Dealing with wasps can be a pain. Whether you are parking your car or trying to enjoy lunch outside wasps always have a way of ruining the fun. It can be helpful to recognize what will attract wasps and the steps that can be taken to keep them away.
There are five things that will surely attract a wasp to your home or property, such as warm spots to build a nest in, insect availability, leftover meat, sweet foods, and flowers. But don’t worry, there are ways to keep them out of the house, which you’ll learn more about shortly.
The 5 Things That Attract Wasps
If you’ve started noticing a good number of wasps flying around in your property, then you may have something that really attracts them to begin with. It can be any of these five things below:
1. Safe Refuge
One of the major reasons why wasps are scouting your home is the possibility of finding safe refuge. Your insulated walls, crevices, and hidden cracks and cavities make your home a viable candidate for wasps to build a nest in.
In the fall season, male wasps die after impregnating the queen wasps. This makes the queen wasps take charge in looking for a safe, warm, and protected haven for her colony, especially during the winter months. Staying inside the walls or underneath your home are very attractive spots for them, and the queen wasps will hibernate better through the winter knowing that her colony is safe and snug inside the comfort of your home.
While wasps aren’t too picky when it comes to finding a place to build their nest in, they do, however, prefer a place where there is a supply of weathered wood nearby. For instance, paper wasps use wood fiber to build their nests. The queen wasp chews the wood fiber, mixes it with her saliva, and then creates a paper pulp. The queen spits out the paper pulp and then builds the nest.
2. Insect Availability
After hibernating in the winter, the queen and the worker wasps emerge in the summer. The warmer months are the time to hunt for food. So if you have a good supply of insects in your yard or garden, you can expect uninvited guests every so often.
When you see wasps hovering above the ground, they’re looking to prey on insects on the soil like larvae and grubs. These are what you call digger wasps. Meanwhile, the cicada killer wasp only hunts for cicada eggs. If you think about it, the wasps are excellent yard pest terminators. It only becomes a problem if they want to start building a nest in your property (if they haven’t already) because of your abundant food supply.
3. Leftover Meat
During their hunting sprees in the spring and summer seasons, they also like to look out for scraps of meats. Wasps like protein-based foods, so they’re easily attracted to leftover meat and other food scraps in your trash bin. If your family likes grilling food out in the yard, always watch out for wasps sneaking into the food on your plate or going near the bits of food that fell on the floor. Contrary to what you may think, the wasps are there to eat the food, not attack you.
4. Sweet Foods
When the fall or winter seasons come, wasps will have a change of heart. They’ll swap out the protein-based foods to sweet foods instead. If you have fruit trees, expect the wasps to aggressively and persistently lurk around the fruits as well as the fallen fruits. Even your soda cans and fruit juices are no exception; the wasps will dive in there if they get a chance.
If you have a garden at home with plenty of flowering plants, then don’t be surprised if the wasps come swarming in. Wasps like flowers for two reasons. The first is the nectar, which is another food source for them. The other reason is they like the fragrance of flowers. This means that if you’re wearing sweet-scented perfume, wasps can also be attracted to your aroma.
How to Keep Wasps Away from Your Home
While you’re not always in danger of wasps attacking you and your family, it is still not a good idea to let them live or hang around your home. Do know that wasps do not stay in one place for a long time. By fall, they will leave their nest and look for a new home. However, if you want to wasp-proof your home before they even get the chance to build a nest, these are the things you should do:
1. Inspect Your Home
If you don’t want them inside your home, you have to seal off every single hole where wasps can enter. Inspect your home for loose siding, gaps, tiny holes in the walls, holes on cable wires, broken panels, and all the possible entry points from the outside of your house. Make sure your window screens and screen doors don’t have holes as well. If there are any gaps on windows and doors, seal them immediately. Don’t forget to check the basement, garage, shed, and even the ceilings, light fixtures, and eaves.
2. Inspect the Yard
While you can’t get rid of your flowers and fruit trees just because of the wasps, what you can do is look for holes or burrows where wasps can build their nests in. If you see holes, cover them with soil.
3. Move the Nest
Some people want to face danger head-on and move the wasp nest themselves. It is possible to do but not really recommended. If you’re going to try and move a wasp nest, make sure it’s in the early morning when the wasps are sleeping and if there’s no activity whatsoever around the nest. Remove it from its location and gently transfer it to another place. Wear protective clothing all over the face, head, and body.
