Back to the Insect Library »



Wasps & Hornets - Flying Insect Library - Saferbrand

Wasps & Hornets

Wasps and hornets can turn a family backyard event, into a painful experience. Getting rid of these annoying insects can be no picnic, but using a product like Safer® Brand Wasp and Hornet aerosol, you can eliminate them on contact.


This page will tell you what exactly is the difference between a wasp and a hornet, as well as how to get rid of them...organically


So... What's a Wasp? What's a Hornet?

Wasps can be divided into three groups: parasitic wasps, which are beneficial insects, solitary hunting wasps, which hunt spiders and other insects, and social wasps which are the ones people encounter the most.


Social wasps include hornets, yellow jackets, and umbrella or paper wasps.


Hornets can be broken down into two main groups: the bald-faced hornet and giant hornet (English hornet), both of which are not aggressive towards people but they will defend their nest if provoked. Bald-faced hornets measure about 1/2", and giant hornets measure about 1" in length and have whitish and black bodies. Hornets can be eliminated using the Safer®Brand Wasp and Hornet aerosol


Paper Wasp

Yellow jackets, which can be aggressive towards humans, measure about 1/2" and are generally yellow and black.


Paper wasps or umbrella wasps are 3/4 to 1" long, slender wasps with smoky black wings. Body color varies by species but range from brown with yellow markings to an overall reddish brown. These features can be seen in the picture of a paper wasp (right).





Reproduction Patterns of Wasps and Hornets

The queen starts the colony each year in the spring, and sometimes she is the same queen from the previous year if she was fertilized and survived the winter. She will lay her eggs in the small paper nest she has begun.


The first hatchings are those that will develop from the larval state into an adult female worker. The queen will feed these larvae until they pupate.


Once they have pupated and become adult workers, they will continue to build the nest, tend to the queen and other larvae, search for food, and protect the colony.


Males are produced at the end of summer and mate before the colony perishes in the colder weather.





Wasp's & Hornet's Habitat

wasp nest

Wasps, yellow jackets and hornets can be found throughout North America in meadows, orchards, woodlands, playgrounds, cemeteries, and urban and suburban backyards. They vary in their nesting preferences.


Although they all chew wood pulp to build their nests, yellow jackets generally locate their nests below the ground surface while hornets and other wasps build their large nests up in the trees.


Besides locating their nests in trees, giant hornets will also build their nests in attics or house walls. Using a trap such as the Safer® Brand Deluxe Yellow Jacket Trap, you can eliminate these aggressive pests and enjoy your time outdoors!





Natural & Organic Controls


Yellow jacket/Wasp traps such as the Safer® Brand Deluxe Yellow Jacket trap and aerosols containing pyrethrin, d-limonene, palmarosa oil or mint oil such as Safer® Brand Wasp and Hornet appear to be the most effective control methods for these insects.



Pesticide-free traps contain food attractants instead of harmful chemicals.


These traps should be placed along the borders of your lawn. When checking on them, be very careful not to get stung. Carefully read and follow all instructions completely for safe and effective trap usage.


A non-poisonous aerosol spray that contains mint oil can be a very effective instant spot control product - and it has a pleasant mint scent!


Pyrethrin, d-limonene, and/or palmarosa oil sprays can also be used for instant spot control. In addition, they can be used to drench the nestor hive.

Wasp Nest


If you are attempting to spray a nest of wasps, be sure to wear a bee veil and very protective clothing which is closed at the cuff of pants and sleeves as well as the collar and belt areas so wasps cannot crawl under your clothes and sting you.


Spray from approximately 10-15 feet away or as far away as you can manage based on the position of the nest. Spray with the wind at your back. Carefully read and follow all instructions completely for safe and effective application.



Once a trap such as the Safer® Brand Deluxe Yellow Jacket trap is set up, it will take about 24 hours to fully lure wasps & yellow jackets, so plan ahead if you're having a backyard party or outdoor event.


When treating a full nest, spray aerosol solutions after dusk or before dawn since these insects are dormant at night.


Why Choose a Natural Solution?

Natural solutions break down quickly to their natural elements. They are preferable to chemical pesticides that leave residuals where they are sprayed causing long-term detrimental affects on the environment.





Natural Predators


Birds and other insects eat wasps and hornets, helping to control their populations.


wasps and yellow jackets


Birds that eat both insects and birdseed may be able to be attracted to your yard through the use of birdfeeders.



Place bird feeders in the yard at anytime throughout the year, although the main time for attracting birds in hopes they will also go after the wasps and hornets would be during the late spring and summer when these insects emerge and are active.



Images courtesy of Oklahoma State University and Forestry Images.
For a complete list of content sources please visit our site bibliography page



Safer®Brand brings you a variety of effective insect control products that are gentler on the environment! Most of them proudly display the OMRI Listed® organic seal and comply for use in organic gardening!


organic gardening products with the OMRI listed seal