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Reduce Wasp Problems in the Yard

Those who have faced wasp problems in the past know what a nuisance they can be. And the worst thing is that they come during the sunniest times of the year when you want to be outside for a picnic or to play in the backyard.

Here are a few things you can do to get rid of wasps and the problems they cause from your home in Rochester, NY. Keep your family safe and avoid wasps this season.


Sometimes, just doing a few things to prepare for wasp season can go a long way to keep you safe. Make your home less appealing to these pests by covering potential wasp food sources, like compost piles, garbage cans, and any food brought outside. Wasps also look for sugary drinks or standing water, so clean up any spills, cover soda cans, and make sure the yard drains well and doesn’t leave puddles behind.

Some wasps are territorial and won’t build a nest in an area where another nest already exists. Fake nests called wasp decoys are great to keep many types of wasps from building nests within 200 feet. You can buy these online, or you can make your own by stuffing a white paper lunch bag with plastic bags to make it roughly the shape of a wasp nest. Next, mark one corner with a black dot, which will look like a nest entrance to a wasp. Tie the top off with a rubber band or string and place one of these wasp decoys on every corner of the house and in any area of the yard where wasps like to make nests. It’s best to hang up decoys in the early spring as it starts to warm up. Wasps only vacate an area before they’ve established a nest, not after.

While some wasps build nests up high, others establish them underground. Look around your yard for any abandoned burrows dug by moles, gophers, or groundhogs and fill them up right away. Otherwise, abandoned underground burrows are a great place for certain species of yellow jackets or hornets to establish themselves.

Fortify your home by making sure all the screens for the windows and doors are in good repair, especially on the hotter parts of the house where wasps like to bask in the heat. If you park your car outside during the summer, be careful to close the windows because a stray wasp could wander inside and get stuck there.

Home Remedies for Wasps

Decoys might work for some species of wasp, but others, like the bald-faced hornet, are known to build nests directly next to a decoy. Additionally, a decoy won’t work for some hornets and yellow jackets that like to build nests underground. So, preparing a few remedies just in case you do have a wasp problem is a good idea.

Before you ever try to treat wasps on your own, make sure you know whether you’re allergic to wasp stings. The risk of getting stung is high whenever you treat a wasp nest, and those with allergies are especially vulnerable. If you are allergic, never try to tackle wasps without professional help.

If you’re 100% certain that you aren’t allergic to stings and still want to take on a nest, always wear protective equipment. Gloves, goggles, long sleeves and long pants, sturdy shoes with closed toes, a hat, and a scarf or bandana that covers all the way around the neck are the bare minimum, even on a hot summer day. There are also bee suits you can purchase, but these tend to be expensive. Remember, there is always the possibility of getting stung no matter what equipment you use, so exercise caution.

Essential oils like peppermint, geranium, clove, and lemongrass are all proven wasp repellents. Mix 1 drop of oil with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. You can use any or all of these oils, but make sure you’re using pure oil and not an extract, or it won’t be as effective. Since this mixture is safe to use around you and your family, you can use this on yourself, your children, your pets, and any areas around your house where you don’t want the wasps to come snooping around. Spray it in the eaves or other areas where wasps are coming around.

Essential oils are great repellents, but they might not kill wasps on contact when they attack or when you are treating a wasp nest. As a safe wasp treatment, you can mix grease-fighting dish soap or insecticide soap, both of which you can buy at hardware stores or online. Mix water and soap in a hose attachment or in a powerful sprayer with a strong stream. Spray the nest from a safe distance and watch the mixture take down the wasps quickly. Remember, when treating a nest, there’s always the possibility of getting stung, so be careful.

There are also over-the-counter (OTC) products available for you to use against wasps online or at your local hardware store. All products have a label with proper use instructions. Follow those directions carefully and thoroughly to avoid harming yourself or the environment.

Homemade Wasp Trap

This little trick works incredibly well, considering how simple it is to do. This trap is reusable, so you don’t have to worry about using too much material. It’s also disposable, so if you don’t mind making more, you can use it once and toss it.

You’ll need a two-liter bottle, scissors or a knife, packing or duct tape, and some wire. Just be careful not to cut yourself!

Cut off the top of the bottle below the rounded spot where the plastic stops curving. You don’t need the plastic cap that screws onto the spout anymore, so you can throw it away. The cutoff portion has the spout and is shaped like a bowl. Turn this upside down so the spout points down toward the bottom of the bottle. Tape the bowl-shaped cutoff to the rest of the bottle and fill the bottom with several inches of sugar water or soda. Poke a pair of holes across the top, string wire through it for easy hanging, and place it near an active wasp nest.

If you’re worried about trapping honey bees, you can put meat and a little vinegar in the bottle instead of sugar water. The meat will attract the wasps and the vinegar will keep honey bees away.

The wasps crawl through the spout to get to the sugar water at the bottom but can’t find their way out. They’ll eventually drown in the water.

If you want to reuse the trap, fill the bottle with water and leave it out for a couple of hours to kill all the wasps. Then remove the tape and wire, empty the bottle into the garbage, and put fresh bait in the bottle. Reattach the spout like before and hang it again.

Wasp Removal: The Next Level

The next question people ask when they have wasp problems is when to call the professionals. There’s always a cost-benefit analysis to consider before calling. Many people aren’t sure it’s worth it to pay someone else to do something they could do on their own. However, there are a few cases where it’s always best to call the pros no matter what.

If you’re allergic and you have a wasp problem, call the professionals. It’s not worth getting stung. The pros are very well equipped to help, no matter the situation, whether it’s a major or minor wasp problem.

If you’ve already tried everything you know how to do and the wasps are still coming back a few days after your treatments. You might have another nest you haven’t identified, or there could be another problem altogether. Professionals can help determine what the problem is and identify a few things you can do to keep pests from coming back.

Some wasps will make a nest inside the walls. Many homeowners have tried to seal the exits of these nests with disastrous results. Wasps can tunnel toward the inside of the house, bust through the walls, and end up flying around inside. Not a good thing at all. So, if you’ve got a wasp nest inside the walls, it’s time to call the pros. If you’re not sure where they are, the pros should be able to help you out.

Professional Pest Control

The next thing people ask is which company to call. Do your research. Don’t choose a company if you don’t like their values. Check their reviews and talk to people who have first-hand experience with the company, if you can.

In the Rochester area, choose Fox Pest Control. Our Pest Pros are thoroughly vetted and rigorously tested through the Fox Process.

With our Home Protection Plan that covers wasps, crawling insects, and rodents, you can call us back when problems arise — free of charge. Restore your peace of mind with our products that are family-safe, pet-friendly, and environmentally responsible. Our customers always come first, so when you call Fox, you’re joining a family that cares.

Because No Bugs is Simply Better.

Posted on May 25, 2020.

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