7 Tips on Wasp Pest Control – Wasps are a common nuisance that can afflict people almost anywhere they live. So what do you do about them? The answer to that question depends on a few factors.
Let me lay out for you a few things to take into consideration to guide you to the answer.
There are wasps, and then there are wasps. There are thousands of different kinds of wasps. Some are most beneficial, some have almost no redeeming qualities. You don’t need to be an expert though to distinguish between the broad types.
7 Tips on Wasp Pest Control – Here’s a quick run-through of common wasp types:
These are the ones that make small paper nests on your eaves. Typically each nest will have from a couple to as many as 75 wasps on it. They can be intimidating but are not aggressive.
Depending on the region these may also be known as “bald-faced hornets” or “European wasps,” which are most commonly encountered when you’re trying to enjoy a picnic or barbecue and they insist on trying to steal your food.
They live in a nest of tens-of-thousands either underground or a large paper nest in an elevated semi-enclosed location. They will defend their nest even more aggressively than bees.
These wasps are often not the typical yellow-and-black but all black or dark green. They are very non-aggressive but the mud nests they make on walls can be very unsightly.
Honeybees are not wasps but sometimes mistaken for them. If honeybees are visiting flowers in your garden there’s very little anyone can do to discourage them short of removing the flowers.
If a large number of bees has moved into somewhere on your property that makes you nervous then you may want to call the local beekeeping association before trying pest controllers.
Most wasps, including umbrella wasps and mud daubers, are actually very non-aggressive. They look intimidating but are unlikely to sting you if you leave them alone.
Both types, and most wasps, in fact, are beneficial in that they primarily feed on the things that are a pest in your garden — aphids, caterpillars, and spiders.
If you can bear to leave them alone, I recommend it, though it’s understandable that they look intimidating and their nests can be unsightly.
On the flip side, sometimes umbrella wasps make their nests by a front door, or a yellow jacket nest might be in the ground or in a tree where children might disturb them. In either case you or a guest may be stung.
Yellowjackets will defend the immediate area of their nest extremely aggressively and there’s many a sad story of children accidentally putting their foot in a nest.
Wasp venom is not the same as bee venom but it’s very similar, and in either case, the general reaction is allergic, with 2% of the population liable to an extreme allergic reaction. In the case of wasps posing imminent danger to others, you should probably have them removed.
Generally speaking, you can take care of umbrella wasps and mud daubers yourself, but self-treatment of yellowjackets isn’t recommended.
Over-the-counter wasp sprays available at most hardware stores are basically as effective as what a pest controller would use on your umbrella wasps. Spray cans are available with a 20-foot range so you can shoot wasps off a second-floor eave from ground level.
Wasp sprays aren’t terribly bad for people but you don’t want a face-full of it so wear goggles and be mindful of it coming back down on you — stand slightly upwind if you can.
Also, wasp spray tends to be highly poisonous to fish, so make sure none falls into a water feature with fish in it. Then use a rake or long-handled shovel to knock the nests off.
Because they will defend their nest very aggressively, destroying their nest shouldn’t be attempted unless you happen to have full beekeeping coveralls with no rips or tears.
If you absolutely insist, there are some poison powders you can put in their entrance which will slowly kill the colony. Some pest controllers may only do that themselves, though it’s better if they’ll dig out the nest to ensure it is dead and gone.
For purposes of keeping yellowjackets from bothering your outdoor dining, there are a variety of effective wasp traps. Because wasp traps attract wasps, you want to hang them nearby but not too close to where you intend to be.
These will catch roving wasps and if placed effectively can significantly reduce the number that comes to your table, but it’s unlikely they will lead to the nest itself failing.
You must resist the common temptation to squirt them with the hose. This will anger the wasps without eliminating the problem. Even if you knock off the nest with the hose, the wasps will just start over.
Also do not attempt to kill subterranean wasps by filling their burrow with gasoline or anything foolish like that — while it will probably kill the wasps, it’s all too likely to result in your own serious injury.
The answer is unfortunately probably not. There’s no way pest controllers or yourself can make a location permanently undesirable to wasps. If you kill all the umbrella wasps on your eaves, there’s really no way to stop new umbrella wasps from coming the next week.
If you manage to kill all the yellowjacket nests on your property, well you’re probably good until the next year but then there’s a fair chance new colonies will be established in the same area.
I hope this has been useful to you. As you’ve seen, sometimes they can be taken care of by oneself, sometimes it requires a professional, and often it may be easier just to try to live with them.