One of the biggest problems we face every summer is how to get rid of wasps.
The common wasp or Vespula vulgaris can turn relaxing in the garden into a dangerous activity. Stings can cause pain and discomfort or even an allergic reaction but the biggest problem of all is our fear of stings.
Turn to nature to get rid of wasps without a fuss
Wasps do die off over the winter but you may not be able to wait that long. Here are 9 natural ways to deter wasps that won’t harm the environment. Try these now and prepare yourself for next year too.
How to get rid of wasps
- Don’t invite wasps into your home
The best way to invite wasps into your home is to offer them food… so don’t. Wasps are most attracted to meat products and high-sugar foods. So try not to leave these food types lying around and dispose of leftovers in a secure way.
Wasps are attracted to light so delay using your outdoor lamps or candles.
Interestingly wasps are attracted to white or yellow clothing and strong fragrances such as perfume or aftershave. But like most insects, wasps can’t see the colour red. So think about your wardrobe before you relax in the garden.
Possibly the easiest place to start…
- Natural insecticide spray
This may be your easiest place to start if you need to get rid of wasps. Summer Bugs Away is natural and DEET-free. Most importantly it is not toxic for our friends the bees.
- Spray nests with soapy water
Prepare a solution of soap detergent and water then spray the nest using a garden sprayer. Wear protective clothing when you confront wasps and stand well back in case they turn aggressive. Plan your attack at night when it’s cool outside and wasps are less likely to retaliate. The soap attaches to their wings preventing them from flying and causes them to suffocate. Some may survive but they’ll leave to build a new dry nest somewhere more hospitable
- Block-off underground nests
Some wasps build their nest underground which makes them easier to get rid off. Just block off all entrances to the nest by covering them with a large bowl or basin. Do this at night when you can be sure all the wasps are inside. If you leave the basin in place for a few weeks the colony will die off.
For a quicker result first pour soapy water into the nest before covering with the bowl.
Let your garden get rid of wasps for you
- Grow plants that deter wasps
Natural deterrents include plants such as wormwood, eucalyptus, mint and citronella. You can see these ingredients in products designed to deter wasps but there’s a stronger effect if you fill your garden with the plants themselves. So when dining outside place a plant in the middle of your table instead of a vase of flowers.
- Put up a fake nest
Wasps are territorial which means that if they think another colony is living nearby they’ll steer clear of your property. And if they’ve already built a nest they’ll probably leave.
You can make a fake wasp nest by hanging up a paper bag – it doesn’t have to be convincing to humans. This is what I’m trying at the moment, but so far it’s not working.
I have seen a manufactured fake wasp nest working. I’m going to give my paper bag a few more days as the home-made version should work.
Decoy wasp nest available on Etsy
Not all wasp traps are ugly. Some of these come with vintage prices so search deep if you’re looking for a bargain. Take a look at these glass traps that look good hanging up in a porch or garden. You fill the bottom of the trap with their favourite food and it attracts wasps away from your own food. Their favourite food varies at different times of the season. You’ll find that in early summer wasps tend to prefer meat and savoury products but in late summer they seek out sweet things.
Victorian glass wasp trap on Etsy
- Hang up a bag filled with water and a penny
This is an interesting trick. Most flying insects won’t cross your doorway if you hang up a bag filled with water and a penny. It’s not clear why this method works. Some people believe that wasps think the bag looks like a spider web while others maintain that it’s the bright reflection that repels them.
When there’s one annoying wasp…
- Water spritzer and an empty glass
Here’s a last little tip for an annoying individual wasp when you’re trying to eat. If a wasp is circling your plate give it a spritz from a bottle of water. This will make it difficult to fly which gives you the opportunity to trap it under a glass for you to release later. It doesn’t harm the wasp and you can enjoy your meal in peace.
Are you sure you’re dealing with wasps? Here’s a quick video to tell the difference between bees and wasps.
Bees are beneficial to the environment and your garden. In general they won’t nest close to your home and they’re only aggressive if threatened. Take a look at this post to see what you can do to attract more!