Wasp Nest in Bird Feeder: How to Safely Remove and Prevent These Unwanted Guests

As a bird enthusiast, you know that bird feeders are an excellent way to support local bird populations by providing them with a reliable food source. But what happens when your bird feeder turns into a home for unwanted guests, like wasps?

These stinging insects can pose challenges not only for you but also for the birds visiting your feeder. In this post, we’ll walk you through how to safely remove a wasp nest from your bird feeder and prevent wasps from nesting in the future.


In this post, we discuss the challenges posed by a wasp nest in bird feeders and provide practical solutions for safely removing and preventing these unwanted guests. We delve into the common types of wasps found in bird feeders, signs of a wasp nest, and potential risks associated with wasp infestations.

Also, we offer a step-by-step guide to safely removing wasp nests and share preventive measures to create a welcoming environment for birds while minimizing the impact of wasps on bird visits and feeder structures.

Bird and Wasp - Wasp Nest in Bird Feeder

Identifying a Wasp Nest in Your Bird Feeder

There are several types of wasps that might build nests in bird feeders, including paper wasps and yellow jackets. Signs of a wasp nest include increased wasp activity around your feeder, visible nest structures, or even wasps flying in and out of the feeder.

Having a wasp nest in your bird feeder can be problematic as it can deter birds from visiting and potentially lead to painful stings for you or your family members.

Types of Wasps Commonly Found in Bird Feeders

Several species of wasps might choose to build their nests in or around bird feeders. The most common types include:

Paper Wasps (Polistes spp.): Paper wasps are usually slender, measuring about 0.5 to 1.5 inches in length, with brownish or reddish bodies and yellow markings. They build nests made of a papery material, which they create by chewing wood fibres and mixing them with their saliva. These nests are typically umbrella-shaped with exposed hexagonal cells.

Yellow Jackets (Vespula spp.): Yellow jackets are smaller, with a length of about 0.5 to 0.7 inches. They have a distinctive yellow and black pattern on their bodies. Yellow jackets build their nests using a similar papery material to paper wasps, but their nests are enclosed, with a single entrance hole. They usually build their nests in the ground or in hollow cavities, but they may also choose bird feeders or other structures in your garden.

Signs of a Wasp Nest

When trying to identify a wasp nest in your bird feeder, look for the following signs:

  • Increased wasp activity: A higher number of wasps flying around your bird feeder can be an indication that a nest is nearby.
  • Visible nest structures: Look for papery or enclosed nests attached to or inside your bird feeder. Paper wasp nests are typically umbrella-shaped, while yellow jacket nests are enclosed with a single entrance hole.
  • Defensive behaviour: If you notice wasps acting aggressively when you or birds approach the feeder, this can be a sign that they are protecting a nest.
Wasp next to Bird Feeder

Potential Risks Associated with Wasp Nests in Bird Feeders

Wasp nests in bird feeders can present several risks, including:

  1. Reduced bird visits: Birds may become reluctant to visit a bird feeder that has a wasp nest, as the presence of wasps can make them feel threatened or uncomfortable.
  2. Stinging incidents: Wasps can become defensive when their nests are disturbed, increasing the risk of painful stings for you, your family members, or pets.
  3. Allergic reactions: Some individuals may be allergic to wasp venom, which can cause severe reactions or even anaphylaxis in extreme cases. Having a wasp nest in a frequently used area like a bird feeder increases the risk of stings and potential allergic reactions.
  4. Damage to bird feeder: Wasps may cause damage to the bird feeder structure, especially if they burrow into it or chew through parts to create nesting materials.

By identifying and addressing a wasp nest in your bird feeder as soon as possible, you can minimize these risks and ensure a safe, welcoming environment for both birds and humans.

Safely Removing a Wasp Nest from Your Bird Feeder

Before attempting to remove a wasp nest from your bird feeder, taking proper safety precautions is crucial to minimize the risk of stings.

Safety Precautions

  • Wear protective gear, including long sleeves, gloves, and goggles.
  • Ensure that children and pets are kept at a safe distance during the removal process.
  • Have an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen) nearby if you or someone in your household is allergic to wasp stings.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing a Wasp Nest

  1. Choose the right time for removal: Wasps are less active during the early morning or late evening, making these the best times to attempt removal.
  2. Don protective gear and equipment: Put on your long sleeves, gloves, and goggles to minimize the risk of stings.
  3. Remove the nest without harming wasps: Use a long object like a broom or a specialized wasp nest removal tool to gently dislodge the nest from the bird feeder.
  4. Dispose of the nest: Place the nest in a sealed plastic bag and dispose of it in an outdoor trash can.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you’re unsure about how to remove the nest safely or if the wasp nest is large or in a hard-to-reach location, it’s best to call a professional pest control service to handle the removal.

