Hot Topics: Wasp and Bee Infestation

A close-up image of a wasp nest against a wood and metal structure with wasps on it.

Here on we enjoy providing a place where home improvement novices and experts can come together to share ideas and advice. Inside our Forums, users can browse threads to see what exchanges are taking place on a topic of interest or start their own dialogue by posting something for the community to take part in. With over 250,000 members and counting, this resource is quite active so each week we highlight one of the conversations that may just help you with that next DIY project.

Wasps and bees aren't something you can simply tolerate if they're invading your home in large numbers. But sometimes calling in a pro, as this DIYer found out, isn't enough to eradicate the issue. He turns to our trusty forum to find a permanent pest control solution for his cabin.

Norm201 Member

My cabin has a major bee infestation. The previous owner had a pro come out, but they came back. Since the job was guaranteed, the previous owner had the pro come out again this spring and apply more "poison." Again, they came back big time. Last week, he did another application and supposedly this did it. I'm told the larva need to be killed.

The problem is that the bee infestation is in (under) the roof. I vacuumed about a thousand dead bees from the floor last time I was out there. I don't want to block the hole that they come in on the inside until I'm sure they are dead or gone. Unless the roofing is removed and the queen and comb is removed, I don't think any more applications are going to help. However, since I can't expect the pro to do any more (it's not my dime) and I'm not ready this year to replace the roofing, I was wondering about the effect of putting in one of those insect bombs for the winter. I can insert it into the roof from both the outside and inside. Any thoughts?

Onto the wasp problem. On the opposite side of the cabin, a wasp nest was built that is about the size of a basketball. These are just on the outside under the peak eave. I sprayed the nest and almost all died immediately and the nest was almost bare, but I ran out of spray and could not fully spray the complete nest.

My question: If I completely spray and kill off all the wasps, should I leave the bare nest in place as a deterrent, or should I remove it? Does it make a difference? Will leaving the old nest do any harm to building? Early in the spring, I did remove an old nest but then it looked like they decided it was OK to rebuild.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

I generally remove the nests on the house, but leave the ones on the barn; I don't think it has any effect on whether or not they return. Do you have attic access? It's best to stock up on that 20' bee spray!

Norm201 Member

No, no attic space. I'll being going out there later today to see what's up. Yes, I have stocked up on the wasp spray.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

I think the biggest issue is not living in it full-time. I bought my place in February, but didn't move in until December. I think we all got stung in January. I had eradicated all the bees/wasps by summer.

Bud9051 Member

Unfortunately, you are only seeing a few wasps and bees compared to what actually live in your area. Even if you killed all of the ones living in/on your cabin, there are thousands remaining in the surrounding area and come spring, they will return.

In addition to taking out the immediate risk, you need to make your cabin less (zero) attractive and I don't think poisons will do that. The nests under the eaves can easily be removed each year. It's the hidden ones that need to have their hiding places eliminated.

Norm201 Member

Marksr, you're right about that. This is only a cabin with no power. It's only used on weekends and in good weather. The previous owner (and builder) did in fact live in it year-round and was able to maintain it. But during the last 10 years, it's been abandoned. Needs some cosmetic work, but otherwise it's in sound shape. The only real issue is the roof. I plan on putting a metal roof on next year.
Bud, I was responding to Marksr's post as you were posting. I don't think any "hidden" nests are in the cabin. How does one make a structure "zero attractive"? Even our regular living areas are always being "nested" by wasps and bees. I think I'll need to do a regular schedule of spraying (weekly or whenever I'm there) to deter nest building.

PAbugman Forum Topic Moderator

The bees that continue to be a problem sound like honey bees. Even if the present colony is dead, there will continue to be problems due to the honey and the combs as it will be attractive to other honey bee colonies in the future. This may be what is happening now. Removal and thorough cleaning and thorough sealing will be necessary. Even with a good cleaning, the pheromones and scents will still be present to some degree unless all surrounding building material is removed. A thorough sealing may help prevent re-infestation, though.

I’m not crazy about the aerosol bomb idea. Consider using “no pest strips,” such as the ones that I will link to, if you can get them into the area where the bees are. They don’t have to be right in the heart of it all, but close.

As to the wasps/hornets nest—you can remove them or not. Winter alone would solve the problem. A queen will overwinter, but they always leave in the spring and none ever move back in. Leaving it or removing it has no deterrent effect. Sometimes birds will tear them up for nesting material.
Strips with the same active ingredient but a different brand name can be bought in the big box stores, feed mills, hardware stores, etc. depending on what state you live in. These are good in void spaces. If the air exchanges too much, then they aren’t nearly as effective.