5 Easy Ways to Keep Wasps Out of Your Yard, Pest Experts Say
Make your yard wasp-free this summer with these simple tips.
Summer is well underway and that means more chances to get together with friends and family—and there's no better place to do it than someone's backyard. It's the perfect location for a BBQ, a pool party, or just relaxing in the warm weather. But your backyard can also be a hot spot for any number of pests—including wasps.
Wasps are a big problem right now because they're building their nests and getting ready to reproduce. And they're a lot more dangerous than bees. Luckily, there are easy ways to keep these unwanted insects out of your yard. Pest experts weigh in on how to keep wasps away this season as well as share tips on what to do if they've already set up their home.
How to Keep Wasps Out of Your Yard
1. Remove food scraps.
"There are several species of wasps; some are docile, and some are aggressive," says David Price ACE, director of technical services and associate certified entomologist at Mosquito Joe. But all will either be looking for protein-based or sugary foods.
"They love sweet food and drinks, so be sure to keep your garbage bins completely closed and not leave any leftover food in your yard," says Ben McInerney, founder of Home Garden Guides.
"Clean up the grill and surrounding area to not leave any scraps or meat drippings," adds Price.
You'll also want to wrap up any soda cans before putting them in the trash as wasps will sniff out the sugar quickly. In addition, if you have a fruit tree in your yard, picking up any fallen fruit is imperative.
Not only will this keep wasps out, but it'll also help keep other creatures like snakes and raccoons away, too.
2. Eliminate any spots for nests.
One of the best ways to ensure that wasps aren't taking up residence in your yard is to eliminate spots where they can build nests. This may mean checking inside your home to get rid of any possible entryways.
"Wasps, much like ants, use pheromones to help them find safe places to build a nest, so if you have old ones you will typically have new ones right next to it," says Matt Smith, owner and licensed professional pest control technician at Green Pest Management.
They like to nest in peaks and eaves of the home as well as the attic, so you should be vigilant and check any of these spaces regularly.
"If you have any cracks, holes, gaps, or the like in your yard, then it's time to seal them up," says McInerney.
"If there is an active wasp nest, a simple solution of two tablespoons of dish soap to a spray bottle of water will take off the active wasps," says Price "The soap will clog their spiracles, which are openings to allow oxygen."
After that, if you're comfortable, you can simply knock down the nest to discourage any more inhabitants. You can also call in a pest expert if you feel safer.
3. Hang wasp traps.
No matter how hard you try, it's inevitable that wasps may still invade your yard. "Once you have looked for nests, then you can set up wasp bait traps along the perimeter of the yard," suggests Smith. You can set them up on the ground or hang them, depending on the type of wasps in your area.
Price mentions that these traps are readily available at any local hardware store. "The best attractant is to pour two or three ounces of soda into the trap. This will pull the wasps into the container, and they will not be able to come back out," he explains.
A lot of the store-bought traps come with bait already in them, but you can also make your own with sweeteners like sugar water or honey. Smith notes that you should add a little vinegar if you don't want to capture honey bees.
4. Plant repellent herbs.
Insecticides are a fast and easy way to eliminate wasps, but they can also be harmful to other creatures. If you want a simple and natural method, there are plenty of herbs you can use to repel wasps.
"For instance, mint, basil, and eucalyptus are well-known for repelling wasps due to their strong scent," says McInerney. Any of these herbs are easy to find and maintain, so don't worry if you don't have a green thumb.
McInerney notes that you can plant these anywhere around your yard or in a particular area that attracts wasps.
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5. Keep flowers away from everything else.
While flowers make your yard pretty, they are also a huge reason why wasps may be appearing more frequently, as these insects gravitate towards sweet-smelling things.
"If you have aromatic flowers, you may want to reduce or locate them in the yard where people are not hanging about," says Price.
However, when trying to deter wasps from your yard, "It is important to know the difference between a wasp and a bee that pollinates and not harm the pollinators," explains Price. Ultimately, honey bees are a strong part of the ecosystem.