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How to Get Rid of Ground Wasps

If you love spending time outdoors and enjoying nature, the last thing you want is to see ground wasps in your yard. These bugs can cause a lot of anxiety and fear when they are around. Not only that, but ground wasps can also be dangerous—they are known for their painful stings and aggressive behavior. 

But don’t worry! There are ways to get rid of ground wasps without putting yourself at risk. Let’s take a look at how to handle these pesky bugs. 

How do you recognize a ground wasp?

Ground wasps are not separate wasp species. It is colloquially used to describe species that build their nests underground, such as the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) and the German wasp (Vespula germanica). These belong to the genus of short-headed wasps. 

Ground wasps build their nests in dark, cavernous places, such as abandoned mole or mouse burrows.

But beware: Bees also live partly underground, so you should ensure that you are dealing with wasps. Bees are harmless, and it’s illegal to kill bees.

Compared to bee nests, ground wasp nests have significantly more extensive entrances. Ground wasps often only get into their shelter through a single entry hole. Also, optically the affiliation of the ground wasps to the normal wasps is recognizable. The insects have the typical physique, including the "wasp waist" and the conspicuous yellow-black coloration.

Ground wasps how to recognize them

Are ground wasps dangerous?

Ground wasps can be intimidating on sight, but they are mostly harmless. In truth, these beneficial insects are incredibly important for pest control in the garden and around outdoor areas. 

However, ground wasps should still be treated with caution. If disturbed, they may sting as a defense mechanism. Wearing protective clothing when near nests is highly advisable. Their stinger may cause some localized pain or discomfort - but this is nothing to worry about too much as it is usually non-threatening.

Very important when dealing with insects: Do not intentionally scare the ground wasps away; instead, give the ground wasp nests a wide berth. When making contact, you should always remain calm and passive. 

What’s the worst thing about ground wasps

Ground wasps and their subterranean nests make earth wasps particularly dangerous in gardens with children. It is easy to step into a ground wasp nest accidentally – and, in the worst case, barefoot. 

As soon as it gets warm, you should keep an eye out for insects. From about June, the nests have reached an appropriate size, and you can see the earth wasps buzzing around the affected areas.

Ground wasp nest

Getting rid of ground wasp nests

Have you discovered a ground wasp nest in the garden? Here's how to remove the nest and drive away the ground wasps. 

Again and again, there are unpleasant encounters between ground wasps and garden owners. Unfortunately, ground wasp nests in the garden are not uncommon and often dangerous, especially when small children and pets are around. 

Identify the ground wasp nest 

The first step in getting rid of ground wasps is to identify where their nest is located. This can be tricky because ground wasps build nests underground. Ground wasps like to nest in holes made by moles and mice. This makes them particularly dangerous in gardens with children.

To help locate the nest, keep an eye out for flying insects that regularly enter and exit the same spot in your yard. Once you have identified the nest, mark it with something like a stick so you can easily recognize it later.

For example, you can mark the spot with a wooden frame, which should be set up at a great distance of about three meters from the nest. Children can see immediately which places they should avoid. 

If the ground wasp nest is on a lawn, you can mark it with a flag and stretch warning tape within a radius of two meters. In this way, you can also prevent the lawnmower from driving over this area.

Conduct regular nest inspections 

Once you have identified the nest, you must conduct regular inspections of your yard to ensure no new nests or colonies are forming elsewhere on your property. Make sure to check areas like flower beds, mulch piles, and other dark crevices where ground wasps may be hiding out. Inspections should be done weekly until all signs of activity cease completely.  

How to remove the ground wasp nest safely 

Once all signs of activity have ceased and you feel confident that no additional nests exist in your yard, it’s time to remove the existing nest from your property safely and effectively. If you decide to do this yourself, make sure you wear protective clothing such as gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, pants, shoes with socks, and even safety glasses if needed. 

You will also need some sort of dust or aerosol insecticide containing pyrethrin or permethrin specifically designed to kill ground wasps (follow directions carefully). 

After applying the insecticide directly into the hole where the nest is located (not on top!), cover up the hole with soil or sand—this will ensure that no more bugs will come out from underground!  

Can I remove the ground wasp nest myself?

Once ground wasps have occupied a hole in the ground, they rarely give it up voluntarily. But the earth wasp nest must not be removed just like that: wasps and their nests are under nature protection legislation in most countries, so before removal, a permit must be obtained from the nature conservation authority or the respective city administration. 

Once approval is obtained, the ground wasp nest can be removed. However, do not remove the nest on your own, but leave this task to a specialist such as a beekeeper or an exterminator. In some regions, you can also contact special "wasp emergency services." The experts have special protective equipment. They also know how ground wasps behave and how to remove the nests safely.

Eliminate ground wasps with wasp foam or wasp spray

There are wasp foam and wasp sprays on the market that can also be used to combat ground wasps. Wasp foam is fed into the entry hole with a tube for 5 to 20 seconds and encloses the animals inside their nest. Wasp spray is sprayed directly into the burrow for about ten seconds using a tube about 20 centimeters long. 

However, such control methods are controversial: the toxins in these agents not only affect the nervous system of the ground wasps but can also pose a danger to other animals, humans, and the environment.

Fumigate or flood ground wasp nest

In the past, sawdust nests were often removed by igniting twigs in front of the entry hole, and the smoke was directed into the nest. A permit must also be obtained for this type of disposal. 

In addition, a professional should always carry out fumigation because the smoke makes the wasps aggressive, and several passes are often necessary. 

And another point speaks against the method: The smoke does not drive away the earth wasps but lets them die in agony. Flooding the earth wasp nests should also only be done in exceptional situations and should only be carried out by a specialist.

Lay the entry hole

A gentler method to drive away earth wasps from a specific place is to relocate the entry hole. To do this, an angle piece is placed on the entry hole, connecting a pipe about two meters long. The pipe opening leads out of the endangered area. This action should also be carried out by a professional with the appropriate protective equipment.

Prevent earth wasp nests

So that earth wasps do not even settle in certain areas, there is a good trick for garden owners. Since insects do not like strong smells, you can keep them away by growing fragrant plants. Examples of such plants are:

  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic

Plant strong-smelling plants around the seating areas in the garden. And another tip: You can remove abandoned ground wasp nests in autumn by filling them up and stamping the earth firmly. This reduces the risk of insects returning next year.


Ground wasps may be intimidating, but taking precautionary measures such as wearing protective clothing and using insecticide products designed explicitly to kill them can make all the difference in keeping these pests away from your home and garden once and for all! 

Don’t want to meddle with toxic substances and protective garb? Then your best bet is an ultrasonic pest repeller that keeps nasty insects at bay.

With these steps in mind, you can enjoy spending time outdoors without worrying about coming across any unpleasant surprises along the way!

Julia Gabriel