Your home garden can be your perfect little paradise! But every garden has its troubles! Pests and insects! Do you like BBQ parties, but wasps fly around, bothering you and keeping you from enjoying it? You’re not alone on that. All homeowners with gardens face the same problem once temperatures start rising, and they’re looking for ways to get rid of them.
Generally, early spring is the ideal time to take care of wasps before the wasp queen has developed her colony. By late summer and fall, things will be rather difficult. But there are things you can do to get rid of these frustrating insects and keep them out of your garden.
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How to identify wasps
Many people confuse wasps with bees, and not everyone wants to get rid of bees. There’s, though, a difference in their body structure. Wasps have a thin waist compared to the rest of their bodies, in contrast to bees whose bodies have the same thickness throughout. Honey Bees are hairier, while wasps have smoother bodies. And finally, bees are mainly pollinators and feed on flowers larvae pollen. Wasps, on the other hand, feed on insects (like caterpillars and aphids).
And the other thing! When a wasp stings you, it flies away minding its own business, unlike a bee that will die immediately after the sting. At least it’s sorry about it, right?
But are all wasps the same? There are 4 main wasps types:
- Yellow Jackets: They have yellow and black stripes along their body. They live in colonies, and they build nests hanging on structures and the ground. They fertilise the queen’s eggs.
- Paper wasps: They’re brown-black with yellow to red marks along their bodies. You can find their papered (or similar kind of materials) nests near buildings, under eaves and closer to the ground on sturdy plants. If they feel their colony is being threatened, they swarm to attack.
- Hornets: Hornets look like yellow jacket wasps. They’re black with yellow or white stripes. These wasps nests are made from paper materials, and you can find them on sturdy plants and high trees and more rarely near buildings. They’ll sting you if they feel threatened, like the previously mentioned types.
- Mud daubers: It isn’t much of a social wasp type. It doesn’t live in colonies but it builds small nests for itself and its offspring. This wasp nest is made from mud and can be found near buildings. It’s got the thinnest body of all the types and has black and yellow marks on its legs and thorax.
Smart ideas to get rid of wasps
Since wasps are fed on other insects, they’re probably the best natural insecticide. But what if you are allergic to wasps? Risking going through an allergic reaction in case of a sting can be nerve-racking. Or what if there’s such a huge wasp problem that you can’t enjoy your garden? Swatting wasps won’t solve the problem.
Worry no more! Before calling a professional exterminator and a pest management company or using chemical wasp control methods, you can try some DIY home remedies and pesticides to help you eliminate wasp colonies. We’ve found the best ways to get rid of them! Your garden will be safe once again. Here are some easy-to-follow steps:
1. Peppermint oil
It is a great wasp repellent. Pour some into a spray bottle and spray the wasp nest. Be careful not to get too close if you feel there’s danger.
2. Soap and water
Dish soap and some water can help you to eliminate wasps and nests. Fill a spray bottle with water and add two tablespoons of dish soap. Shake the bottle to dissolve the soap and spray the nests with it. The soap makes it hard for them to breathe and can help you get rid of them fast.
3. Wasp Traps
Make your own wasp traps to kill wasps using a small container, like a bottle. You just need to cut the top or make a small hole on the lid. Place inside the container some sugar and water or pet food. Wasps will get into the trap to eat it, but they won’t get out.
However, using wasp traps will only help you catch them. It won’t prevent them from building new nests.
Important: When dealing with wasps and their nests, you should always protect yourself. Thus, put on protective clothing, goggles, gloves, and a dust mask no matter how small a nest is.
How to prevent them from coming back
All insects and bugs like ants and midges, or small animals like rats, cats, hedgehogs, moles, and foxes, can probably be found in your garden. It’s only logical if you want to prevent them from coming back. There are similar ways to stop wasps from returning to your garden.
