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How to Get Rid of Wasps in a Dryer Vent

February 14, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Wasps become a serious threat to homeowners when they build nests inside dryer vents. Wasps are not only capable of stinging humans, they can also spread diseases and clog up your dryer vent. Wasps in your dryer vent could lead to painful stings, a broken dryer, or an infestation that finds its way to other parts of your home.

What attracts wasps? 

For food and survival, wasps are mainly attracted to the sweet nectar of flowering plants, but these pests are also drawn to bright designs on clothing, sweet food and drinks, meat, and perfumes.

When wasps look for a place to construct nests and build a colony, they tend to favor areas of your home that provide a horizontal space to hang from, like eaves, corners of porch ceilings, and other overhangs. 

A dryer vent’s warmth and fluffy lint are also attractive to wasps looking for a safe place for the queen to stay over the winter after the colony dies off. The vent provides a protected environment that’s damp, warm, and dark—the type of home environment that wasps thrive in.

Wasps’ nests are made from wood and mud particles, and they construct these homes in places they feel protected, such as in dryer vents and beneath eaves.
European wasp (Vespula germanica) building a nest to start a new colony.

Why do wasps sting? 

A sting from a wasp is quite painful and anxiety-provoking. It can also be very dangerous if you’re allergic to a wasp’s venom, which is injected into your system when you’re stung.

Wasps sting humans for a couple of reasons:

  • If they feel their nest is being threatened or attacked
  • To defend themselves against a perceived threat, such as a person waving their arms to try and shoo away the insect

Wasps vs. hornets — what’s the difference?

Hornets are a type of wasp, but the two insects differ in size and color. 

  • Wasps have black and yellow rings on their body that grow to ¼ to 1 inch in length, while hornets are as big as 2 inches long, with black and white rings.
  • Wasps have more slender bodies than hornets, which are more round and thick.
  • Both wasps and hornets build paper nests made of saliva and chewed up wood fibers. 
  • A hornet’s nest can be as large as or larger than a basketball. They usually build their nests on tree branches, beneath eaves, or in shrubbery, with as many as 700 workers and a queen living inside. Wasps’ nests are hexagonally shaped, about 8 inches wide, and house only up to about 20 insects. 
  • Hornets are much more aggressive than wasps, but both insects are predators that can sting you multiple times. While stings from both wasps and hornets hurt, the neurotoxins from a hornet bite are more painful.

Can there be a yellow jacket nest in a dryer vent?

Similar to wasps, yellow jackets are attracted to sweet foods and smells and deliver a painful sting more than once. These aggressive pests can decide to make their nests in dryer vents, too, as they’re attracted to the warmth dryer vents provide. Like wasps, the yellow jacket colony dies off when winter weather arrives.

Signs of a wasp infestation

To know if you have a wasp nest in the dryer vent or elsewhere on your property, look for the following signs of an infestation:

  • Buzzing sounds in your walls, especially close to the laundry area
  • Wasps flying outside, around the entrance to your dryer vent
  • Chewed wood, holes, or tunnels on your home’s exterior. The insects use wood and bits of mud to build their nests
  • Your clothes are taking much too long to dry in the dryer

Can I prevent wasps from getting in my dryer vent?

The outdoor flap of a dryer vent has to be able to open and close when the dryer is working so hot air from the appliance can escape to the outdoors. This presents an opportunity for wasps to get into your dryer vent and construct a nest there. 

To prevent wasps from entering, have your dryer vent cleaned regularly to keep lint build-up to a minimum. It’s also a good idea to inspect the outdoor flap on your dryer vent to see if it’s damaged or missing. 

Inspect your home for wasp nests under eaves and other areas attractive to these pests, and look for holes, cracks, and crevices around the dryer vent that could let wasps gain entry. Seal up any gaps you find. 

A large wasp hornet nest is affixed to an exterior dryer vent cover on the eave of a wooden building

How to get rid of wasps in a dryer vent 

You can attempt to remove the wasp nest on your own during the day if the insects are away foraging for food, but this is a risky task that could cause multiple stings. 

Spraying inside your dryer vent with an insecticide is dangerous, as the poisons can easily enter your home, putting you and your family’s health at risk.

It’s best to contact a professional pest control company when you suspect you’re dealing with a wasp infestation in your dryer vent.

Premium pest control services  

If you want to know how to get rid of wasps in a dryer vent, it’s best to begin with an inspection by our pest control experts. At Hawx Pest Control, our highly trained technicians are experienced in dealing with wasps, hornets, and other stinging insects that can live near your property. We’ll provide you with a detailed plan to treat wasps using the most up-to-date tools and technologies on today’s market to get the job done.

With Hawx services, our professionals will help prevent wasps, hornets, and other insects from invading your property by using techniques that protect your home.

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