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How To Repel And Get Rid Of Wasps

By Edited Jul 15, 2016 1 2

No doubt if you've dealt with wasps, you want to know how to get rid of them and keep them away. You probably want to get rid of any wasp nest near your home and want to find the best wasp repellant available. Depending on the level of severity of a wasp invasion, the task of getting rid of them and keeping them away can be difficult or simple.

Here we explore the various situations you can encounter with wasps and what you can do about it.

The Yellow Jacket Wasp

Yellow Jacket Wasp
Credit: By Bombman356 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The infamous Yellow Jacket, a social wasp that is aggressive and attacks in swarms.

When The Nest Is Small

Several years ago, I discovered a wasp nest in a corner of the eave on my patio. It was about the size of a golf ball. I'd see the queen coming around periodically to check up on it. Well, I was concerned to say the least. So, I Googled it. Turns out, when the nest is still that small you can safely knock it down when the queen is not around. So, when I didn't see her around, I knocked it down with the broom handle end of a broom, put it in a plastic bag and threw it away in the dumpster. End of story.

To be safe, you still might want to wear protective clothing when dealing with this issue: Long sleeve shirt, gloves, long pants, shoes or boots and socks, maybe a stocking cap or hoodie.

Credit: By Richerman (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

When The Nest Is Big

By the time the nest is big, you've already got a good load of wasps or larvae on your hands (not literally, hopefully). You'll have to take extra precautions and drastic measures. You might even want to call the exterminator, depending on your inclination and your budget. They are trained and have special equipment to handle this mess.

However, it is possible to get rid of the nest on your own. This, I think, requires wearing that protective clothing previously mentioned. It also is best to conduct this mission at night, when the pests are asleep. Make sure you have an escape route to the safety of your home too.

You will want to get a hold of some foam wasp insecticide that shoots at a distance; you want the one that shoots at a distance so that you can stay clear of angry stingers and also if their home is in a high and hard-to-reach place. You shoot the foam into the entrance of the nest, or all over the nest if need be, and then inject the nozzle of the spray into the hive and shoot the foam inside, filling it generously. Get away. In the morning you should have a lot of dead no-longer-deadly bugs on the ground. Sweep them up and get rid of them.

Using Foam Insecticide

Mud Daubers

Mud Daubers make their nests from mud and are a non-aggressive wasp that some people actually keep in their gardens but generally get rid of them where there is human traffic; because they do sting. But they have to be handled very roughly to sting. They do get rid of spiders and other pests, so some people consider them beneficial.

I had one come into my home a couple times. The first time, I captured it in a cup and coaster and put it outside. When it came back, I sprayed it with hair-spray and smashed it with a piece of cardboard. I was mystified at how non-aggressive it was; then I looked it up and found out it was a Mud Dauber. The one I encountered had a long black body, narrow waist and yellow legs.

While these insects are mostly harmless, accidents happen and you probably don't want them around you and your family. It's recommended to spray them with wasp freeze and scrape their nest down.

Using Wasp Freeze

Black and Yellow Mud Dauber
Credit: By Didier Descouens (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Wasp Repellant

Ziplock Bag, Water and Pennies

After my run-in with the mud dauber, I still had wasps coming onto my patio. I tried a peppermint spray, a mixture of peppermint oil and water, a supposed repellant, but it was a temporary fix at best. I put some dish soap in the mixture, soap is supposed to kill these bugs, and sprayed the pests when they came on to my patio; it chased them off. Again, temporary fix. Plus, I was told by a friend that attacking them is unwise because they'll release a chemical that calls on their buddies to attack you back.

Then I read about this "trick", used in Mexico and some parts of the US, of using a Ziplock bag filled half-way with water and 4 pennies dropped in it, hung in the area where you want the wasps to keep away.

I did just that, hung up a Ziplock freezer bag with water and pennies in it, up on the patio, and for 2 days straight I've had no more wasps on my patio. One theory is that insects have a different way of seeing things and the reflection of water and pennies throws them off. I guess the theories and speculations could be endless. I know that so far it seems to have worked.

My Ziplock Bag, Water and Pennies Wasp Repellant
Credit: Nathan Bernardo

Take Away

So, you might have to do some experimenting, if it is safe to do in your situation, or you might have to call the professionals. Seems to depend on the severity of the situation. Knocking down a nest when it's still small catches the problem before it's big, if you're aware of it in time to catch it. Solitary wasps like the Mud Dauber are a bit easier to deal with. You have to measure your situation to see what you need to do.

It should be noted that the professionals have special equipment and are well-trained for the task of getting rid of these pests. For certain, if the task seems too daunting and it's within the budget, call the exterminators.



Aug 2, 2014 10:47pm
Sounds like some good ideas to try. And yes their bite is very painful that's for sure worse than bee stings. We have always used fly spray. Although we never spray during the day just before sunset and then run. Because before they die they can fall and I believe that like bees still sting after death if you tread on them. Great helpful article.
Aug 4, 2014 7:20am
Thanks, shar-On. They are a difficult pest to deal with. Amazing how something that small can cause so much difficulty. Glad you stopped by.
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