It’s summer, which means butterflies, bees and wasps are out and about. Wasps can be scary, especially for those who know what it feels like to be stung by one. In fact, we don’t know many people who actually enjoy being around wasps.
These frightful and stinging insects have a reputation for being aggressive, and unlike bees they can sting multiple times without losing their stinger or dying.
Still, wasps do play their part in our ecosystem and are an important insect worth learning more about. That said, no one really wants to invite wasps or wasps nests to their property. Today, we want to help you learn more about wasps, how to get rid of wasps, and talk about different methods you can do to prevent and repel them in the future.
What Are Wasps?
Wasps are flying insects that belong in the order of Hymenoptera.
Common almost everywhere on earth, wasps are a generalized name for flying insects that belong in the order of Hymenoptera. As of today, there are nearly 110,000 wasp species throughout the world. That said, scientists believe there may be upwards of nearly 100,000 species of new wasps we have yet to discover.
Though commonly feared by many people, wasps are actually beneficial insects that play a variety of roles in a healthy ecosystem. Depending on their species, wasps can be pollinators, natural pest control agents, and even helpful decomposers.
While there are a large variety of wasp species living throughout the world, the most common wasps considered to be pests or nuisances to humans in the US are Yellow Jackets, Hornets, Mud Daubers, and Paper Wasps.
All of these wasps can sting if they feel threatened and all of these wasps are common throughout the United States.
Regardless of which wasp above you are dealing with, most wasps generally prefer warmer weather and are most active during summer and into early fall. Wasps are also most active throughout the day and spend their time buzzing around gardens and fields.
That said, specific species of wasps may require specific treatments or repellents. In order to understand how to get rid of wasps, you should first try to identify the type of wasps you are dealing with.
How To Identify A Wasp Problem
Different wasps have different habits. Some, like the paper wasps above, build their nests beneath eaves or on trees.
As we mentioned above, there are four common wasp species you are most likely to encounter here in the United States. These wasps include:
Yellow jackets are easy to identify by their yellow and black bodies.
Yellow Jackets are one of the most common wasps encountered by people in North America. While they can be found throughout the world, they generally inhabit the Southeast. They build nests both inside and outside and their nests may be hanging or even built below ground.
Yellow jackets are known for their yellow and black bodies and grow to be between 3/8ths and 5/8ths of an inch in length.
Hornets are the largest of the wasp species.
All hornets are wasps but not all wasps are hornets. Confused yet? Don’t be. Basically, a hornet is just a fancy name for one of the largest species of wasps in the world. The average size of a hornet is around 1.25 inches, though some can grow to be much larger, (here’s to you, Murder Hornets).
Hornets are social wasps and while their sting is infamously painful, most hornets do not sting unless provoked. They often build their nests hanging in trees, on the sides of buildings, and along other sturdy structures.
Hornets are a common species of wasp found throughout the United States. They are generally black with yellow, white or orange markings.
Paper wasps are often confused for yellow jackets, though they are different colors.
Often mistaken for yellow jackets, paper wasps can be identified by their brownish-black bodies and red or yellow markings or stripes. They are common throughout North America and build their nests in a multitude of locations including along home sidings, beneath eaves, on trees or plants, or on low hanging structures near the ground.
They grow to be around 3/4ths to 1 inch in length and are named for their nests, which they build with paper-like material made from their saliva. Paper wasps are not considered aggressive and will only sting if they are provoked or feel their nest or colony is in danger.
Though Mud Dauber wasps are frightful looking, they are generally docile and solitary insects.
Mud Daubers are perhaps the most formidable looking of wasps. They have thin, black bodies and pointed abdomens. Though native to North America, Mud Daubers can now be found throughout most of the world.
These wasps are around ½ to 1 inch long, with thin, brown wings.
They are a solitary species of wasp that do not live in colonies and do not build large nests. In fact, they build small nests in mud, which often resemble small pods that are stuck to the sides of buildings or other structures. These wasps do not swarm or attack and, in spite of their frightful appearance, will not generally sting unless they are provoked.
The below video talks more about how to identify wasps and how to get rid of wasps in and around your home.
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So, while we now know that wasps aren’t all bad news, we’re sure you’re not exactly thrilled to have diagnosed a wasp infestation on your property. But before we discuss how to get rid of wasps, let’s go over why you might have wasps in the first place.
What Has Attracted Wasps To Your Home or Yard?
Like all pests, wasps are attracted to food, water, and a good place to build their nests.
Like most insects, wasps are attracted to areas that offer them shelter, water and food. Many types of common wasps are omnivores, meaning they feed on plants, organic matter, and protein sources.
