UK Environment Services | Edinburgh

Professional Pest Control

0131 623 1806


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    Wasps Nest Removal

    Safe treatment, removal & disposal
    available for problem nests

Treating & Removing Problem Wasps Nests

Whilst there are many beneficial aspects to the presence of wasps, nests located in occupied buildings and in people's homes can give cause for concern. We offer fixed price arrangements that can include the treatment, removal and safe disposal of any wasps nest that may be troubling you. 

In most cases these comprehensive treatments cost just £89 (inclusive) and involve using long reach application equipment; to apply a professional grade insecticide to the nest that will quickly kill-off any wasps present. The long reach application equipment that we use allows us to directly treat nests that are located at height, from the ground. This is safer, reduces the treatment time and removes the need to use elevation equipment such as cherry pickers.

Many clients request that we remove & dispose of the nest after the insecticide treatment has taken effect. Whilst this is not strictly necessary (wasps nests are not re-used) it is included in all our treatment programs and will be carried out when the nest is accessible.

Types of Wasp, Habitat & Behaviour

All the wasps, bees and hornets present in the U.K belong to the order (or sub-orders of) Hymenoptera; a name which is derived from the Greek words "hymen" meaning membrane and "ptera" which means wings. There are several different species of wasps found in the U.K, some are only found in certain areas and there are variations in size and behaviour. The species of wasps most commonly found in the U.K are:

  • The common wasp (Vespula vulgaris)
  • The German wasp (Vespula germanica)
  • The tree wasp (Dolichovespula sylvestris) 
  • The Norwegian wasp (Dolichovespula norwegica)

The common wasp and the German wasp are the two most prevalent species in the U.K, whilst the tree and Norwegian wasps are dominant in northern Scotland but are seen less frequently across the rest of the mainland. The adult workers of the common & German wasps are usually 10-20mm in length and have the distinctive black and yellow banding. The queens are slightly larger than the adults but there is usually not too much difference in colouration.

Common and German wasps begin their lives as eggs laid by a queen in hexagonal cells throughout spring and summer. The cells are made from a paper material that is formed by the wasps as they chew on wood & bark fibres. The queen herself begins life as one of a small number of "special eggs" laid in the previous summer; these eggs hatch alongside males and mating begins. The fertilised females then leave the nest to find a suitable location to "overwinter" and emerge in the early spring to start a new colony. 

The nests are smaller than a golf ball initially and usually no more than 20 eggs are laid. The larvae that emerge are fed on insects and other invertebrates and go on to become the first brood of adult workers. These adult workers are sterile females and take over the task of enlarging the nest; as well providing food for any subsequent larvae that emerge from the next batch of eggs the queen lays.

By late summer the nest will contain up to 5000 individual wasps and can be bigger than a basketball. The onset of winter kills off the workers and the males with only the fertilised queens surviving in hibernation.

Common & German wasps nest in trees and soil banks as well roof spaces and walls in cavities. They will in most cases pose little more than a nuisance to humans but can become aggressive in the autumn months; as their feeding on overly-ripe fruit can produce an almost drunken behaviour.

The tree & Norwegian wasps are slightly smaller than the German & common wasps but are considered to be far more aggressive. Fortunately they nest in trees and bushes and tend to avoid buildings & humans unless disturbed or angered.

Other slightly less common but still highly prevalent species include:

  • The Saxon wasp (Dolichovespula saxonica)
  • The median wasp (Dolichovespula media)
  • The giant wood wasp (Urocerus gigas)

The Saxon wasp is primarily found in south east England, although they are spreading and becoming more common in other areas. Saxon wasps nests are usually seen hanging from trees, in garages or from the eaves of houses. 

The median wasp is prevalent over England & Wales as well as southern Scotland and has a similar nesting habit to the Saxon wasp. The median wasp can be found in an almost black colour with significantly reduced yellow banding on the abdomen; although most retain the "standard" wasp colour pattern.

The giant wood wasp is a close relative of the aforementioned wasps and belongs to the sub-order Symphyta. An adult giant wood wasp is approximately 5cm (2 inches) in length but despite its size is harmless to humans as it has no sting. The rigid spike that protrudes from the back of the female wasp is an ovipositor that is used to deposit eggs into felled or decaying timber. These grubs spend years developing and can sometimes emerge after the wood has been used to construct houses or other buildings.

This method of reproducing is the reason why giant wood wasps are usually found near softwood (coniferae) tree plantations and are present all over the U.K.

The hornet or European hornet (Vespa crabro) is slightly larger than the common wasp at 18-35mm and has a yellow and brown coloured banding. It is mainly seen in the southern half of England and is not particularly common. It can frighten people because of its size but it is not considered to be an aggressive or dangerous species and neither they nor their nests should be destroyed unless it is absolutely necessary.

The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) has been the subject of many media scare stories in recent months. They appeared in France in 2004 and their numbers have grown dramatically (in France) since that time. It is probably only a matter of time before they begin to populate the U.K (there are currently a few unconfirmed sightings) but contrary to what you may have read or seen on TV, they are not particularly dangerous to humans and the 6 reported deaths that have occurred; are as a result of severe reactions and have taken place over a 10-11 year period.

The Asian hornet is however a non-native species and a predator to the native honey bee. For this reason if they are discovered in the U.K then the nest should be destroyed as soon as possible; by someone suitably qualified and equipped. The Asian hornet is sometimes confused with the Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) and it's sub-species the Japanese giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica). Both are far more dangerous species than the Asian hornet and kill dozens every year In China & Japan but neither are currently present in the U.K.

Potential Dangers When to Seek Medical Attention

Stings from wasps, bees and hornets can be painful but are very rarely life threatening; with a rash, swelling and/or pain (in the area of the sting) occurring for a few days usually being the worst that occurs. If the individual that's been stung has developed a hypersensitivity to the venom (usually from being stung on a previous occasion or occasions and/or possibly a genetic disposition) then anaphylaxis (also referred to as anaphylactic shock) can occur.

In the U.K anaphylaxis kills about 20 people every year; the danger from wasp & hornet stings is increased when multiple stings have been carried out (on an individual) or when the person being stung has an underlying medical condition; such as asthma or heart problems. Stings in the mouth or head also pose a high risk; in part because of the dangers of swelling in these areas.

It would be necessary to seek urgent medical assistance if any of the following symptoms occur after someone has been stung (on any part of their body):

  • Swelling in the face or mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Confusion, agitation or anxiety

Although it is possible for wasps, bees and hornets to spread disease through cross-contamination any likely risk can be mitigated by good hygiene practices such as washing fruit before consumption and by utilising effective pest control measures; such as insect screens where appropriate.

The Importance of Wasps, Bees and Hornets

It should be emphasised that all wasps, bees and hornets form part of the eco-system and have beneficial aspects; such as helping to curtail damaging garden insect pests. If the nest is located away from inhabited buildings or occupied areas then it is probably best to leave it alone undisturbed. Wasps nest are not reused after they are vacated, although wasps may return to the site and build a nest nearby if the conditions are favourable.


To get more information and remove pests from your property contact us on 0131 623 1806



  • Safe & rapid treatment of problem nests
  • The best professional grade insecticides 
  • Long reach equipment reduces the time & costs involved
Vespula vulgaris
Vespula germanica
Dolichovespula sylvestris
Dolichovespula norwegica
Dolichovespula saxonica
Dolichovespula media