How to Kill Hornets in Your Home


Although most hornets and their wasp relatives prefer to build their nests outdoors for easy access to prey, they occasionally build their nests in your home in protected areas such as attics, wall voids or similar areas. If the hornets and wasps are in your home, they pose much more of a stinging risk than those outside of your home. Unlike bees, wasps and hornets can sting repeatedly, although they typically only do so if you are within 30 feet of their nest or you handle them in some way. The decision to kill them should be weighed with factors including time of year and if the nest is in your home.

Things You'll Need

  • Wasp Killer labelled insecticide
  • Fly swatter

Nest Not in Home

  • Hit the few stragglers with a fly swatter. Do not attempt to hit them if they are out of reach; they will become defensive and aggressive if you miss them. Hit them strongly and squarely for a quick death.

  • Find where the wasps are coming in. If you notice them in one room but not others, check for holes around window sills or any other access point that leads outside such as where cable lines come in. Use caution; you may discover that the hornets or wasps are nesting inside the wall or attic during your search. A nest is much harder -- and more dangerous -- to deal with than a few straggling wasps or hornets.

  • Fill the hornets' entrance point to ensure they cannot get back in. There are several methods of filling the hole. including expanding foam.

Nest Inside Home

  • Identify the wasp or hornet species inhabiting your home. The species that most commonly enter homes to build nests are paper wasps and yellow jackets. Paper wasps have a slender waist connecting the abdomen to the body. They can be yellow and black or combinations of reddish brown and yellow. Their last pair of legs dangle below the body in flight. Yellow jackets are hornets and are much more stout-bodied, yellow and black and their rear legs are held close to the body in flight.

  • Find the nest entrance, but use caution. Although most wasps and hornets are fairly docile, the sight of you near the nest may set off a frenzy. If you couldn't identify the type of wasp or hornet, try to identify the nest. Paper wasps build umbrella-shaped nests hanging from a high place. Their nests are open, meaning that you can see exposed cells on the bottom. Yellow jackets nest in voids, most commonly in the ground but they are opportunistic and a wall void or sometimes clutter in an attic will provide them with the shelter they need. The native paper wasps build nests that hold a colony of dozens of wasps; European paper wasps may have thousands of members in their colony and are much more difficult to control and are aggressive.

  • Do nothing to the nest if it is autumn; hornets and wasps die off when the temperatures drop, leaving only an overwintering queen who will typically build a new nest in spring elsewhere.

  • Hire a pest control company if the nest is very large or hidden in an inaccessible space. Large or hidden nests can result in more stings, which may become medically significant.

  • Spray the wasp killer spray into the nest entrance at dusk, standing the maximum distance away for a clear stream of insecticide -- typically 10 to 30 feet. Move back quickly, but not running, after you spray in case the hornets or wasps come out of the nest. Wasp and hornet sprays contain an insecticide that "freezes" the wasps or hornets on contact. It is important to wait until dusk because most of the wasps will be in the nest.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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