There are several species of social wasp in Great Britain. Common wasps have sharp tapered abdomens and are black and yellow striped. The hornet is the largest British wasp. Wasps can be useful pollinators and are beneficial in catching and killing garden pests (aphids) to feed their offspring. . All wasps have a reputation for stinging. Stings can be very painful and also, in cases, have a severe allergic reaction.

Where Do They Live?

Queen wasps hibernate over winter and emerge to build a nest in the spring. The nest will usually be located either in the ground or in cavities in trees, walls or buildings. Frequently wasps will nest in the roof space of a house. The nest is built up from wood pulp, which is moulded into the outer shell of the nest and many internal chambers. In autumn all wasps die with the exception of the new queens that hibernate then emerge to build new nests the following spring. An old nest is not used in subsequent years.

What Do I Do If I Have a Wasp Nest?

If wasps are seen entering a building e.g. under a roof tile, in a wall cavity, shed or hole in the ground, and they are becoming a nuisance, then treatment should be considered. However, unless such a danger exists, the nests are best left undisturbed.

You can treat wasp nests yourself although care should obviously be taken in doing so. Consider the risks carefully before attempting a treatment yourself. Wasps are very aggressive when their nest is threatened, and multiple stings may result if your protective clothing is inadequate. If in doubt you should contact the Council’s Pest Control Officers who will provide a professional treatment.


A Pest Control Officer will visit your premises and inspect the area of concern. The wasp nest(s) will be treated by powders or sprays depending upon location/size of wasp/hornets nest. The Wasp nest will be removed if possible. Treatment will take approximately 30 minutes for the majority of nests, sometimes longer depending on size of nest and location.

We do not recommend self-treating. This can be dangerous if you are unprotected.