Summer is here in the garden, and with it a lot of great things, and a few that really can ruin a summer day. Among them, wasps. Nothing will haul the best backyard bbq to a halt faster than a football hitting a wasp nest, sending every human on the block running for the indoors. The best way to prevent wasp stings and the nuisance that they cause is to take preventative action in controlling them. We did some research and found out some good information to help you create DIY wasp solutions for your garden. As usual, we try to use the least amount of insecticides first, preferring to use natural methods of control. But when it comes to wasps, sometimes you just have to get serious. We won’t judge, promise. In any case, we have some tips, and a variety of solutions to choose from.

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Wasp Control Tips

  • First, wasps aren’t inherently bad. Like bees, they pollinate and contribute to our environment in a positive way. As long as they are FAR away from people, that is. Wasps are bad around people, simple as that. They are aggressive, and many people are allergic to their stings. And anyone stung multiple times can need medical attention. So wasps need to be controlled in the garden.
  • Bees are not wasps. Bees also sting, but rarely. They are not aggressive unless provoked, and our gardens would be nothing without them. I regularly garden in among bees, and have not been stung in 30 years. (Knock on wood!) Know the difference, and don’t kill bees. Period. The photo below is a bee, compare it to the one above and you will see distinct differences.

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  • Eliminating wasp nests before they get large is the key to control. Start looking in the spring, and keep looking every few days. They love horizontal surfaces, usually under something. Roof eaves, bbq’s, and even the underside of benches are prime spots.
  • Late summer wasps and yellow jackets get more aggressive around food, and you may have to take further steps even if you have no active nests in your yard. Traps can be effective in keeping the numbers under control. Remember, place the trap AWAY from where you gather, you don’t want to lure them right into your midst! A good bait recipe is one cup of vinegar, and 4 tablespoons each salt and sugar…seems to attract more wasps and few beneficial bees.

 

Wasp Control DIY

Gina at Kleinworth & Co. has the prettiest DIY wasp trap I’ve ever seen! Made from a recycled plastic creamer bottle, the tutorial is easy to follow. And you don’t see the dead wasps either! Love it!

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From ‘Chox TheMuse‘, this idea is a little bit of pure genius. Make fake wasp nests from paper bags, and hang them in your eaves where wasps like to nest. Apparently, wasps don’t like to build nests near other wasp nests, so they leave the area alone. Check out herΒ youtube channel.

 

This DIY soda bottle wasp trap is the most repined one on Pinterest, but I tracked down the original blogger… ‘Prairie Story’ tells you step by step how to make this easy trap. One tip I’ve picked up in my research though…if you add vinegar to your bait, it won’t attract as many bees…remember, the bees are not our target!

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If you need a little clarification on that soda bottle trap, ‘Casa Sugar’ has a graphic that breaks it down pretty well. Apparently, this can also be used for flies.

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From ‘Garden Therapy’ (if you haven’t been to her site, go!) this simple DIY wasp trap has a little different way of going about it, but what I like about it is that she made is attractive. Make it in 15 minutes!

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P. Allen Smith (the garden expert!) has a great video on YouTube on how to repel wasps with simple, harmless ingredients…one being simple peppermint oil. (Not mint oil, must be peppermint!)

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From ‘Warsztat Mamy’, this easy and natural solution should repel wasps from the picnic table!

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And always remember the old standby… aerosol hairspray will drop any bug in it’s tracks! And yes, we do use insecticide based wasp spray in our yard when we need to… Enjoy that garden, wasp free!

Image Credits: Chox TheMuse, Kleinworth and Co, Prairie Story, Casa Sugar, Garden Therapy, You Tube

 



29 Comments

  1. Gina June 12, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Thank you!! This is great – those wasps sure are pesky this time of year. Love all the info you included.

    Reply
    1. Kathy Woodard June 23, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Thx Gina! Love your DIY wasp trap project, thanks for letting us include it!

      Reply
  2. Jazzy Freeman January 17, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    I have a neighbor who loves to irrate me. They planted geraniums next to my mail box knowing that my son was allergic to bees. I searched and searched on the internet on how to get rid of bees. I went to the nurseries looking for ways to get rid of the bees. They told me that it was illegal to kill bees as they were on the endangered species list here in Calif. I finnally found a website that also told me about cloves. All I needed to do was throw a handful of cloves in the bushes and the bees will disappear. They did and no more bees around the mail box. I was amazed.

    Reply
    1. Kathy Woodard January 22, 2015 at 8:39 am

      I like the idea of repelling bees, since there are situations like yours where its necessary, but I support not killing bees! They may seem like nuisance but the agriculture of the world, and therefore food supply would collapse without them, hence the laws protecting them! Has anyone else tried cloves to repel bees?

      Reply
    2. Paige May 5, 2015 at 8:23 am

      This is the most genius idea! “Throw cloves in the bushes” & the bees won’t come around! I HATE to see them in the makeshift killer bottles all bundled up dead…we NEED THE BEES! Not to be stung by them, no. But they have to be around to pollinate our flowers & vegetables. They really are our livelihood. Bravo on this idea! Just throw some cloves in the bushes!!

      Reply
    3. Ana May 6, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      I am going to try this .

      Reply
    4. Karrie April 22, 2016 at 5:41 pm

      Does it work for hornets and wasps??

      Reply
      1. Kathy Woodard May 3, 2016 at 4:12 pm

        Has anyone tried it with hornets? We only have wasps where we r!

        Reply
  3. Brittney Oneal March 17, 2015 at 11:36 am

    I have a question i dont have any vinegar on hand at the moment and cant make it out the front door due to the army of wasps can i sub pickle juice?

