the nest yourself. If the nest is in a hole, under tiles or in an air brick, you can use a wasp nest destroyer puffer pack
  • If the nest is hanging in a hedge or garage and is clearly visible, you should use a wasp nest destroyer aerosol
  • Do not use a puffer pack for a hanging nest
  • These products are available from most hardware stores or garden centres. Always follow the safety and environmental instructions
  • Where the nest is in a roof space and bats are present or likely to be present, you must consult Natural England before any treatment


Hornets are relatively rare and are usually only found in southern England. They are banded with yellow and brown and slightly larger than the common wasp.

Whilst not aggressive when encountered far from the nest, they will vigorously defend the nest if provoked. They have a painful sting and can cause anaphylactic shock to people with an allergy to wasp venom, a condition which can be fatal.

Because the hornet is rare the nest should not be destroyed unless absolutely necessary. If you decide to treat the nest yourself, special precautions must be taken. You must cover your body completely, wear long, gauntlet style gloves and suitable headwear that covers your face. Further advice will be available with the poison you use.

Please note – wasps and hornets do not swarm. If you have a swarm, it will be bees.

For advice about Asian hornets and what to do if you spot one, refer to the government website, GOV.UK.

Last reviewed: August 8, 2023 by Mark

Next review due: February 8, 2024

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