How To Get Rid Of Red Wasps (Even When You Can’t Find The Nest)

If you have a wasp nest in the house, it is a good idea to have it removed. But what should you do if you can’t find the nest? In this article, we discuss some ideas.

Red paper (Polistes Carolina) wasp stings can be excruciatingly painful. While they are not aggressive by nature, they might sting you repeatedly if they feel threatened.

These social wasps build nests in tree branches and under the eaves of houses or porch roofs. It is a good idea to keep these stinging insects away from your home, especially if you have children or pets.

Although the best method of getting rid of these wasps is to inspect nests and manually remove them, sometimes it might be hard to find their nest, or it may be in a place where you are unable to reach them.

You can try some of the remedies below even if you cannot find the nest.

How To Get Rid Of Red Wasps (Even When You Can't Find The Nest)

How To Make Sure They Are Red Wasps?

One clear feature, of course, is that red wasps are red. But when you have insects buzzing over your head, that’s not always easy to see.

So below are a few things that will tell you that you are indeed facing the Polistes Carolina:


Red wasps do all their activity, from feeding to breeding, during the day while they remain inactive during the night. They die during winter months and start breeding once the weather becomes warmer.

Location & Habitat

They are found across North America, and their favorite nest spots include near buildings, beside the front door, and on the soil beside a strong tree.

Red wasps are commonly found near flowering plants as they feed on nectar. Red wasps love to feed on Goldenrods.


If you do get a closer look, check out these features of the wasps. Adult Red wasps can measure up to an inch long in length. As the name suggests, these wasps have predominant red bodies with dark blue or purplish-black colored wings.

Their dark bodies have stripes of red and yellow. Be careful not to get confused by looking at the lines of the red wasps that are similar to jacketed wasps.

How To Get Rid Of Red Wasps (Even When You Can't Find The Nest)

You May Not Need To Remove Them At All

While most people are instinctively afraid of stinging wasps, our first suggestion is that you might not need to remove them at all.

Red wasps live in colonies and tend to have little or no aggression toward you until they attack them or feel threatened by you, so if you imagine angry wasps attacking you, that won’t happen.

In fact, red wasps are among those species of wasps that do more benefit to your garden than harm.

They are pollinators for entomophilous flowers (the flowers that bribe insects with nectar for carrying out pollination). This is why entomologists consider them ecologically important.

However, if you find the presence of the wasps disturbing, one of the easiest ways to get rid of them is to remove the source or the thing attracting them.

Try observing them for some time and locating any particular spot they are attracted to or any plants they visit often.

For example, if you find wasps visiting a particular flower in your garden, get rid of it.

Sometimes, you might not get an option to coexist. If you have kids or someone with a wasp venom allergy, it is best to remove any wasp colonies on your property.

Try Finding the Nest First

Before trying other methods, perhaps it might be wiser to do everything in your power to find their nests. All other methods of removing them are indirect and may yield limited results.

In this section, we will talk about finding their nests.

Paper wasp nests have a grey color and are made of a paper-like substance (which they create by mixing their saliva with wood pulp scraped off from trees and deadwood).

Wasp nests can hang vertically on a stalk, from walls, or even curtains.

Red wasps build nests in protected areas to prevent attacks by other animals, including human homeowners. Here’s a list of sheltered spots in your house where you might find them:

  • The underside area of balconies
  • Porch ceilings
  • Beneath the overhanging eaves and awnings
  • Corners of the windows.
  • Underneath the porches and decks
  • Insides of the gas grills and hose reels
  • Inside the attic area

Paper wasps can also nest outside your house in places such as:

  • On the window panes and frames of doors and windows
  • Inside the eaves
  • Surface of Outbuildings
  • Underneath the decks

Removing nests is the primary method of getting rid of the red wasps. You need to be vigilant and destroy them before they start growing.

How To Get Rid Of Red Wasps (Even When You Can't Find The Nest)

What If You Can’t Find The Nest?

You can physically remove a red wasp nest from your house. But what if you can see red wasps around you but fail to find any wasp nests?

Then you might try attracting the wasps and luring them into making a nest somewhere you can see, or else use indirect DIY methods to remove them.

Alternatively, you can also try covering holes and gaps in walls, perimeter spraying, and other given methods of removing red wasps from your house.

Let’s look at some of these ways below.

