The last thing you want to worry about is stinging insects like wasps while you’re mowing the lawn or hosting a picnic. However, the truth is that wasps have an unjustly poor image. In fact, these creatures are really beneficial to our gardens and lawns, and not all wasp species are venomous.
Wasps generally stay out of people’s business. Wasps are biological controls that prey on pests like caterpillars and brown marmorated stink bugs, according to Mike Raupp, PhD, an extension expert and retired professor of entomology at the University of Maryland. Wasps are not interested in you when they are foraging in your yard. Just like any good parent, they are feeding their infants.
Naturally, issues occur when wasps construct their nests too near to ours. The North Carolina State University’s Sydney E. Crawley, PhD, assistant professor and extension specialist in urban and structural entomology, advises that while you can’t keep wasps out of your yard, you can make your home as unpleasant to them as you can. If the nest is in a place with little traffic, you might be able to leave it alone. However, you should get rid of the nest if the risk of getting stung outweighs the biological advantages wasps offer.
Who Are the Aggressive Wasps?
Solitary wasps are single females whose only duty is to feed their young; they are not aggressive and will not sting to defend themselves. The social wasps that coexist in a colony with a queen are the problematic species. The most disruptive insects are yellowjackets. By the end of the summer, their colonies had thousands of workers, according to Raupp. They build their nest underground, under siding, or in a wall. They can sting many times and attack when disturbed, sending pheromones to their companions to help. In the autumn, they are most aggressive.
The European hornet is another typical wasp found in the South. This wasp constructs tan paper nests with hundreds of workers in hollow walls, trees, and attics. Although they are not aggressive, if threatened, they will sting. According to Raupp, they eat insects, frequently hunt at night, and are drawn to outdoor lights in the evening.
Who to keep Wasps away?
In protected areas like shrubs, behind shutters, inside porch lights, entrances, grills, and mailboxes, paper wasps build umbrella-shaped nests out of material that resembles paper. Although they are not hostile, they prey on pests like caterpillars and will sting you if you destroy their nests.
The Baldfaced Hornet is a species of yellowjacket that constructs nests in shrubs, on buildings, or in trees high above the ground that are rounded or shaped like footballs. According to Raupp, they eat a variety of pests, including flies and caterpillars, but if their nests are damaged, they will protect them.
How Can I Prevent Wasps From Entering My Home?
When having a picnic, cover the food and beverages. According to Crawley, wasps enjoy a variety of things, including meat, poultry, fish, fruits, sweets, and sugary drinks.
Pour your soda into a covered cup instead of drinking it straight from the can since wasps can fall in and harm you.
Place domestic trash bins out of the way and under cover. According to Raupp, wash them frequently to get rid of residue that attracts wasps.
In the spring, go for a stroll and search for activity or new nests close to your residence, in doors, or on fence posts. According to Raupp, it is ideal to kill these when they are tiny and just have a few employees.
Pick up any fallen fruit or vegetables if you have a garden or fruit trees so they don’t rot and draw foraging wasps, advises Crawley.
Do aromatic compounds deter wasps?
You may have heard that wasps can be repelled by using essential oils like clove, geranium, lemongrass, or peppermint. According to some research, these oils when sprayed on a surface may deter wasps from gathering cellulose from that area (to build their nests). But effects fade quickly. The oils must be reapplied after rain or sun exposure because they degrade within hours or days.
Additionally, essential oils have the potential to be slippery or oily, discolor surfaces, and irritate both people and animals. It’s not realistic to spray your yard’s probable cellulose-containing surfaces. “How are you going to ever cover every surface, like the deck, the eaves, or the boxes in your attic? It would require an enormous lot of work for very little reward, claims Crawley. “I’ve never advised it,” the speaker said.
Is soap and water effective against wasps?
Wasps can also be treated at home by spraying them with soapy water, as you may have heard. “This is effective against wasps and other insects. It will destroy their waxy protective cuticle and obstruct the breathing holes, claims Crawley. However, you have no idea how long it will take to work, and even as the wasps are dying, they can still bite you. (Just so you know, commercial EPA-registered sprays have to put wasps down within 10 seconds.
Work the wasp traps?
No and yes. Wasps are drawn to the attractant in these traps, where they drown after becoming trapped. Although Crawley notes that several DIY recipes suggest using vinegar, a study revealed that it actually repels some species of female wasps. One species of yellowjacket is drawn to by a common element found in many commercial traps, but not all prevalent varieties in the South, such southern or German yellowjackets.
Overall, there is no proof that using traps can reduce wasp activity, and you might even catch helpful insects. Don’t rely on traps to deal with wasp issues, advises Crawley. The wasps you trap might not even be a problem on your property because wasps can forage up to 1,000 yards away.
Are wasp decoy nests effective?
Most likely not. Some wasps don’t even construct nests that resemble the decoys, like yellowjackets. Although these gadgets resemble a baldfaced hornet’s nest, Raupp claims that he has never seen a study showing that baldfaced hornets avoid constructing nests in areas where other baldfaced hornets have done so. Additionally, they don’t repeatedly use the same nest, thus they won’t go back to an old nest.
Get Rid of a Wasp Nest: Instructions
Wait until the evening to treat any nests that need to be removed, advises Raupp, as too many workers are out foraging during the day. Any kind of aerosol wasp spray is acceptable, but make sure it has a 10 foot or greater range of spraying to avoid having to come too near. Use a flashlight to illuminate the opening’s side, then spray directly into it. For at least a day, stay away from the nest.
If you have a nest inside a wall or an aerial nest, or if you are allergic to stings, Raupp and Crawly advise calling a professional pest management company. Additionally, Crawley advises against attempting to block the entrance to a nest that is hidden by shutters or a wall since agitated yellowjackets have been known to gnaw through wallboard in order to escape and emerge inside.
Do I need to get rid of a wasp nest?
No, not always. Leave a nest alone if it’s on your property and you’re not working or playing there, advises Raupp. Wasps are beneficial in many ways, so if they aren’t a threat to your family, let them alone.