Do Bee Smokers Work On Wasps And Hornets?

do bee smokers work on wasps and hornets

Bee smokers are a tool employed by beekeepers when handling bees. Using smoke in a controlled manner makes bees more docile and less aggressive, making them easier to handle. These tools work very well for bees, but what if you have a wasp or hornet problem? Can smoke be used to calm these insects for removal or relocation with minimal danger?

Bee smokers do work on hornets and wasps. Smoke is a good way to make wasps or hornets docile and calm if done correctly, and smoke can be used to exterminate these insects as well. Smoking these insects is dangerous, as they are aggressive. Always be very careful when smoking wasps and hornets. 

Smoke is an effective tool in the hands of an experienced beekeeper but using smoke on hornets and wasps is very different to bees, as these insects are generally more excitable and aggressive than bees.

Nevertheless, learning to use smokers to handle or remove these stinging critters is the best way to solve your insect problem without causing harm to yourself or the insects.

Smokers are fantastic tools for beekeeping. When a beekeeper employs the use of smoke on a colony of bees, the insects become very docile and calm, making them safer to move, handle, or transport. Does this method work on other stinging, problematic insects such as wasps and hornets? Well, yes, but the process is more challenging. 

Bee smokers, or the use of smoke in general, do work to make certain types of hornets and wasps more docile, making it easier to remove them from an area or even permanently to remove them altogether. 

Smoking only works on social wasps and hornets who build nests housing multiple individuals. These insects are likely to be affected by the smoke, as when they sense the presence of smoke, they retreat within their nest to try and protect it, gather food for relocation, or remove larvae to move them away from the smoke. 

Solitary wasps and hornets will generally just move away from smoke, and it will have little effect on them, so it is advised to use another method of relocation with these types of wasps and hornets. 

However, social wasps and hornets are significantly more aggressive than bees and most other stinging insects, and therefore they must be handled with much more caution, even when smoking them. 

The bee smoker as a device is excellent for generating a lot of smoke very quickly and directing that smoke exactly where you need it to be. For these reasons, using a bee smoker like this is the best way to smoke wasps and hornets safely, rather than using other insect smoking methods. (Amazon link)

the parts of a bee smoker

If you have a serious problem with wasps or hornets, using a bee smoker is the best way to smoke them, rather than building a fire or using another means for attempting to smoke the insects. 

Using a bee smoker for these insects is challenging, and there are certain methods that work better than others. Let’s learn some of the basic methods for smoking wasps and hornets using a bee smoker. 

How To Smoke Wasps And Hornets

Bee smokers are effective tools, but they must be used in certain ways to have the best results when smoking wasps and hornets. These insects are much more aggressive and far more dangerous than bees, so smoking them must be done carefully and with wood methods. 

Any form of smoking fuel can be used for smoking wasps and hornets, but the fuel must smolder well and produce a lot of smoke. Something like horse manure, cow dung, or compacted grass with some dry leaves thrown in will work very well. 

Fill the smoker, light it, and wait for the fuel to catch before closing it. Once the smoker is closed, wait for it to fill with smoke before proceeding, indicated by a small stream of smoke flowing from the nozzle.

Always smoke hornets and wasps at night. The insects will return to the nest at night, and they will most likely all be within the nest rather than flying around. This is important because the nest is active; the wasps or hornets are likely to just be irritated by the smoke and attack anything in the near vicinity. 

Smoking an active next is never a good idea, especially if the nest has already been disturbed in some way. 

Another thing to be careful of is knowing where all the insects are. Hornets and wasps may have multiple nests in one area, or there may be multiple nodes or levels to the nests, making it impossible to know where all the insects are. 

If you do not smoke all of the insects all at once, any insects that do not receive smoke are likely to become very aggressive and attack fervently. Take your time and be sure that you know where all the wasps or hornets are before smoking. 

When you are ready to begin the insect smoking process, pump the smoker directly below the nest. This will fill the nest with smoke and, depending on how much smoke you use, will either kill the insects or cause them to become docile enough for the nest to be relocated. 

If you aim to kill the wasps or hornets, use as much smoke as possible as quickly as possible. If you plan on relocating the nest, only use enough smoke to keep the insects calm and docile while you move the nest. 

Be sure to wear protective clothing as much as possible and cover all exposed skin to avoid stings. Even when the wasps or hornets are docile, they are still likely to sting you if they get the chance.

Will Smoke Remove Wasps And Hornets Permanently?

As we have learned already, enough smoke will kill wasps and hornets. If you smoke these insects vigorously ins a short period of time, they will suffocate and die, permanently removing them. 

However, if you smoke the hornets or wasps sufficiently for them to survive, they are likely to move out of the area, taking their larvae with them. Keeping the insects alive while smoking them can be a challenge, but it is a good way to cause these stinging critters to move out permanently if you are patient enough to smoke them slowly.  


Bee smokers do work very well for wasps and hornets. These devices are the best way to effectively deliver smoke to a nest of wasps or hornets to exterminate them or make them docile enough to move or relocate. 

Always wear protective clothing, make sure your smoker is functioning well, only perform these operations at night, and take great care to not disturb the insects too much or they will sting you. Always remember that hornets and wasps are particularly feisty bugs!

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