We all know that wasps are a nuisance. They build nests around your garden and even house, are attracted to various drinks, and even worse, they sting—a painful sting which can be deadly for people allergic to it.
Most people assume wasps as harmful creatures which are constantly disturbing. Are they, indeed? Are there not few good things about why these creatures were created? In fact, despite how afraid you are of wasps, and how bad the image about this animal is, you might want to learn that this insect can be beneficial for the environment.
- Wasps act as a natural pest control
What kind of pests? Various kinds of small insects, especially crop-eating insects. Wasps—especially the paper wasps build their nests near the crops providing small insects as food sources—while these insects are pests for the crops. Wasps will eat grubs, weevils, and caterpillars, and are recently used as all-in-all natural agricultural pesticides.
- Wasps help pollinate
Pollinators hold an important role in pollinating wild flowerings and plants, although bees are more beneficial for this activity. However, the population of bees is degrading recently, so that the occurrence of wasps in pollination becomes something important.
Should wasps be eliminated?
Despite the benefits wasps give to the agricultural world, many people think that the animals should not be around the house and garden. Under some circumstances, therefore, wasps are better to dismiss from the surrounding. Below are some conditions in which wasp’s nests should not be ignored.
- Wasps building nests inside the house and other places used for activities, such as basement and garage.
- Wasps’ nests located on a rarely used place which makes its growth unnoticeable and thus, hard to be controlled.
- Wasps’ nests which grow too big and can be harmful to the building. For instance: wasps’ nests which are located in roof eaves which are too big and heavy, and may cause the eave to break down.
- If some house members are allergic to wasp stings.
Wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are not only bothersome but can also be harmful, since they might likely to sting, compared to bees. Hence, wasps building their nests around the place you are doing your activities should be gotten rid of. There are various ways any homeowners can choose to perform in order to eliminate this disturbing colony. Note that wasp stings can lead to allergies, and for those allergic to these stings, it may be deadly. In fact, thousands of people are dead after stung by wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets. To avoid this, wasp treatment should only be done with cautious. If you are allergic to the sting or have no courage to go near the wasps, it is better to ask for bits of help to those with better experiences.
Inspecting susceptible areas is an important thing to perform before deciding suitable methods which should be used in treating wasp infestation. This step will find out how wasp and other stinging pests, such as hornets and yellow jackets behave and what places are used by those pests to nest. Inspection can be done by doing such procedures:
- Checking susceptible places for wasp nestings, such as large trees and bushes, wall voids, roof eaves, and attic eaves.
- Checking for wasp nest droppings, especially when paper wasps is suspected to infest the house. The nest is made from organic pulp so that its droppings are ash-like and grayish.
- Checking the areas which are rarely used and with low human traffics, such as the attics, garage, and thick bushes.
Removing wasp nests
Once you discover the wasp nests, you might tell how severe infestation you have got is. This will be useful for determining early treatments to perform in getting rid of the infesting wasps and their nests. Removing wasp nest does not necessarily remove the entire colony since wasps will likely to rebuild the destroyed nest. However, if you manage to target the queen which resides inside the nest, this treatment can be effective, since no new nest will be rebuilt. To remove wasp nests, do the following procedures:
- Remove only wasp nest which is within your reach. Avoid attempting to remove the nests located in high places, requiring you to sit on a ladder. This will put you into a serious injury when the wasps fly once you disturb the nest since you are likely to fall off the ladder.
- If you see no wasps wandering around the nest for the whole year, it is not necessary to destroy the nest, since it may have been vacant after the wasps were killed by freezing temperature in the previous winter. If you insist on destroying the nest, simply vacuum it or use the ceiling broom.
- If the nest is still in use—signed by wandering wasps going to and from the nest, only attempt to remove it after dark, when the colony is less active and most of those are resting inside the nest. This way, if you manage to get rid of the nest, you will also find a number of wasps killed.
- Finding out the types of wasps you are trying to remove is also helpful since different wasps also possess different characteristics and behavior.
Once you know the procedures of removing wasp nests, you can move into another step—killing the culprits. You can attempt to kill wasps—hornets and yellow jackets while they are wandering around, or you can target the whole colony by destroying the nest. Either way, you choose, make sure you are doing it safely.
Wear protective clothes, face mask, and hat if necessary, and plan an escaping route when the wasps get too aggressive when disturbed. Various methods of killing wasps can be chosen and those consist of:
- Killing wasps using pesticide spray
Pesticide spray works instantly and therefore, is effective in removing wasp colony if used properly. You can either target the wasps or its nest when performing the action, although the latter is often preferred. Use the spray intended for wasps, since lighter spray for smaller insects is not effective enough for killing wasps. To kill wasps using pesticide spray:
- Aim at the opening of the nest, which is commonly located at the bottom of the wood pulp-based nest. Apply the spray continuously within 5 seconds and quickly get away from the area. Spraying should be done at night when the wasps are in the nest and less aggressive.
