Wasps can be aggressive if you disturb their nest. They can also be annoying when you’re trying to enjoy a drink on the patio. But many wasps play an important role in our gardens, like insect pest control and pollination. Here are some natural ways to reduce wasp encounters while letting them continue their important work in our yards.
Remove food sources
In spring and early summer, wasps are attracted to foods that contain protein. Remove any foods left outdoors and keep garbage and compost bins covered.
In late summer, wasps become more aggressive and interested in sweet foods. Cover drinks and avoid walking barefoot near fruit trees. Remove any fallen fruit rotting on the ground. Use native plants instead of hummingbird feeders to attract hummingbirds.
Repel them naturally
Spraying a blend of essential oils (including peppermint, clove, geranium, or lemongrass) and water on surfaces outside your home including under eaves, porch roofs, and other ledges and crevices, may prevent wasps from building nests in those locations. Pots of spearmint, thyme, marigolds, and citronella around outdoor seating areas may also help.
Seal entry points
Keep wasps out of your home by patching up torn screens and cracks around windows and door frames. Check siding for gaps where powerlines and cables enter your home.
When some wasps are swatted or squashed, they release a distress pheromone that attracts nearby wasps. It’s best to walk away from a hovering wasp.
Photo of great golden digger wasp by Melissa Creasey