There is always a wasp buzzing around in summer. It’s the season for BBQ’s, picnics and drinks in the sun. It’s a time to spend outdoors having fun. But frantically buzzing through beer gardens, dive bombing innocent bystanders and sending small kids into a tizz, wasps wreak havoc wherever they go. Below we will share with you our best tips on how to get rid of wasps.
What’s the point of a wasp?
Wasps are universally disliked and come with no redeeming features (apart from the fact that they help pollinate flowers and prey on other insect pests). They aren’t cute or cuddly, fluffy or friendly, instead they buzz around menacingly with a sting in their tail. There are some (not many) who would claim that a world without wasps would be an ecological disaster. I, on the other hand, having endured many a wasp sting believe that they are nothing more than a pest set out to ruin a lovely summer’s day.
But how can we prevent wasps from entering our backyards and attacking our picnics? To know what to do to repel wasps, we first need to understand what attracts them in the first place.
What are wasps attracted too?
In the early summer months wasps tend to linger around our BBQ’s attracted to the smell of meat, as they seek protein sources to bulk up their muscles after a winter of hibernation. As the temperature rises, the wasp is ready for desert and goes out in search of a sugar fix. Foods such as fruit, ice creams, sticky sauces and chocolate tempt the wasp over and for something more refreshing they will seek out a sneaky sip of fizzy drink or a mouthful of wine as the perfect accompaniment.
Beware when wearing sweet aromas such as perfumes, aftershaves and even fragranced sun cream, as these will also attract the attention of wasps. What we wear can also appeal to them. They love light colours such as yellow and white but like most other insects, they are unable to detect the colour red.
What repels wasps?
Unlike bees, wasps can sting multiple times, especially if you start moving erratically when in their presence. So, the number one thing to remember is to remain calm. Flapping and flailing around will only excite and enrage a wasp making you more of a target. Another thing to try and remain is au naturelle, and this includes the use of scented deodorants.
If you are dining alfresco, then make sure that you keep soda cans, fruit and sweet treats covered. Keep your BBQ clean and your garbage bins shut and ensure that they located well away from where people are eating. If you have fruit trees growing always make sure that the fruit is picked when ripe and that nothing is left to rot.
Finally, if you own a red t-shirt or shorts, summer is the time to wear them with pride in order to keep wasps away – after all they have to find you first!
How to get rid of wasps for good
Just like us humans, there are certain smells that get right up their nose. For example, eucalyptus, lemongrass and strong scented herbs such as mint are good repellents, so it is definitely worth potting a few of these plants around the garden.
One of the most effective ways to deter wasps is to make them believe that another colony of wasps already resides in your garden. Wasps are fiercely territorial and will often attack other wasps who venture into their space. Therefore, by either purchasing an imitation wasp nest or by making your own from a simple paper bag, will work like a scarecrow, frightening off wasps to wallow elsewhere.
Recommended reading: Best wasp sprays reviews
If the more natural wasp control methods prove ineffective for you, then you may have to seek a more permanent solution. Insect sprays work by ejecting chemicals into the air causing the wasp’s muscles to seize up and prevent it from flying. As with any pesticides, I would strongly advise against using these around pets or children.
If you want to steer away from toxic substances but are looking to get rid of wasps for good, then an electric wasp swatter may be the answer. Just ensure you make a direct hit, and don’t jump around over-enthusiastically as this tends to have the opposite effect, encouraging the wasp to fight back.
Finally, and perhaps one of the easiest ways to get rid of wasps is to make a trap in which to drown them. There are many ways to do this, but I tend to make them out of old jam jars. Simply fill the jar with water (or flat beer), and then pierce a hole – just small enough for a wasp to fit through. Under the rim of the lid, smear something sweet such as syrup to attract the wasps over, then kick back and watch them fly in.
What to do if you have a wasp’s nest
If you are experiencing large numbers of wasps entering your property, it is likely that you are in close proximity to a nest. In a single wasp nest, up to 1500 wasps can reside – and trust me it won’t matter how many homemade traps or electric swatters you have, it will never be a match for an angry swarm.
Firstly, but without getting too close, you need to identify whether the nest you have houses bees or wasps. As some bees are protected, it is always preferable to try and relocate a bee’s nest over extermination wherever viable. However, when dealing with wasps, these insects tend to be more aggressive and will not wait to be provoked before launching an attack.
A wasp nest looks papery as it is made from chewed up wood pulp. They are generally built in secluded spots with access to the open air. Roof spaces, cavity walls, bird boxes and basements are often preferred locations.
Don’t, whatever you do, try to disturb their nests. A wasp’s home is its castle and it will defend it valiantly. If the nest is small enough you can try do-it-yourself methods and treat the infestation with insecticides, but having dealt with a number of nests myself, I would strongly advise you seek professional help. Using protective clothing, pest control experts have the knowledge and know how to treat and discard the nest on your behalf, ensuring that a re-infestation does not occur. But please note, that in some circumstances complete removal of the nest may not always be possible.
How to get rid of wasps summary
Wasps are my least favourite pest to get rid of. They are indiscriminate in who they target and are renowned for fighting back. Therefore, it is much easier to prevent a wasp from invading our space than eradicating it, by following my top tips above.
If you can tolerate a wasp whizzing around then I would strongly advise that you do so, as by whipping it into a frenzy with sprays and swatters is likely to end in disaster – and by this I mean for you!
That said, if you are plagued by these buzzy foes, then insecticides and traps can be incredibly effective but if you suspect you have a wasp nest, please seek professional help.