Most wasps are highly attracted to sugary foods and common human foods like syrups, soda, candies, and fruit. However, some species of wasps commonly eat other dead insects.
Wasps can also be attracted to:
- Unsealed Garbage Bins
- Picnic Areas
- Eaves and Sidings Ideal For Building Nests
- Sugary Foods
- Tall Grass
- And Areas Rich With Insect Activity
Once social wasps build their nests, they will usually reside there and procreate through the summer and into fall. When the weather gets cold the colony will die out and the nest will become abandoned. There are many people who believe that wasps reuse old nests when they return in the spring and summer, but this is not accurate.
How To Get Rid Of Wasps – Most Popular Methods
If you notice the beginnings of a wasp nest like the one above, it’s time to look into how to get rid of wasps.
While wasps can be beneficial, they can also be dangerous, especially for those who have allergies to the venom in their sting. While most people and pets stung by wasps will only experience pain and mild itching, swelling, or discomfort, others can experience a serious allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis that requires immediate medical attention.
Still, even if you’re not allergic to wasps, we’re sure you don’t want to get stung. With that in mind, let’s go over the most common methods you can use for how to get rid of wasps.
How To Get Rid Of Wasps Using Natural Methods
Wasps are generally sensitive insects who prefer specific regions and areas to build their nests and look for food. This comes in handy for anyone looking for how to get rid of wasps using natural, organic methods.
Some of the best natural methods for how to get rid of wasps include the use of natural sprays, traps and even flying insect zappers.
How To Get Rid Of Wasps Using Home Remedies
Along with using natural or organic pest control methods for how to get rid of wasps, you can also take pest control into your own hands with do it yourself pest control remedies.
There are plenty of household ingredients you can use to get rid of the wasps plaguing you from dishwashing soap to essential oils. We will go over some creative and useful methods you can use for do it yourself pest control below.
How To Get Rid Of Wasps Using Insecticides
Very large wasp infestations may require the use of insecticides. Insecticides can be useful to protect yourself and your family from wasps because they often work quickly and kill wasps on contact.
That said, insecticides also often use harsh chemical ingredients that can be dangerous to people, pets and the environment and must always be used as directed.
How To Get Rid Of Wasps Using Professionals
For anyone with a serious allergy to stinging insects, getting rid of wasps can be more than scary – it can be downright dangerous. Furthermore, a very large wasp infestation on your property could be an indication of other pest issues like a large amount of insects that adult wasps prey on.
We will go over when it is best to contact professionals for how to get rid of wasps further down, but before we do let’s talk about some of our favorite natural products you can use for how to get rid of wasps naturally.
How To Get Rid Of Wasps Using Natural Methods
Using natural products to get rid of wasps is usually safest for people, pets and the environment.
We are fans of natural and organic pest control products for how to get rid of wasps because they often work without the use of harsh chemicals or poisons. This means that natural insect sprays and repellents are generally safer for people, pets and the environment.
Still, natural sprays sometimes may not work as effectively as other, more intensive treatments like insecticides and poisons, though some can work quite well when used as directed and applied correctly.
Let’s take a look at some of the best natural products you can use for how to get rid of wasps below.
Wuhostam Plastic Wasp Traps
The above wasp traps are great for those of you looking for a natural way to monitor and control the wasps on your property. They are small, discrete, and offer you the option of using your own bait to lure the wasps in.
These traps can be used with sugar and water, apple juice, soda, or other sugary substances that are both effective and harmless for people, pets and the environment. Of course, these traps will not help you when working on how to get rid of wasps and will instead offer you a form of management and control as you use other methods.
Wondercide Indoor Pest Control Spray
If you’re wondering how to get rid of wasps in your home, we recommend taking a look at the above natural pest spray by Wondercide. The product works on a number of flying insects like mosquitoes, wasps, flies, midges, fleas, and even bed bugs.
Best of all, it is safe and natural for people and pets. This product can be used to spray directly on wasps who invade your home or used as a preventative to keep wasps from coming around.
Wondercide Outdoor Pest Control Concentrate
A perimeter spray that will work well for how to get rid of wasps outdoors and keep them from building their nests on or near your property is another Wondercide product. The above product is an outdoor concentrate that includes a wand for easy application.
This product can be sprayed in your yard, garden, and along your home’s siding. It is non toxic and even safe enough to use on playgrounds, tree houses and swing sets where children play and wasps may try and build their nests.
EcoSmart Organic Wasp Aerosol Spray
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If you are looking for a completely organic spray product for how to get rid of wasps naturally, you’ll probably like EcoSmart wasp spray. This product works similarly to insecticide sprays, using a jet spray aerosol and ingredients that kill wasps and hornets on contact.
