The dog days of summer are here to stay, and you’re most likely enjoying them by spending time outside. But there is one flying friend you don’t want joining your barbecue: the wasp. Yellowjackets, paper wasps and hornets are common types of wasps that all seem to build their nests in places you don’t want them.
These insects are often seen as pests because of their painful stings, but they are important for the garden. After all, they’re predatory insects as well as pollinators. However, if their nests get a little too close for comfort or if you’re allergic to their stings, you probably don’t want them buzzing around you. With this in mind, we will discuss how to create an unwelcoming environment for wasps and how to eliminate their nets when necessary.
Instead of removing the nest, you can always create an environment that the wasps will find unpleasant. Consider growing plants they dislike. These include eucalyptus, citronella, mint and wormwood. A bonus: these plants will also help deter mosquitos.
If planting isn’t your thing, try hanging a fake nest. Wasp colonies are incredibly territorial. When they believe another colony is already making a home in the area, they are likely to move on to another location. You can purchase a fake nest online, or you can create your own. To do this, fill a brown paper bag with crumpled-up newspaper and seal off the opening with tape. Next, crumble and shape the bag a bit to make it look like an actual wasp nest. Finally, hang it in an area where you don’t want wasps buzzing around.
Removing Wasps Nests
In the event you have to remove a wasps nest, there are precautions to take beforehand.
- Have a well thought out plan and exit strategy. Know how you’re going to remove it and how you plan to escape in case the wasps become angry.
- Remove at night. Wasps are less active at night and most of the time the whole colony is there.
- Wear protective clothing. This includes a long sleep shirt, pants, gloves and tennis shoes. You want to be completely covered if they start stinging.
- Don’t use a flashlight. Wasps will become active if they see even the smallest amount of light.
Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to decide how you want to remove the nest. One option is using a can of wasp spray. While effective, this method does release harmful pesticides into the environment. An alternative is to make and use a spray with soapy water. Mix one cup of hot water with two to three ounces of dish soap. Shake vigorously and spray onto the nest while the mixture is still hot. Don’t forget to run!
If you want to remove the nest completely without the use of sprays, here are some tips on how to do it effectively and as safely as possible.
- First, approach the nest slowly during nighttime.
- Take a large garbage bag and very carefully cover the nest.
- Detach the nest from the tree or wall it’s attached to and seal the bag tightly.
- Place the bag in a garbage can with a tight lid a good distance away from the house.
It’s important to note that if your wasp nest is in a hard-to-reach place you should not try to remove it yourself. This can put you at risk for severe injuries. You should also never attempt to remove a nest if you’re allergic to them.
While helpful for the environment, wasps can put a damper on your summertime fun. If you are unsure if you can remove the nest safely, you shouldn’t hesitate to call a professional. Wasps may be small, but they are not something to mess with.