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Removing unwanted bee/ hornet nests

One evening this summer, I witnessed two small children getting stung many times by yellow jackets while waiting to get a drink of water at a picnic and campground. Frequently I get requests for help or advice on how to get rid of bees and hornets in high use areas where people frequent. Most of the suggestions range from "smoking them out," "drowning them out," or "gassing them out." I think most of these suggestions are holdover methods or ideas that originated from the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific Islands during mid-century wars that make up our history. If you have a bees nest by your front door, it might be a tad risky to "smudge them out". Check your homeowners insurance policy first.

The most efficient way is to wait until after dark when most if not all the hornets have returned to the nest then spray a good dose of registered wasp/ hornet spray into the opening. I have also found that before daylight in early morning works well and there is less chance of becoming stung. Ground nesting bees can be controlled the same way, just aim the spray nozzle toward the ground. Ground nests can be more tricky due to nests being a foot or more in diameter. Cygon 2-E, Orthene diazinon, or Sevin could be applied more effectively in this situation. A non-chemical control would be to wait until fall or winter and physically destroy the nest. Wasps will continue to use the same nest enlarging it more every year.

It is important to note that wasps, hornets, and bees are extremely beneficial creatures and control should be targeted only to problem areas. They are merely doing what most species do in warding off possible danger to their family and nest.