REMOVING WASPS: When social wasps pose a danger to their human neighbors, simple measures are available to reduce risk. Typically, bees or wasps become more defensive later in the summer and into fall, when local food resources become scarce.

The natural life cycle of wasp colonies in Pennsylvania ends as winter approaches.

Carefully observe the insects in summer and fall and mark areas serving as entrances so it can be sealed later when the insects are no longer active. Never attempt to seal wasps inside a wall or the ground. They are capable of excavating a new entrance which could lead to an even less desirable situation, particularly if the new entrance is inside a home.

When removal is necessary, hiring a professional pest management business is the safest way to eliminate a wasp nest, particularly when the nest is located inside or on the walls of residential structures. Certified pest control experts have specialized training and access to regulated pesticides that allow the safe and complete removal of unwanted colonies.

Non-chemical removal options can be performed by professionals or homeowners. These measures should never be carried out by individuals who are allergic or sensitive to stings. Protective clothing (long sleeves, pants, gloves, and a face veil) is required when treating or removing a colony. The hanging nests of the paper wasp can be sprayed with a jet of water from a safe distance.

For yellowjackets, flooding the nest with soapy water can effectively control some nests, though this is dependent on the size and shape of the nest. The soap will kill the queen and brood and is minimally disruptive to the local environment. Bald-faced hornets are best left alone or managed by a professional.