How can I prevent wasps?

There are a few things you can do to prevent wasps nesting in and around your home and garden. To do this, you need to understand how and why wasps choose to nest where they do.

Preventing nests

Prevention is better than cure so identifying where wasps could build their nests is a good place to start. Wasps will nest where they can find shelter from rain and dampness, favouring dry, dark and secluded places away from disruption. You could consider doing the following:

  1. Check you loft for small holes and gaps as this is the most common way wasps gain entry to loft spaces. Seal these holes and use insect mesh to cover air bricks and soffits.
  2. Adding light to small places where you may have had nests previously is an effective way to discourage future nest building as wasps do not like light. A low wattage light will do.
  3. You can treat timber with a wasp repellent mix of eucalyptus oil, menthol and cintronella oil, using teak oil as a carrier. You don’t need to saturate the timber. You can also use shop bought wood treatments such as ‘culprinol’.
  4. Inspect areas frequently. If you see nests being formed and they are smaller than a tennis ball in size, then you can vacuum them away but if you are unsure, then you can call in the services of an expert pest controller. You can also use a shop bought chemical treatment but follow the instructions carefully and use the product with care.
  5. During the winter months, you can plug holes in your garden (such as abandoned rodent holes etc) as a way of discouraging nest building.
  6. A pest control company will be able to offer you advice and guidance on preventing nests being built by wasps in and around your home and garden if you have had problems in the past. Solutions can be simple and relatively inexpensive.

Free flying wasps

Of course, simply because you have wasps in the garden doesn’t mean you have wasp nest nearby. Wasps will naturally come into your garden or home to look for food, water, nest building material etc. You can cut down the instances of ‘free flying wasps’ by following a few simple steps:

  1. Do not plane sweet smelling plants near doors and windows. These plants produce an abundance of nectar and sap which wasps are attracted to. If you plant these type of plants upwind of your home, then you are likely to get less wasp in your home.
  2. Do not plant fruit trees too close to your house; again, these trees attract wasps.
  3. Bins and exposed rubbish attract wasps so keep these away from your house and make sure bin lids fit, and that any damage or holes are sealed.
  4. Check wooden garden furniture for ‘white tramlines’ which may indicate that a queen wasp is using it to strip wood for nest building material. Treat wooden furniture with either a shop bought wood treatment product or eucalyptus/menthol/citronella mix in teak oil.
  5. You can also make home made wasp attracters and place them away from you house or outside seating area so that wasps are attracted away.
  6. Wasps traps can also be bought from a variety of shops. These traps are easy and safe to use but should be used away from where you eat food. These traps kills any wasps caught.

Wasp Traps or attractors

You can make some simple homemade wasp repellent devices; you could also invest in some shop bought wasp traps of which there are many on the market. Make sure you follow any instructions carefully. It is important you place any wasp trap away from your home so that wasps are NOT attracted toward your living area.

A simple water trap is made from cutting the top off from a 2 litre plastic bottle. Fill the container half full with water and then coat the neck of the bottle (the part you cut off) with jam. Turn this jam coated top upside down and put it back on the other half of the bottle. Hold it in place with tape. The idea is the wasps will be attracted to the sugary jam at the bottom of the ‘funnel’ and will then fall into the water, drowning. Empty the trap daily. Although simple it is not sufficient for when you have a large wasp problem but will keep wasps away from your outside eating area.

You can also do something similar by half filling an empty coffee jar with a sweet liquid. However, whichever method you use to trap wasps you need to put the device away from where you intend eating or where children play etc. The idea of these traps is to attract wasps away from high traffic areas, making them free from wasps.

If you feel you have a large number of wasps in and around your home, you need to check for wasp nest. Nests are not used year after year by wasp colonies; even though they are a nuisance, wasp nests can be a short term problem as by the end of summer, the wasps will have left the nest. Contacting a pest control company will offer you peace of mind and they will be able to rid you of any nests immediately, and relatively cheaply.

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