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Dealing with a wasp infestation can be a daunting and potentially dangerous situation for homeowners. With their unsightly nests and painful stings, wasps can transform a peaceful environment into a buzzing nightmare. In this guide, we’ll explore how to get rid of wasps, from simple do-it-yourself (DIY) methods to professional pest control.
Wasps belong to the same insect suborder as ants and bees. All wasps have smooth, slender bodies, long antennae, and two pairs of wings. They typically have stingers and an aggressive temperament. Although some of these stinging insects feed on nectar, most are either predatory or parasitic. Wasps are attracted to areas rich in food, such as fruit trees, garbage cans, and sugary substances.
Unlike bees and ants, most wasps are solitary insects that build isolated nests. However, a few species of wasp have a caste system with queens, a few male drones, and sterile female workers. These social species include hornets and yellowjackets—two of the most aggressive types of wasps. In early spring, fertilized wasp queens scout for safe nesting sites, which serve as their homes and as incubators for their young.
Wasp nests are made from chewed plant material mixed with saliva and are known for their vertical cells and paperlike material. Each cell of a newly built nest will contain an egg and paralyzed prey for the larvae to feed on when they hatch. You will often see wasp nests hanging in protected places, such as under eaves or in tree trunks, wall voids, or crevices. Some wasps, such as mud daubers, will build nests in places like garages. Many solitary wasps nest underground or lay their eggs in the nest of other wasps or bees.
DIY Methods to Get Rid of Wasps
If you prefer an all-natural or DIY approach, here are some home remedies for dealing with a wasp infestation.
DIY Wasp Traps
Make a DIY wasp trap with a 2-liter soda bottle, a few tablespoons of dish soap, and sugar water. Cut off the top of the bottle and invert it into the base to create a funnel-like entrance. Fill the base with a mixture of water, dish soap, and something sweet, such as fruit juice, jam, or sugar.
Place the trap in an area where you have recently observed wasps. The sweet bait will lure wasps in, while the funnel and soapy water prevent their escape. To avoid killing honeybees, do not use honey as your sweetener.
Certain essential oils can serve as natural wasp deterrents. These include:
- Fennel seed
- Roman chamomile
- Ylang ylang
Peppermint oil is a popular choice, but a mixture of clove, geranium, lemongrass, and rosemary is particularly effective against yellowjackets and paper wasps. Mix the essential oils with water in a spray bottle. Apply the repellent spray to places where wasps might nest or seek entry. Reapply regularly, especially after rainfall, to keep the scent fresh.
Make your property less attractive to wasps by crossing the following tasks off your to-do list:
- Clean up yard debris, fallen fruit, and food scraps.
- Trim landscaping away from the house.
- Empty and clean outdoor garbage cans regularly.
The goal is to remove food sources and potential nesting sites. When eating outdoors, keep food and beverages covered and clean any spills or leftovers immediately. Use trash cans with self-closing or tight-fitting lids.
Sealing Nesting Points
Inspect your property for holes, gaps in the eaves, or cracks in the walls. Use caulk or another sealant to fill these entry points. This will prevent wasps from accessing these spaces.
Commercial Products and How to Use Them
Premade wasp traps and pesticides are available in most hardware and grocery stores. These commercial products are specifically designed for wasp control.
Commercial Wasp Traps
Wasp traps use an attractant, such as pheromones or sweet bait, to lure wasps inside. Place the traps in areas where wasp activity is high, such as near trash cans, outdoor dining areas, or known nesting sites. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding trap placement and bait replacement. Monitor the traps and empty them when necessary.
Wasp spray are specially formulated insecticides designed to kill wasps on contact. They provide a direct and immediate solution to eliminate individual wasps or active nests. Just be sure to read and follow the directions carefully.
Ideally, you should wear protective clothing—such as long sleeves, pants, gloves, and goggles—while applying wasp spray to prevent wasp stings and exposure to the spray. If treating a nest, apply the spray in the evening or early morning when wasps are less active and more likely to be in their nests. Aim the spray directly at the target from a safe distance away.
When to Call a Professional
For large wasp colonies, hornet nests, or persistent infestations, consider calling a professional exterminator. Investing in pest control is especially wise if you have allergies or are dealing with an aggressive species, such as bald-faced hornets or yellowjackets. Pest control experts have specialized tools, products, and services for wasp removal—plus long-term solutions to prevent future infestations and provide peace of mind.
Letting professionals handle your wasp problem is the quickest and most effective solution. It is also the safest way to prevent allergic reactions and new nests without disturbing helpful pollinators. In less severe cases, wasp traps, natural repellents, proper home maintenance, and commercial sprays can also work well.
Don’t let wasps take over your home and outdoor areas. Whether you choose the DIY route or seek professional help, prompt action will ensure a wasp-free environment that is a safer and more enjoyable space for you and your family.
What can keep wasps away?
The following actions can keep wasps away:Spraying a natural repellent, such as peppermint oilCleaning up food scraps and spills promptlyUsing trash cans with a tight-fitting lidEmptying outdoor trash cans regularlyTrimming vegetation away from your houseSealing entry pointsSetting wasp traps
What smell do wasps hate?
Wasps hate the smell of several essential oils, including mint, clove, geranium, lemongrass, and rosemary.
What is the best way to get rid of wasps?
The best way to get rid of wasps is to hire a pest control company. A professional exterminator will be able to safely remove wasp nests and apply the appropriate pesticides. However, homemade wasp traps and sprays can also be effective for eliminating individual wasps and small infestations.
How We Chose the Top Pest Control Companies
Our pest control research process starts with analyzing customer reviews on third-party websites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, and Google Reviews. We then do a deep dive into each company’s website, service plans, and available cost information. We also secret shop the companies we review, reach out to representatives, and request quotes.
From there, we compile the information we’ve gathered and compare each company using our in-depth pest control methodology and review criteria. This process uses a series of factors that are important to our readers, and we score each company depending on how well they perform in each factor. For instance, companies that offer more guarantees for their service earned more points than others, and pest control plans with a larger range of covered pests earned more points than ones with fewer.
After analyzing dozens of residential and commercial pest control businesses through this process, we were able to determine the best pest control companies on the market.