Wasps can be very beneficial as a whole, both to humans and nature. For example, they help regulate the population of woodlice, spiders and other insects, as they are at the top of the food chain, and they don’t really mind what their menu will contain. They pollinate plants just like bees do and they don’t even care what flowers they visit. In their search for sweets, wasps would go anywhere, which makes them excellent back-up pollinators.
However, because of their defensive nature and dangerous sting, they are not the absolute perfect housemates, especially if you have a member of your family or a flatmate with allergies. Wasps can be quite aggressive when protecting their nest and even if you don’t try to remove it on purpose, they might read your actions as an attack and defend themselves.
So if you’ve located a nest on your property and you’re wondering on how to remove it safely, this is the guide for you. Learn more about what brings all the wasps to your yard, how to keep them away and how to get rid of their nest without any danger to you or your family.
What attracts wasps to your home and how to prevent them from invading
If you do not enjoy the occasional company of a wasp colony around your property, then maybe understanding what brings them there could help you a lot. Eliminate those factors, and you will find yourself free of wasps.
Wasps usually start building their nests around in the spring when they wake up from winter hibernation. Once the nest is established, the queen starts laying the eggs and raises their first brood of daughters. In the winter, they will stop producing and fertilising eggs, and they will start looking for a place to hibernate until next spring when the cycle begins once more.
The nest itself doesn’t have to be close to a food source as wasps don’t mind travelling a bit more to get to their lunch. However, they do prefer being in proximity to weathered wood.
The nests that they build are approximately the size of a golf ball and can be found almost everywhere. You can often find them hidden in crevices, roofs, insulated walls, garages, lofts, sheds and other secret cavities. So if you see a swarm of wasps going about their business in your house or garden, check these areas for a nest.
Keep in mind that when they search for a place to hibernate in the winter, they often skip the whole nest-building procedure and just sleep wherever. However, in the winter, they are not active anyway, so there is no reason for you to try and get rid of them. It’s best to leave them be and see if they will find another place to nest that is not your house.
To be on the safe side, we recommend that you fill in all the gaps in your walls and overall the house, just to make sure that there is no way the wasps can actually get inside and build their nest.
Once the workers are mature enough, they start looking for food in order to take care of the developing future queen larvae. This food mostly consists of grubs, spiders, and other insects. Because of how their body is built, adult wasps cannot process the food, which is why they just chew it and feed it to the larvae. Once the future queens digest their food, they spit out a sweet liquid that the adult wasps can actually feast on.
So if you have a place where a lot of insects gather such as a garden or an overflowing bin, make sure to check it regularly for wasp activity. However, if you need any help in getting rid of insects in your garden, wasps can be a great exterminator.
You might have noticed that when you do a picnic or a barbeque during the spring or summer, there are a couple of wasps circling curiously around your steak and leftovers. This is because they are quite the fans of protein-based foods and are attracted to food scraps and leftover meat. However, if they come for your food, that doesn’t mean that they will attack the people, as well. They only want to eat and go home.
The diet of wasps, though quickly changes once Autumn and Winter arrive as this is the time they start preparing for hibernation. From insects and leftover meat, they turn to sweets such as fallen fruits, soda cans, juice, etc., are all wasp magnets. Make sure you don’t have any lying around by gathering your fruits as soon as they are ready to harvest and don’t leave waste outside.
Flowers and blooming trees attract wasps and other common pests to your garden for two main reasons – the nectar that they use for food and the fragrance that excites them. The latter also means that if you are wearing a sweet-scented flower perfume, you might attract some wasps with it. We understand that’s something you can’t really control especially if you want to have a lovely garden with pretty flowers. What you can do is make sure that there are no tunnels or holes that the wasps can use to make a nest in. You can also grow wasp-repelling plants like mint, thyme, lemongrass, citronella, eucalyptus or penny-royal as wasps hate their smell and would not come close to them. You can use this tactic in your home, as well, with essential oils.
How to get rid of a wasp nest safely
We recommend that you try this only if you have experience with removing active wasp nests in the past as it’s a dangerous thing if you don’t know what you’re doing or what to expect from the wasps. Keep in mind that the most important thing to a colony is their queen. Every attack such as knocking down the nest, dismantling it or aggressively spraying it will cause the wasps to attack you to protect her by using their only weapons – stings.
Still, there are a few techniques you can try to remove a wasps nest. Remember to wear protective gear such as gloves, a mask and goggles for your eyes.
Dunk the nest in water.
You have to be extremely careful with this technique as it’s quite dangerous. Use it only for hanging nests, not the ones that are in the ground. Fill a big bucket with water and place it under the nest. After that, find a big cloth bag with no holes or tears and slowly put the nest in it. Put the lid on and place something substantial over it like a brick. By morning, all the wasps should be dead and you can dispose of the nest.
Use insecticidal dust.
This method is quite useful when dealing with a ground nest, one you can find in your garden close to flowers, fruit trees and bodies of water. Apply a substantial amount of the powder on the nest and wait at least two days to check for results. Repeat if necessary.
Smoke them out.
We recommend that you try this technique only if it’s far enough from your house. You just light a fire directly under the nest and let the smoke suffocate the wasps and force them to leave. Once you are sure that there are no more of them inside, you knock it down and throw it away from your property.
Use pesticide spray.
You can find those in almost any general supermarket. Look for a pesticide that is specially made for dealing with wasps. After you’ve adequately covered yourself to avoid getting stung, spray the nest from a proper distance for around 20-30 seconds, depending on the pesticide you’re using. Check it if there is any activity on the next day and repeat if needed. You have to be sure that the whole colony is dead before you knock it down and get rid of it.
Wasps can be very beneficial to your garden and family as well as dangerous. Scrutinise the situation to decide whether removing the nest is truly the best possible option. And if you are not sure you can do it safely, don’t hesitate to call a professional pest control company to help you out in this matter.