Ouch! The wasps are back in your garden. If you’re trying to figure out how to rid your garden of these stinging creatures, you’re not alone. This is the perennial summer and fall question: how can you get the wasps to leave your garden, and how can you make sure that they don’t nest there in the first place?
Before you make a plan to get rid of your wasps, you need to know why those wasps are there in the first place. Believe it or not, wasps actually have a biological purpose. They’re not just there to sting you, they’re out hunting for food to feed their young. While your juicy steak might be one of their preferred delicacies, wasps generally hunt for other insects. Those insects might damage your garden, so wasps are part of nature’s pest control crew.
Unfortunately, wasps’ habits make it hard for humans and wasps to live together. They’re carnivorous, which means that they’re attracted to your picnic. Paper wasps use building materials that are commonly found in your garden. Wasps use plant materials such as wood pulp from trees and buildings. They nest in sheltered areas such as a tree or an open spot under the eaves. Unlike bees, they don’t lose their stinger when they attack, and they tend to be more aggressive when they’re defending their nest. It looks like our homes are set up to welcome wasps, so what can we do to avoid them?
1. Hang Out a “Rented” Sign
Wasps are fierce, and they will protect their territory. A group of wasps does not want to have an interaction with other wasps. In the spring, hang a fake wasp’s nest in your garden in areas where wasps have nested in the past. Some people simply use an inflated paper bag.
2. Remove the Buffet Dinner
Wasps hunt for insects, but if you leave some of your burger or apple juice out on offer, they will happily eat it for you. If you’re going to eat outdoors, keep it clean. Clean off your barbecue and wash up after spills. Most of all, avoid spoiling food: a host of rotten fruit on the ground or a spilled garbage can or overflowing compost bin can be an incentive for wasps to visit.
3. Reduce Building Materials
Wasps love slightly damp areas that are full of wood-based building materials. Does this sound familiar? A gutter full of leaves next to rotting siding will provide the perfect home for a colony of wasps. Keep gutters and other areas around your home clean, reducing the materials that wasps have to build their home. Install gutter covers and protect old benches and other wood from rotting. Keeping an eye on your maintenance will help you deter wasps.
4. Watch For Activity in Common Nesting Sites
Wasps love sheltered spaces where they can nest. Look around your home with the eyes of a wasp. Is there a spot on the porch that’s out of the way and would provide shelter from the elements? That might be a wasp nesting spot. If you can, seal and repair cracks, damaged screens, vents, door frames, and dampers. You won’t be able to remove all of the potential nesting spots, so keep an eye on others so that you’ll be able to remove the wasps if they do decide to build.