Wasps are pretty scary – I can remember as a kid sitting down and having one land on my leg. I have actually only been stung by one a few times in my life but the pain is something I do not want to experience again! We also had an invasion of wasps inside our house one summer after the painter mistakenly blocked them inside the wood. They were able to burrow their way inside the house and it was awful – especially with a newborn in the room! Make sure you know how to get rid of wasps BEFORE they bother you! I always keep my essential oils handy for any pests or cleaning needs.
How to Get Rid of Wasps
Do you know that wasps and hornets are different from bees? Bumble bees – the big, fat, hairy bees – are actually pretty docile and will not go after you. They just want to pollinate and bee happy (sorry, couldn’t help myself). But wasps and hornets, on the other hand, are mean. Just mean! You can tell a wasp by their pointed lower abdomens and the narrow waist. They come in every color imaginable, from the familiar yellow to brown, metallic blue, and bright red. Generally, the brighter colored species are in the Vespidae, or stinging wasp, family.
All wasps build nests. Whereas bees secrete a waxy substance to construct their nests, wasps create their familiar papery abodes from wood fibers scraped with their hard mandibles and chewed into a pulp.
Wasps are divided into two primary subgroups: social and solitary. Social wasps account for only about a thousand species and include formidable colony-builders, like yellow jackets and hornets. Social wasp colonies are started from scratch each spring by a queen who was fertilized the previous year and survived the winter by hibernating in a warm place. When she emerges, she builds a small nest and rears a starter brood of worker females. These workers then take over expanding the nest, building multiple six-sided cells into which the queen continually lays eggs. By late summer, a colony can have more than 5,000 individuals, all of whom, including the founding queen, die off at winter. Only newly fertilized queens survive the cold to restart the process in spring.
Ok, so sorry to have to say this, but wasps are actually extremely beneficial to humans. Wasps prey upon almost every insect species on earth either for food or as a host for its parasitic larvae. Wasps are so good at controlling pest populations that the agriculture industry now regularly deploys them to protect crops.
But that doesn’t mean we want them flying around our house, right? There are some pretty easy and eco-friendly ways to control wasp populations around the house. We had a wasp nest IN our house a few years ago. Our house was being painted and the painters discovered the nest and sprayed it in the evening, then patched it up with wood. Do you know what happened? The wasps chewed through the wall and made their way into our home via the windows. It was awful, especially since we had a newborn in the house. There were SO many wasps inside, I felt like we were literally infested by these insects. If I had known how to get rid of wasps back then, I wouldn’t have been in the situation I was in.
How to get rid of wasps without chemicals
The Soda Bottle Trap
- Build a trap of your own using a large soda bottle.
- Cut off the top 1/3 of a 2-liter soda bottle.
- Turn the top around (so that it’s facing the bottom of the soda bottle instead of the top) and staple it to the remaining soda bottle.
- You should have a kind of minnow trap with the inverted neck as a funnel.
- Fill the soda bottle about halfway full with soapy water. Coat the neck of the soda bottle with sweet jam. The wasps will try to get to the jam and accidentally fall into the bottle, from which it is very difficult to get out.
- Empty and refill the soda bottle frequently. Dead yellow jackets can form a barrier that other caught yellow jackets can rest on, possibly escaping. Empty the contents of your homemade trap frequently to cut down on this risk.
Soap and Water
Spray the wasps with a soap and water mixture on the wasps and their nest. The soap will stick to their wings and weigh them down. Eventually they will suffocate. Not terribly humane but it works.
- All you have to do is to mix two tablespoons of dishwash liquid in a liter of water.
- Line your doors and windows with soap to keep the wasps away.
- If the yellow jackets have built a nest in the ground, pour soapy water into the hole at night and preferably during cooler temperature. The entire colony should die. Be sure to wear protective clothing in case the yellow jackets are feeling especially murderous.
Use a Citrus Spray
Use citrus sprays to keep wasps at a distance while you are gardening or working in the yard.
Lavender oil and eucalyptus oil are effective as repellents to get rid of wasps. Lavender oil can be applied on skin/clothing or can be sprayed on areas frequented by these insects.
- Mix 1/4 ounce of lavender oil with 1/2 ounce citronella oil and 1/8 ounce each of pennyroyal oil, eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, tea tree oil and jojoba oil, to prepare a homemade wasp repellent.
- This mixture has to be diluted with sixteen ounces of jojoba oil, before applying on skin. If you want to use it as a wasp repellent spray, then replace jojoba oil with the same amount of vodka.
- Eucalyptus oil combined with citronella oil is also an effective remedy for wasps. Combine equal amounts of eucalyptus oil, menthol oil, teak oil and citronella oil to make this repellent. Spray this mixture on your premises to repel wasps and to prevent them from nesting in that area.
- Peppermint oil can also be used to ward off wasps. Add a tablespoon of peppermint oil to a liter of water mixed with a tablespoon of unscented shampoo. Spray the solution to get rid of wasps.
Baby Powder Repellent
Baby powder can be sprinkled to repel wasps. You can also apply the powder on your body to prevent wasp stings. It is said that the talc in baby powder repels insects.
Tips to remember if you want to get rid of wasps
- Avoid swatting.
- Swatting and squashing wasps is counterproductive. When a wasp is squashed, a chemical is released which attracts and incites other nearby wasps. It’s best to walk away from a hovering wasp.
- Avoid wearing bright colors or floral patterns – if you look like a big flower, you may be attracting the curious wasp looking for nectar.
- Minimize use of perfumes and other strong scents – in the later part of the summer, wasps are attracted to sweet smells
Have other pest issues?
DIY Homemade Moquito Traps
5 Natural Mosquito Repellent Recipes to Protect Your Child Outdoors
Insect Bites: How to Relieve the Itch
Eco-Friendly Home Pest Control with Essential Oils
Tea Tree Oil Tick Repellent and Other Natural Options
Do you know how to get rid of wasps? What methods have you tried?