Have you ever set up your backyard patio for a nice meal outside, only for it to be interrupted by wasps? I grew up in the country, so bees and wasps were a given being that we lived on a farm. When I was about 10, my brother and I discovered a wasp nest in the old weeping willow tree on my grandparent’s farm. We only saw a few wasps floating around, so my brother got the wild idea to knock it down and break it open. We didn’t know better – but we learned – and quick!
My brother took a long stick and hit that nest about three times before it came down. When it landed on the blacktop driveway it broke into three pieces and wasps were all over us like white on rice. The moral of this extremely painful story? Leave the damn wasp nests alone and don’t mess with them!
I have seen a few of them now and again over the years since we moved into our home, but this year there seems to be an abundance of wasps and other wasp-like bugs flying around our sliding door and the eaves of the house. Rest assured, they are annoying and irritating and will come eat off your plate and sting you if it feels threatened. They can smell your food from far away and will make your property a part of their regular route if you are not careful. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to keep wasps from bothering you this summer. The following lists some easy methods to keep them away.
Remove Sources of Food
Wasps are attracted to yards where they can find food. While it depends on the species, most wasps are omnivores that feed on all kinds of things including fruit, nectar, and other insects. They have an excellent sense of smell and will fly up to 1000 yards away from their nests to find food. Limiting the amount of food available is, therefore, an effective strategy against wasps. Well, there goes our fruit trees.
Be sure to pick up after a meal outside and clean your barbecue after each use. Bring your dirty dishes indoors as soon as you are done eating. You should also store recycling bins and garbage cans in a shed or garage until collection day. Use lidded bins and wash them with a hose every now and then to remove the smell of rotting food. If you have hummingbird feeders, hang them away from your deck. Done and done!
Call an Exterminator
Exterminators can not only provide wasp nest removal services but can also prevent nests from reoccurring. They can locate nests, identify the species, and apply a preventative treatment to keep wasps away all summer long. The products that professionals use are extremely effective and safe for both indoor and outdoor use. They will also ensure that no honeybees are hurt in the process.
This has been a hot topic of discussion on Nextdoor.com in our community. Unfortunately, some mosquito extermination services have been spraying pesticides to get rid of the mosquitos around neighborhood yards, and several neighbors who had bee colonies in their yards have found their hives completely killed off. So before you call an exterminator, make sure that they are using pesticides that will not harm honey bees!
Seal Cracks and Crevices
Wasps start to build their nests in the spring when their queens emerge from hibernation. They start small but grow rapidly over the course of the summer. Nests are commonly found hanging from tree branches or the eaves of the roof. Anywhere they can find a gap in the roof or wall of the home, they may secure a nest. Some species even build their nests in the ground.
Using silicone caulking or expanding foam, seal any cracks you find around the windows and doors of your home. Check your soffits and gutters for gaps and fix them accordingly. You can also keep wasps out of your walls with weep vent covers which can be found online or in hardware stores. Keep wasps from nesting in the ground by filling any holes you find and keeping the soil wet.
Use Wasp Traps and Decoys
Traps help prevent wasps from building nests. They contain an alluring bait that draws the insects inside. Once inside, however, they cannot get out. Place one or two of these near your deck or porch. You can get professional-grade wasp traps from your local exterminator or hardware store. Wasp traps are also totally safe for honeybees thanks to their special design.
Decoys work in a similar fashion by deterring wasps from building any more nests nearby. These look like wasp nests and can be hung anywhere you would find a real one, such as a tree branch or soffit. Decoys are not as effective as traps but can be helpful when used in combination with other deterrents.
Plant Wasp-Repelling Flowers and Herbs
Some evidence suggests that wasps dislike the smell of geraniums, marigolds, and pennyroyals. They also tend to avoid mint, basil, thyme, wormwood, and citronella. Try planting these around the yard to keep wasps away.
You can also spray areas of wasp activity with a mixture of essential oils. In a spray bottle, mix a few drops of clove or lemongrass oil with a few cups of water and a drop of dish soap. Spray the edges of the roof and deck with the solution.
Do you have any other tips for keeping wasps out of your yard and home? Be sure to leave us a comment below!