One minute you’re mowing the lawn and the next you’re being chased across the yard by a swarm of angry wasps, intent on eliminating the threat to their home – you!
If you’re being plagued by these pesky backyard bullies, there are different ways you can rid yourself of them, and their nasty stings, and in some cases, deter them from building their homes in the first place!
As the adage goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
An even better option to dealing with wasps nests is preventing them from being built in your yard to begin with!
Wasps will naturally build near foods sources, so eliminate anything that would attract them such as food.
- ⬥ Don’t leave any food lying around (including your pets’ food).
- ⬥ When outside, keep drinks covered and make sure trash can lids are sealed tightly.
- ⬥ Keep rotting fruit from under your trees, shrubs and in your garden picked up to prevent attracting wasps.
But in the event that you already have them, here’s how to eradicate wasps if they’ve found a home in your yard.
Find and destroy their nest(s)
It is common for wasps to build their nests in bushes or shrubs that provide protection from the elements. This results in the area around the bush becoming off-limits, as wasps defend their nests vigorously if they sense danger to them.
Wasps can be eliminated in bushes by using pyrethrin, a natural chemical that is extracted from pyrethrin daisies. It is a fast-acting, less toxic pesticide that does not harm plants
To use the pyrethrin, mix 3 to 5 tablespoons of concentrate with a gallon of water inside a pesticide sprayer. Alternatively, you can choose a pre-mixed spray.
Begin by inspecting the bushes to locate the nest. The best time to do this is in early spring, before they’ve completed their nests. This is important, as the spray must hit their nest to be effective.
Spray the wasps either early in the morning or late at night when temperatures are cool and most of the foraging wasps have returned to the nest.
To help you see where you’re spraying, place a lamp on the ground to the side of the nest or behind it. You don’t want to use a flashlight as it will provoke the wasps to attack.
Protect yourself by wearing thick clothing including long sleeves, heavy duty pants, gloves, a hat, and some kind of eye protection such as a bee veil or protective goggles.
With your back to the wind stand 12 to 15 feet away from the nest and spray the nest directly, focusing on the entrance. Spray until the nest is completely saturated.
After 24 hours, check the nest for any signs of activity. Spray again if needed.
Note: don’t use this spray if the bushes are near a body of water as it is toxic to fish.
For nests found in the ground use soapy water (preferably hot) poured into the hole, then covered with a heavy rock or some dirt. Some people even use WD-40 or paint, however these are not the most environmentally friendly options.
Note: Make sure you locate and cover the “back door” that wasps always have, to prevent their escape.
Another option for getting rid of wasps is to use a commercially available wasp and hornet spray. Most of these sprays are able to be used standing as far as 27 feet away from the nest, which is important to avoid stings.
Simply follow the directions on the can, taking care to avoid spraying in windy conditions.
If you’re dealing with a nest that’s hanging from a tree, cover it with a trash bag and seal it shut. Cut the nest down and let it sit in the sun or stick it in the freezer to kill the wasps inside.
When to call in a professional
Call in a professional if you’re allergic to wasp stings, if you’re dealing with a large nest or if you’re having difficulty locating the nest.