1. Repair any cracks
Due to weather changes, windows, doors, roofs can have cracks and holes. Wasps like to create nests inside holes. Hence, if you notice wasps inside your house, check your window frames for any cracks and holes. If you see any, repair them. But, you should wait until wasps workers die in late fall or before they start building new nests in early spring. Don’t forget that wasps in your home probably mean wasps in your garden as well.
2. Put up fake nests
Wasps don’t create nests in the same place where’s another nest. Keeping that in mind, place fake nests in different spots around your garden to prevent them from making a new one. Wasps will confuse fake nests with real ones, and they’ll look for another place to build theirs, probably away from your garden.
3. Cover your overhangs
If you have birdhouses in your yard or overhangs, you should take preventive measures to keep wasps out of your garden. Prevent wasps from nesting under your roof, lining the area underneath with aluminium foil or rub it with bar soap. This will keep them away from your garden the whole nesting season.
4. Grow some wasp deterrent houseplants
You might have already heard that there are some smelling houseplants that can prevent insects and bugs from coming into your property. The same applies to wasps as well. Fresh mint, eucalyptus, citronella, and wormwood can repel wasps.
5. Seal trash bins
If you want to get rid of wasps in gardens, then disappear any food sources that they can found in trash and recycling bins. Seal the lids to the bins.
6. Stay away from bright flowers
Many homeowners tend to plant bright, colourful flowers in their garden. They do make your garden look like a painting, but that can be a reason why your garden is an attraction for wasps. Clear your garden of all colourful flowers if you want to keep wasps away from your it.
7. Spread some peppermint oil
Peppermint oil is a wasp pest control, but it can also work as a prevention measure. Add a few drops of oil to cotton wool balls and place them around the garden between the decking, porch roofs, sheds and any other gaps where wasps can crowd.
8. Burn citronella candles
Citronella is a well-known method to keep insects and especially mosquitoes, away. It can work well with wasps as well. Burn some citronella candles or buy tea lights for your candle holders. You can also add some tea lights to your terracotta pots and keep them close to your sitting area.
9. Turn off the outside lights off
Lights attract insects and bugs. Whilst wasps feed on insects, they’ll be attracted as well. Thus, turn the outside lights off.
10. Feed them with something sweet
As we’ve already said above, wasps love sugary food. So, why don’t you get the advantage of their preference and draw their attention? Choose a corner away from your sitting area and place a small container of something sweet, like orange juice, sugar water, banana skin or overripe fruit. We promise wasps will let you enjoy your meal!
Things you need to keep in mind
Beyond knowing how to get rid of wasps and how to prevent them from coming back into your property, there are certain things you have to keep in mind to make sure that you don’t attract them in your yard:
- If you deal with yellow jackets, using just an insect repellent won’t work. Mosquitoes and flies will run away. However, wasps won’t do the same. You’ll probably manage to attract more.
- If you love dining in your garden, you should be rather careful unless you want to have unwanted visitors. Cover your food and clean away dirty plates ASAP. As for your drinks, you better serve them in wide-mouth cups to be able to see any wasps that might want to cool off in your drink.
- Don’t leave dropped and overripe fruit lying in your garden. Clean them up as soon as possible. Adult wasps feed on nectar and love ripe fruit. So, cover your garbage cans, and if you have a compost pile bury fruit leftovers a few cm deep unless you want the wasps to kick you out of your garden.
Things you should NEVER do
When it comes to wasp control, there are some things you mustn’t do:
- Don’t knock down a large nest. You’re more likely to be attacked by its inhabitants and receive their nasty stings.
- Don’t use your vacuum cleaner to remove wasps.
- Don’t use flammable liquids to destroy ground nests. The only thing you’re going to do is contaminate the groundwater.
- Don’t pour boiling or cold water to destroy a ground nest. It won’t work.
You better try to kill wasps at night or early in the morning. Most wasps are inactive and inside their nests during those times. Always stay safe by wearing protective clothing, goggles, gloves and a mask. If you try the above easy-to-follow steps and protective measures and you still see no results, it’s time to let professionals deal with your irritating garden inhabitants.