Lesson 614 – Wasps in the hen house

Photo credit: computerhotline

On my post about mucking out the hen house, a friend left a comment about how he had a wasp’s nest in his henhouse. There were three complicating factors to this wasp nest.

  1. It was inside the hen house where the chickens nested and because of that he was reluctant to use any pesticides.
  2. He had contacted the local “critter” company who said they could get rid of it for $150 (yup, you read that right) which would have made for some very costly eggs.
  3. He is highly allergic to insect stings.

A conundrum if I ever heard one.

I reached out to my fellow chicken owner friends and checked around a bit and these are the suggestions I got:

  • Leave it be, wasps eat other pesky bugs and are not such bad company to have.
  • Wait until night time and spray the nest with a high pressure hose.
  • Wait until night time and spray the nest with an orange oil containing product like Orange Glo.
  • Tape a bag around the nest (a clear bag so you can see what’s going on) and in a small hole insert a wasp killer spray and let the nest have it. You’ll know it’s worked when you see no more activity behind the bag.

I also got these comments from my facebook page:

“We had a bad infestation of wasps a few years back, but it was on the outside of the house. We just went to home depot and get got wasp spray. I suppose you could get all the chickens out first, bomb the coop and then remove all the hay, etc. We had fleas too and we removed all the critters from the house plus us for 3 hours on a Sunday morning and then just washed all the critters. Like I said, good luck.”

“leave it until the fall when the wasps go dormant then remove it. If you leave the wasps alone they wont sting. I have several nest around my house and have never been stung or even come close to being stung. I’ve even had my head inches below a nest without knowing it and the wasps just go about their business with no concern for me. Spraying the nest is the riskiest thing to do because it’ll rouse them and make them want to sting.”

“My dad use to be allergic highly too. He would suit up a few pairs of pants and shirts a full body work overalls and the head nest and use a very high pressure hose to kill them. He always did it at night later around 9pm when he would say they were tucked in.”

“How about several wasp traps in the vicinity (but out of the reach of the chickens.) you could maybe catch as many of them as you did flies?”

And I also remember going to a family friend’s house one summer when I was young and they had fish heads suspended over buckets of water. Yellow jackets would eat so much of the fish meat that they would drunkenly fall off into the water and then drown. I don’t know if wasps eat dead fish but I do know that I was mightily impressed with that approach. It’s a nasty death but at least they died with their tummies full.

Ultimately, I’m from the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” school of thought and if the wasps aren’t’ bothering anyone or thing, I’d be tempted to wait until winter and then just knock the darn thing down.

However, if it is a problem, then I would definitely do something (after pretty much putting on a snowmobile suit, helmet and goggles as protection – insect allergies run in our household, I know how serious they can be.) I think I’d start off with the Orange Glo suggestion at night (making sure of course that I was also wearing my best running shoes with that snowmobile suit.)

How about you? Any other wasp experiences or solutions that should be added to this list?



Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Coop care

5 responses to “Lesson 614 – Wasps in the hen house

  1. I like the Orange Glo and the High pressure washer options. I think the quickest is the foam spray as it covers a great area quickly but all you need is one to that got away to make matters worse,
    May have to keep the hens overnight in the garage (my car stays out) while I perform the procedure. Hens may think it’s cool to overnight someplace else 🙂

  2. Last time I tried to knock down a wasp nest the wicked witch followed me around the yard and stung me three times. That said, a thought came to me when reading all the other suggestions… I think you might have to be very brave to try this though.

    At night, take a container of hot soapy water into the chicken coup. Hold the container up as close as possible to the nest to cover it. Now slide a spatula or frosting spreader along the roof to dislodge the nest. When it falls into the soapy water the wasps should be trapped by the suds, but just to be safe, you could slide some cardboard between to act a cover so you can remove it from the area safely. Just my .02 cents worth. Lynda

    PS: Oh yes, and if it involves climbing a ladder, well then, forget about it! ‘-)

  3. Oh yes, my dear fiends the wasps!

    I regularly have to deal with these little critters. Maaahahaha!

    Some years I leave them alone but when they threaten my animals or myself I have to resort to resolving the issue.

    Truthfully, I have used the water hose trick with great success and no bites but I must say I do it in broad daylight.


    Because at night the little suckers fall down and around you, and because you cannot see them crawling in their little vindictive ways up your boots and onto your legs (they have a mean and nasty sting) and they do seek revenge. By doing it this way (in daylight) you can see those smarter and more determined than the average wasps attempting to crawl or even trying to fly at you.

    The water literally blasts them down onto the ground and macerates their nest to a pulverized mush. I don’t have a high pressure hose near the chicken coop but I turn the hose on and stick my index finger over the end of the hose and create as much pressure as I can to get the little demons dislodged from the premises.

    Cheeky little buggers think they can live rent free. Not in my chook house no siree!

    Zak ~ the destroyer.

    PS: I have only been stung once. I was entering the pen on dusk and didn’t know there was a nice (not so nice) active nest above. One wasp must have been having a really bad day, or had the rags on or something, and decided to fly down and sting me on the back of my neck. It hurt like all f**ing-expletives and it was from that day on I decided wasps no longer could freeload at my place.
    Fair enough?

    • The wasps/hornets in our area are very aggressive and I was watering my roses one summer day and I went to pull a weed and a small nest was right on the fence wire near by and I got stung. I instinctively grabbed my hurt arm with my muddy glove and what a thing? The sting went away relatively fast. I guess wet mud might have sucked the venom away.

  4. Sadie

    I have used dish washing detergent and water in a spray bottle. Seems to work like poison and won’t kill the chickens

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