Important Note: This is a very dangerous thing to do. Moving a wasp nest can make the wasps very angry, and they won’t think twice about swarming and attacking you. If you want to be more cautious about this, call pest control services to get them professionally dealt with.
4. Have Fresh Spearmint Leaves
You are not safe from wasps in your car. They can still attack you while you’re trapped inside. The best way to keep wasps away in the car is to have some fresh spearmint leaves inside and then open the windows so the wasps can fly away. They don’t like the smell of mint so they’ll want to stay away from the scent as much as possible. If you notice that they keep coming back though, inspect your car for a wasp nest and check out our post how to easily remove wasps from your car.
5. Grow Plants That Can Repel Wasps
Speaking of mint leaves, you can also plant other wasp-repelling plants in your yard or patio. Wasps hate the smell of lemongrass, thyme, penny-royal, citronella, and eucalyptus. In addition, you can also use essential oils blends at home to keep the wasps away. Put peppermint oil, clove, lemongrass, or geranium essential oil on cotton pads and place them in different areas of your home.
6. Spray Them
Wasps don’t like vinegar. You can use vinegar as a water trap for wasps. Combine apple cider vinegar, dishwashing soap, and sweetened water in a bowl. Once the wasp falls for the trap, it won’t be able to get out of the bowl anymore. Now if you just want to keep wasps away, simply mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and spray the mixture at the flying wasps.
Going back to the essential oils, you can also create a wasp-repellant spray out of them. In a cup of water, add five drops of spearmint, thyme, and lemongrass essential oil each. Put the mixture into the spray bottle and start spraying away.
7. Fool Them with Wasp Decoys
It’s a crazy thought but it’s very effective in keeping wasps away from building a nest in your property. Wasps are highly territorial insects, so if they see fake wasp nests around your home or yard, they’ll look elsewhere. Do note that this method will only be effective in the spring season when they’re still coming out of hibernation and have not built a new nest yet.
8. Clear the Trash
Your trash bins should always be emptied, otherwise, wasps will keep coming back because they know they can still get food in those bins. If you have compost piles, cover them properly. If you have unused wood in the property, get rid of them right away. If you have fruit trees, make sure to throw away fallen fruits immediately. The wasps love your trash!
9. Get Rid of Water Resources
Do you see that puddle of water in your yard? That may actually be where the wasps get their water supply from. Yes, wasps also need water to survive so make sure to clean up those water resources. Plus, this will also help prevent mosquitoes from lurking in your property.
10. Avoid Floral and Bright Décors
As mentioned, wasps love flowers, which means they’re attracted to bright things and floral prints. Having such décor outside your home is like an open invitation for the wasps to visit you whenever they like. At the same time, avoid wearing bright-colored shirts and floral prints when you’re out in the garden. The wasps will more likely fly around you.
11. Don’t Wear Sweet Fragrances
Want to make sure the wasps stay away from you? Don’t wear perfume, colognes, and lotions that smell sweet, especially when you’re staying outdoors.
12. Remove Food Sources
They are attracted to food, which is why you have to get rid of any leftover foods whenever you have a picnic or barbecue in the yard. If there’s still a lot of food to be eaten, either bring them inside the kitchen or cover them tightly. Additionally, if you have pets at home, don’t put the pet foods outside. The wasps will also be attracted to those.
13. Don’t Swat Them
The last thing you’d want to happen is a swarm of wasps headed towards you. Even if you’re hiding indoors, they just won’t go away unless they sting you. So don’t swat a wasp because dead wasps emit pheromones that alert the other wasps in the surrounding area. They’ll be on revenge mode which will just make things worse for you.
14. Call Pest Control
If you’ve tried all these ways but cannot keep the wasps away or if you just don’t have the time to naturally deter them, then call your local pest control services. The professionals can offer a regular pest control treatment both inside and outside your home to keep wasps and other bugs away.
Wasps aren’t highly dangerous creatures, and they won’t bother you if you let them be. However, it’s unwise to just ignore their presence in your home or property. Now that you know the top things that attract them, you can now make a conscious effort to remove anything that can invite them to your property. And in any case that you fail, don’t hesitate to call the pros in to deal with this matter as efficiently and effectively as possible. For help determining how to find a reliable pest control company check out our article Do Pest Control Companies Really Work.