- Leave the spray to work during the night and check the nest for any activities on the next day. Do not approach until you are sure there are no activities which will harm you.
- If no activities found, you can knock down the nest with a long stick or broom. Clean any nest residue to prevent rebuilding. If activities still present, repeat the treatment at night.
- A DIY nest removal and wasps killing should be done to paper wasps only, as hornets and yellow jackets—which build the nest in abandoned holes underground are far more aggressive than the former. Hence, their nest removal should only do by professional exterminators.
- Killing wasps using traps
Killing wasps using pesticides which have to be aimed directly to its nest might be scary for some homeowners, as the risk of getting stung is quite big, especially when the critters become aggressive. Hence, traps with baits placed around the suspected areas can be more helpful and practical. To kill wasps using this trap, you will need a glass jar or a soda pop bottle and a bait. You can use any glass jar and plastic bottle to wish to use. Afterward, prepare a bait which is less attractive to bees, but will invite wasps, such as:
- Tuna and other protein-containing meat
- Greasy foods, such as hamburgers and hot dogs.
- Root beers and colas
To make the bait more effective, pour a little dish soap into the water-and-bait mixture. This will stick the wings and make prevent wasps from escaping after eating the bait.
After preparing the media, use the directions on how to make the trap and make it works.
- Cut the bottle neck part and place it onto the other half part upside-down after removing the cap.
- Attach the bottle trap onto the wall, tree branch, attic eaves, or any places you wish using an S hook. You can use any kinds of nails and hook to attach the trap, only making sure that you will be able to detach it for replacing the bait and removing any dead wasps.
- Fill the bottle with water, with which you are going to mix the bait. The water should only fill the bottle below the cap hole to make sure the trapped wasps cannot access the exit way through the opened cap hole.
- Put the bait of your choice inside the water and pour one or two drops of liquid dish soap and stir.
- Remove any dead wasps and replace the bait within 2 or 3 days.
Natural wasp repellents
Getting rid of wasps, including the hornets and yellow jackets can be dangerous. Many people get stung performing wasp treatments, and for people allergic to wasps’ stings, this can be deadly. Hence, if you think your surrounding is susceptible to wasp infestation, keeping them away is always the best solution. One of these natural wasp repellents and preventions might be helpful for keeping the pests at the bay.
- Removing the source of wasp foods. Wasps are attracted to protein. Hence, keep them away by covering the meat and other protein foods when having a barbecue or other outdoor activities. Pet foods and open garbage containers should also be removed or covered.
- Do not wear strong, sweet-scented perfumes, as sweets are an attraction for yellow jackets—the most aggressive type of wasps.
- Hanging false nest made from a burlap cloth filled with rice grain can prevent wasps from building nests around it. It is possible since wasps are territorial and will not likely to build nests where there are other wasps’ nests.
- Seal off any possible wasps entrances. Broken window or door screen should be repaired immediately, as wasps may build nests in the space between the window and broken window screen.
- Avoid wearing bright color clothes. Wasps may perceive these bright colors as flower image, and they will approach, looking for nectar to feed.
- Avoid swatting the wasps, as when wasps are smashed, they release a pheromone which invites nearby wasps.
Natural wasp repellents
- Deter wasps with peppermint oil. Wasps do not like strong-smelled herbals, such as mints and it will keep them away. To use this deterrent, apply peppermint spray to the areas susceptible to wasp infestation, such as bushes, tree branches, and roof eaves. Peppermint spray can also be applied to your clothing and hair while doing outdoor activities to deter wasps from stinging you. Make peppermint spray by mixing a bottle of water with 2 to 3 drops of peppermint oil and dab a small amount to your clothes and hair.
- Keep wasps away using spicy spray. Wasps do not like the spicy smell so that peppers will deter them. You can apply the spray directly to any wasps invading the house. To make the mixture, boil 2 cups of water and add 2 chopped chili peppers. Let it cool down and strain the mixture into a spraying bottle. You can also use ground cayenne pepper to make the mixture using similar directions.
- Planting strong-smelled mint plants around vegetation you want to protect from wasp nests. You can also plant mints in the pots which are placed around the house to prevent wasp from infesting.
- Spread cinnamon powder near wasp nests to make the colony move into a new place. You will need to do this constantly for several consecutive days to pass the message and irritate the colony.
- Liquid dish soap spray is also an effective deterrent for keeping wasps away. Mix a bottle of water with 3 drops of dish soap and shake well. Spray the mixture to any wandering wasps to repel them. You can also apply the repellent to wasp’s nests to kill the queen staying inside.
Despite the harms they may cause, wasps can be a beneficial insect pollinating wild plantation. In some countries, they are recently used as a natural pesticide against crop-destroying insects. Hence, unless they reside inside the house, or some home members are allergic to the stings, it is better to leave the insects alone for preserving the ecosystem balance.