How Can I Save a Wasp Nest From a Tree?

Save a wasp or hornet nest at the end of the season, after its residents have abandoned it, for a unique piece of natural decor.

A hornet's nest can make an ideal accent for your home.A hornet's nest can make an ideal accent for your home.
One of these intricate paper constructions can make the ideal conversation starter when placed in a conspicuous location inside your home. Wasp nests can become large over the course of a season, with the queen and workers reaching a population into the thousands. They are relatively maintenance free; no varnish or other materials are needed to preserve them. Collecting the nest may be the most dangerous task of all; wasps and hornets will sting to protect their nests. Wait until after your first hard freeze -- typically the end of October, depending on where you live -- before collecting your nest.

Put on clothing with long sleeves and long pants legs for protection against the stings of any wasps that might still be in the nest.

Place the ladder sturdily against the tree. Make sure the ladder is close enough to the nest that you don't have to reach too far.

Place the plastic bag over the nest and tie it shut over the branch or the stem of the nest.

Cut the stem of the nest with scissors; use a pruning saw to cut through the branch if it is small enough to carry inside. Sometimes people enjoy leaving a bit of the branch connected to the nest; it adds to the decor value of a preserved nest.

Cut the branch down with a pole saw if you don't have a ladder. Take care that the branch will not damage you or any property when it falls.

Place the plastic bag with the nest inside the freezer for a few days or simply leave in the garage for a few cold days. Wherever you lay it down, be sure it is protected from the weather. The thin paper that makes up the nest is destroyed by winds and ice. While wasps and hornets abandon their nest in late fall to die, there may be a few stragglers left behind.

Display your nest in your desired location.

Things You Will Need

  • Protective clothing
  • Ladder
  • Plastic bag large enough to fit the nest
  • Scissors, pruning saw or pole saw


  • Do not attempt to collect the nest in the summer. The hornets or wasps are very active during the hottest times of the year. Unlike bees, hornets and wasps can and will sting repeatedly.