    Reply
  4. Richard Piddocke April 7, 2015 at 3:41 am

    Delighted at your remark that wasps are beneficial insects (as well as being very annoying) – as well as pollinating they also are wonderful natural pest controllers, killing aphids, caterpillars and house flies.

    Your paper bag repellent is brilliant and does work – we make fake wasps nests which last a couple of seasons and have a striation design which makes them work even better!

    Reply
    1. Vee August 7, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Ditto! I was a skeptic about the paper bag solution, but tried it and it does work. We have had far fewer wasps this year than ever, but you really need to get it out early in the spring before they establish their nests.

      Reply
  5. Dania June 15, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Brilliant ideas with the solution to control wasps in the garden. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  6. Lori June 18, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    I make a spray from tung oil, clove oil and peppermint oil and spray my teak furniture each spring. Preserves the wood and keeps the wasps from eating the wood to make their nests. they stay far away from the patio once they get a good whiff!

    Reply
  7. Jim Gillen July 8, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I was looking for a SHARE button.

    Reply
    1. Kathy Woodard July 14, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      Sorry Jim, we had some server issues recently and our Share button was offline for a few days! Hopefully you can Share now!

      Reply
  8. Linda Conlon July 31, 2015 at 6:40 am

    excellent ideas….never thought of using a paper bag….makes perfect sense….must try it….

    Reply
  9. Gordon March 19, 2016 at 3:40 am

    A couple of things about wasp stings if I may. 1) Wasps perform a beneficial service to humans by preying on potential pests, including the venomous black widow spider. 2) A drop of household bleach on any wasp sting will almost instantaneously end the pain of a sting. Also works for bee, hornets and scorpion stings. Anything with a fallopian tube as a stinger mechanism. The venom is a complicated chemical cocktail which contains enzymes and proteins as well as other things, and a couple drops of bleach will neutralize the effects of the sting if applied right away. During warm months I carry a small bottle of bleach in my tool kit just for this reason. Finally, bleach will do nothing for an allergic reaction; antihistamine solutions are usually required for those persons allergic to bee and wasp stings. If a wasp or bee nest if not in an area where human or pet contact is immanent I would suggest leaving it alone. They are here for a reason.

    Reply
    1. April July 27, 2016 at 11:38 am

      Too bad your advice doesn’t help some of us. I’m allergic to bees and wasps. I do have an epipen. But it sux to have to use it. Bleach is another allergy however, so that doesn’t help me. Any other ideas?

      Reply
      1. Kathy Woodard September 8, 2016 at 12:26 pm

        Unfortunately, there is no way to eliminate something from nature when you re outdoors… I would suggest planting only foliage plants to keep down the bees, and I understand if you have the eaves of your house professionally sprayed, it can help deter the wasps…

        Reply
      2. Janet morris December 26, 2016 at 6:33 am

        I use soda and vinegar paste on a sting to help stop pain and swelling. Does not stop the allergic reaction. My husband is allergic, but he picks in the garden with the bees and wasps. I’m going to try a spray with cloves to work around the farm. A few years ago the fire ants killed most of the honey bees in this area and the wasps were pollinating our plants. Not as good a crop but the fruit still grew.

        Reply
      3. KomodoDragon February 12, 2017 at 6:16 pm

        Bathe with soap that uses cloves and other repelling essential oils. You may need to find a natural/organic ingredient soap maker that can make them to your desired strength. It can be mixed up with lemon balm or teas to spice up the scent in the cologne direction unless smelling like a baked pastry is okay with you. Candles as well can be made with the ingredients that will deter wasps, hornets, flies, mosquitoes. The list is endless. Anyways, good luck and hopefully those that are allergic find this as a means to avoid launching the epi.

        Reply
  10. Jim Ferguson April 26, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Not all wasps that look like yellowjackets are aggressive. The European Paper Wasp, Polistes Dominicula, now has a wide-spread distribution in the US as well as much of the rest of the world. I discovered these in my backyard in CA based on the form of the nest and a dead one I found on the ground under the nest. We get 1-3 small nests, usually less than 8″ in diameter every year under our eaves around our patio, generally away from the heavily used areas. We’ve never been bothered by them when eating outside and as long as you steer clear of the nest, they leave you alone, doing their business of eating other insects, including aphids and mosquitos. I view them as a welcome guest. Info on identification can be found here: http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/FS152E/FS152E.pdf

    Reply
  11. Judy May 1, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    I was informed the bees are in my attic. I have been gone all winter. Question would a bee keeper come out and get them? If not how much cloves and where could I put them as to not hurt the bees? Would that even work?

    Reply
  12. Silas Knight August 16, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Getting stung by wasps is the worst. I am allergic to their stings, so I avoid wasps and bees like the plaque. I will definitely have to try hanging paper bags up around my home and see if that keeps them away!

    Reply
  13. Donna August 19, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    We find that when we put our hummingbird feeders out that sometimes they have to fight off wasps to get to their food- so i do have the glass traps that I put a distance away from the feeders- I usually use the same solution as the one I feed hummingbirds with- but this vinegar one you showed seems better so I don’t get the bees by mistake- (cheaper too since I use the sugar/water in both. I also think the plastic bottles are a better design than the “pretty” glass ones I bought because then I can just toss them- it’s hard to fill the glass ones and then I have to deal with the “corpses” to re-fill the solution. Smaller plastic water bottles might be easier to hide among the flower beds too.

    Reply
  14. Violeta October 17, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Dont kill them!! We really need them alive!! What is wrong with you people? Why dont you help, rehab, take care of nature instead triying and looking for a way to kill and destroy?

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth F Zanzola April 15, 2017 at 10:30 am

      I agree with you 100%.
      We need them

      Reply
  15. Carol S May 9, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    I am looking for an organic wasp killer that wont harm or kill bees….. Any ideas??????

    Reply

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