Bird Feeder and Wasp Nest

Preventing Wasps from Nesting in Your Bird Feeder

In order to prevent wasps from nesting in your bird feeder, it is crucial to take a multifaceted approach that includes thoughtful design choices, regular maintenance, and the use of natural deterrents and repellents.

Design Considerations for Bird Feeders

Design considerations for bird feeders play a significant role in deterring wasps. Opting for bird feeders with small feeding ports or mesh screens can make it difficult for wasps to access the food while still allowing birds to feed comfortably. Additionally, positioning your bird feeder away from structures such as trees or the eaves of your house can discourage wasps from nesting nearby.

Regular Maintenance and Inspection

Regular maintenance and inspection of your bird feeder are essential in preventing wasp infestations. By frequently examining your bird feeder for signs of wasp activity and cleaning it regularly, you can prevent the build-up of food that might attract these unwanted visitors. This proactive approach helps ensure a welcoming environment for birds while keeping wasps at bay.

Natural Deterrents and Repellents

Utilizing natural deterrents and repellents can further discourage wasps from nesting in your bird feeder. Planting wasp-repelling plants like lemongrass, mint, or wormwood in your garden can create an unwelcoming environment for wasps. Alternatively, applying a mixture of peppermint oil and water to the bird feeder or hanging a small cloth soaked in the mixture nearby can help repel wasps without causing harm to birds.

Encouraging Wasp Predators in Your Garden

Encouraging wasp predators in your garden is another effective strategy in managing wasp populations. Birds and bats are natural predators of wasps and can help maintain a balanced ecosystem. By providing nesting boxes or birdhouses, you can attract these predators and create a more harmonious environment for all inhabitants of your garden.

Birds by Feeder and Wasp


Dealing with a wasp nest in your bird feeder can be a challenging experience, but with the right approach, you can safely remove and prevent these unwanted guests from taking over your bird sanctuary.

By following the steps outlined in this post, you can create a safe and welcoming environment for your feathered friends while keeping wasps at bay.

Remember, regular maintenance and inspection of your bird feeder, using natural deterrents, and encouraging wasp predators in your garden are all effective ways to prevent wasps from nesting in your bird feeder.

We hope that you found this guide helpful in dealing with wasp nests in your bird feeder. Don’t forget to share your experiences and tips in the comments section below, as we’d love to hear from fellow bird enthusiasts on how they manage this common challenge. Together, we can create a thriving environment for our beloved birds while keeping unwanted guests in check. Happy birdwatching!

FAQs – Wasp Nest in Bird Feeder

Q: How can wasp nests in bird feeders affect bird visits?

A: Wasp nests in bird feeders can make birds feel threatened or uncomfortable, leading to reduced bird visits and a less thriving bird sanctuary.

Q: What are some common signs of a wasp nest in a bird feeder?

A: Increased wasp activity, visible nest structures, and defensive behaviour by wasps when you or birds approach the feeder are common signs of a wasp nest in a bird feeder.

Q: How can I protect bird seeds from wasps and other common pests?

A: Choose proprietary bird feeders with small feeding ports or mesh screens that make bird feed accessible only to birds, and regularly clean the feeder to prevent food buildup that might attract pests.

Q: What are the potential risks associated with wasp nests in bird feeders?

A: Wasp nests in bird feeders can lead to reduced bird visits, stinging incidents, allergic reactions, and damage to bird feeder structures.

Q: How can I prevent wasps from nesting in my bird table or bird feeder pole?

A: Regularly inspect and clean your bird table or bird feeder pole, use natural deterrents like wasp-repelling plants and essential oils, and encourage wasp predators such as birds and bats by providing bird boxes or birdhouses.

Q: What should I do if I notice a wasp nest in my bird feeder?

A: Safely remove the nest using protective gear and equipment, or contact a professional Pest Control Team if you’re unsure about how to remove it without causing harm to yourself or the wasps.

Q: Can wasp nests in bird feeders cause damage to bird feeder structures?

A: Yes, wasps may cause damage to bird feeder structures by burrowing into them or chewing through parts to create nesting materials.

Q: How can I make bird feeding safer for garden birds with wasp nests around?

A: Safely remove and prevent wasp nests in bird feeders by using wasp-resistant feeder designs, maintaining regular cleaning, and employing natural deterrents to create a safer environment for garden birds.

Q: What types of bird foods are less likely to attract wasps and other common garden pests?

A: Select bird foods that are specifically formulated for birds, and avoid those containing excessive sugar or sweeteners, as these can attract wasps and other common garden pests.


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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at HomeBirdFeeder.com is a team of bird lovers dedicated to providing high-quality information and resources about all things bird feeders. Our team of writers are passionate about helping people find the perfect bird feeder for their home and providing tips and advice on how to get the most out of their bird feeding experience. Our Lead Editor is Sam Olusanya.

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