What happens to the colony when I knock down a wasp nest?

When I find a wasp nest on my porch or in my garage, I get a broom handle and knock it down. Does the colony relocate, or do they just disperse and die? I don’t mean them any ill will. I just don’t want them in an area where I might get stung.

they get pissed and will sting you. if it’s a small-ish nest, I’d hit it with wasp spray (makes them go into “insta-seizure.”) if it’s bigger, get an exterminator. wasps and hornets are extremely ill-tempered and aggressive, they sting you just because you happen to be near them. disturb their nest at broom handle distance, and they’re coming after your ass.

Yellow-jackets built a nest on the motion light on the side of our garage one summer. When I noticed it, I had my husband knock it down because it was so close to where the dogs and grandkids hang out. He whacked it down with a broom (and took off running!). After a few minutes, they seemed to disperse. About an hour or 2 later, I happened to look at the motion light. The hornets already had about 1/3 of the nest rebuilt! My husband knocked it down again and this time they left and must have found a friendlier neighborhood.

Use hornet spray. And, oh, do this at NIGHT.

Hornets abandon their nests regularly, usually after they get damp. Unfortunately, they may rebuild just a few feet away.

Apparently the OP has been knocking them down and hasn’t been stung, or not enough to have difficulties with it. So saying that they must use poison seems excessive. Not all wasps are equally aggressive; plus which, the circumstances surround the nest matter.

If it’s cold enough, they won’t be able to do anything about it. In temperatures close to freezing, it’s possible to pick up the nest and put it somewhere where it’s not a nuisance to humans; no poisons necessary. If the area’s wide open and the tool used to knock the nest down is long enough, there may be time even in warm weather to get away before the wasps realize where the disaster came from. And I’ve had considerable luck, for nests outside a building, with knocking the nest off with a strong spray from a hose; the wasps don’t seem to connect the deluge with a person ten or twenty feet off holding onto a hose. (I’m not allergic, so if I do get a sting or two it doesn’t matter much; but I’ve never been stung at all using the hose technique.)

They will often try to rebuild in the same spot. Either repeat the removal method until they give up and decide to build elsewhere, or spray the attachment spot with WD40 or something similar; that seems to work. I don’t know whether it smells wrong or whether it makes the area too slippery for them to get the rebuild materials to attach properly.

Or you could just use a bag.

Nuke it from orbit. It’s the only… well, you know.

We knocked 5-6 nests off our house this year. We have a two-story house with several peaks, and boy-oh-boy do the wasps like those peaks. All but one of them were accessible with our wasp-scraper-extand-a-pole thing we have for exactly this purpose; the last one was about 6’ taller than we could get with the pole, but well within range of the wasp-poison-sprayer attachment on the same pole.

A week or so later, we found a couple more small nests, knocked those down. So far, no more. I have no clue where they went, though, so I have the same question as the OP. I assume the one we poisoned killed them all, but the others were just knocked to the ground so I gotta think some of the residents were OK.

Pretty much. My cousin’s metal pole barn kept attracting nests one summer. The only way we could get them to scoot on down the road was with fire. Duct-tape a braising torch to the end of an extension pole. Fire it up and torch the nest from the bottom around midnight. If you do it right you can trap all the wasps in the nest as it burns. Only took a couple of demonstrations before they all decamping to the neighbors down the road.

“I felt a great disturbance in the Force… as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”

From my experience, there seems to be considerable variation. When I lived in New York, the local wasp species would come after you very aggressively, I’d always call a professional if there was a problem. In New Mexico, I routinely knock down small nests from the eaves of my house with a broomstick, and they just act confused.

I’m prejudiced by my experience of having yellowjackets build a nest in my bedroom wall, and start inviting themselves in when it got cold. Nothing like waking up at 2:30 a.m. from the burning sensation of being stung in your side.

I hate those fuckers with a passion.

Because of your actions, in thirty years time, SkyNet will have been activated. The AI will realize that a boy neighbor of yours is leading the resistance. They will send a cyborg back to kill him. Your problems with the wasps will seem trivial at that point.

Seriously. Are they mud daubers (one word?). They’re pretty passive. Just knock down and scrub off the leftovers. Soap or the WD40 might discourage them. Another more aggressive specie, like a really big nest of them; fire or spray from a distance.

Take a look at the life cycle of the wasps that build those large new nests. They are not like the European honeybee that stores up food for the colony to survive for the winter. You mess with their food for winter and the colony can be screwed. For wasps you are mostly just looking at them starting to rebuild.

Wasp queens hide and hibernate over the winter. They start the spring by building the first cells of a nest and gathering food for the first round of offspring. Late summer or early fall they shift to laying queen eggs. Those queens fly off to breed eventually hibernate. The rest of the colony, including the old queen, dies off as winter takes away their food.

So you are not screwing too much with their life cycle outside of the queen production time of year. The queen will still have most of her workers available to rebuild instead of doing it herself this time. It is a setback to having a large population that can support raising a large population of new queens for the next year. It is not a sentence to winter famine like it might be for honeybees.