Make a Fake Wasp Nest

If you cannot find any wasp nests in your house, you can try building a fake wasp nest and hanging it anywhere in your home. Wasps are territorial and would not invade a region already occupied by other wasps.

To make a fake nest, you need a large grocery bag, some tape, a hole puncher, and scissors.

Firstly, crumple the grocery bag and twist shut the open end, taping it from the outside. Try to mold the open end as best as you can to the shape of a wasp nest (you can check pictures online if you are not sure).

Next, make a hole in the tape to hang the nest and use a rope or twine to hang it from one of the places we mentioned earlier.

This simple method will remove paper wasp nests almost instantly.


Baiting could be a good option if you cannot find any wasp nests or the nests are unreachable, and you cannot spray any insecticide on them or dust it.

You can try several baiting products available in the market that attract wasps out of their nest, thus making it easy to eliminate them.

How To Get Rid Of Red Wasps (Even When You Can't Find The Nest)

Remove Flowers, Fruits, and Sugary Things

Wasps are attracted to sugary food items, such as rotten fruits and vegetables since nectar is their favorite food item.

To prevent them from coming to your home, it would be best to throw out fallen fruits or berries from your orchard and get rid of any food scraps around your house.

You should also remove any hummingbird feeders near your home so that the wasps do not get attracted to them.

You need to ensure not to leave pet food around your house. Sealing and covering outdoor garbage cans and maintaining hygiene is essential to avoid such insect infestations.

Use wasp-repellent plants

Many plants, such as pennyroyal, marigold, wormwood, mint, basil, and geranium, contain volatile substances that have insecticidal properties.

You can keep such plants in your indoor garden to keep wasps away.

Cover or treat holes

Any large or small hole in your house can easily become an entry point for wasps to come into your house.

Fill up the gaps around your house or crevices in the walls using caulk. Make sure to regularly check the frames of windows and doors for any damage.

How To Get Rid Of Red Wasps (Even When You Can't Find The Nest)

Apply herbal solutions on your walls and windows

You can try applying herbal solutions such as essential oils of clove, lemongrass, and geranium on the window panes, door primes, and outside walls.

These solutions give out odors that wasps do not like. This would prevent the entry of any wasps indoors.

Perimeter Spraying

Perimeter spraying is an excellent way to remove wasps if you fail to find any wasp nests in or around your house.

You can use the same insecticidal sprays that are used to remove their nests.

Flowering plants with nectar or a sweet smell in your garden attracts wasps, so this should be the first place for perimeter spraying.

However, as insecticides could be harmful to your plants, try to spray them around them and not directly on them.

Along with gardens, you must spray the insecticidal solution near the doors and windows of your house. This would prevent wasps from entering your home through any entryways.

The perimeter spraying method has its limitations. It would not help you to eliminate wasps, but only keep them away for a while.

If the problem is too widespread and you still cannot find the nest, you should consider calling in a pest management professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get rid of wasps when they keep coming back?

If wasps repeatedly invade your home, they might not have left in the first place itself!
It would be wise to start looking for nests again and spraying insecticides to remove them. If you keep at it, the wasps will eventually tire of making their nest and choose a different spot.
Moreover, regular chemical treatments can help eliminate wasps from your house.

Do wasps eventually go away?

Once you start the removal treatments and use products such as wasp spray, they will eventually move out.
Wasps usually do not survive winter (except for queen wasps, who can overwinter). But they do come back during summers each year to make their nests.
Early summer or spring is the best time to make sure that they do not make a nest in your home. Be vigilant and use chemical treatments on any small nests you see to remove them.

How do you get rid of a wasp’s nest in hard-to-reach places?

For such cases, you can try treating the nests with wasp sprays. Aerosol wasp sprays can reach a nest from as far away as 15-20 feet.
If you feel the spray is not reaching the nest, you might want to seek help from a wasp removal service.

What month do wasps start dying off?

Wasps start dying off during the winter months when the temperature falls below their tolerance level.
Even the queen of the colony either dies or overwinters during these months. The time from mid-September to mid-October is marked as the beginning of the wasp’s declining population.

Wrap Up

Red wasps are not aggressive toward you, but keeping a safe distance from them is wise.

They build nests amongst compost piles and in and around buildings. If you see red wasps flying around you, some of the ideas in our article might help.

Thank you for reading!


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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