The ingredients are 100% organic and safe for people, pets and the environment. However, experts do warn against spraying this wasp spray directly on garden plants, and rinsing plants off or hosing them down if they do get sprayed with this product.
Mighty Mint Peppermint Spray
Since wasps are repelled by peppermint, a spray like Mighty Mint can work well as a natural deterrent for how to get rid of wasps and hornets both inside and out. The spray can also help get rid of spiders, ants, mosquitoes, and other insects that bite and sting.
This product is safe for people, pets and the environment and can be used both indoors and outdoors to protect your home from wasps, hornets, and more.
EcoSmart Organic Home Pest Control Outdoor Barrier Spray
We’ll close out our list of how to get rid of wasps using natural products with another EcoSmart spray for outdoors. This product is designed to create a barrier and thus act as a preventative for pests like wasps, spiders, mosquitoes, roaches, and ticks.
The organic and active ingredients include clove oil, rosemary oil, and other safe ingredients that work well without being toxic. Best of all, it is organic and safe for people, pets and the environment. It also includes a spray wand and nozzle to make application easier.
How To Get Rid Of Wasps Using Home Remedies
Peppermint is a natural repellent for wasps and other insects.
If you would prefer to learn how to get rid of wasps using home remedies, this section is for you. There are plenty of household ingredients you can use against wasps and other insects as a form of both organic pest control as well as just convenience.
Let’s take a look at how to get rid of wasps using home remedies:
- Peppermint Oil
- Cedar Oil
- Clove Oil
- Geranium Oil
- Lemon Oil
The above essential oils can work together or separately to repel wasps and wasp nests from forming around your home. For how to get rid of wasps using an essential oil spray repellent, you can mix between 5 to 10 drops of any of the above oils of your choice in two cups of water. Mix the solution in a spray bottle and spray it around your home, focusing especially on eaves, gutters, and around garbage bins.
Dish Soap And Water Spray
Dish soap is commonly used in conjunction with water to stop a number of flying pests in their tracks. Making your own soap and water spray is especially helpful when dealing with wasps because it coats their bodies and wings and makes it difficult for them to fly, thus making it nearly impossible for them to attack and sting you.
In order to make your own dish soap and water spray, simply mix several drops of liquid dish soap into two cups of water and add it to a spray bottle. You can spray wasps directly with this mixture to kill them instantly or use this spray to protect yourself from wasps when out and about in the garden.
DIY Wasp Traps
If your yard is consistently plagued by wasps during the summer, you may consider making some of your own wasp traps. These traps are easy to design as all you need is a 2 litre soda bottle, some duct tape and something sugary.
Cut the bottle in half and flip the side with the lid upside down, placing it back into the base so it is inverted. Then tape the bottle together. This allows for the wasps to get into the bottle but makes it impossible for them to get back out again.
You can either add a combination of sugar and water to the inside of the bottle to lure the wasps or you can leave about an inch of soda from the soda bottle inside. Then just toss the traps as needed and replace them.
How To Get Rid Of Wasps Using Insecticides
Wasp infestations can easily get out of control and may require the use of insecticide treatments.
Sometimes very large wasp infestations require more intensive treatments, including the use of insecticides. For how to get rid of wasps using insecticides, we recommend finding an insecticide that is specifically made to kill and control flying and stinging insects like wasps.
We also recommend an insecticide with a repellent that will help keep future wasps from returning. Some of the best insecticides recommended by experts for how to get rid of wasps are listed below.
Spectracide Wasp and Hornet Killer
Spectracide is a popular brand used for multiple pests both inside and outside the home. The above aerosol spray is specifically designed to help you figure out how to get rid of wasps and hornets. It is for outdoor use only and has a jet spray that reaches up to 20 feet, making targeting and eliminating wasps easier and safer.
This product can eliminate the whole nest and keep killing and repelling returning wasps and hornets for up to four weeks.
However, this product does contain a chemical toxin that can be harmful to people, pets and the environment so it should be used only as directed and kept out of reach of children.
Ortho Home Defense Hornet Spray
Another product that is well known and works well for how to get rid of wasps is by Ortho. This aerosol spray is specifically designed to help protect your home from the four most common nuisance wasps including yellow jackets, hornets, paper wasps and mud daubers.
It also includes a jet spray that reaches up to 20 feet. The spray also foams, helping to reach more wasps and killing any returning wasps for an extended period of time. This is an excellent wasp spray for wasps who have made nests outdoors beneath eaves, window frames, on decks, in gutters and more.
Raid Wasp and Hornet Spray
We also recommend Raid Wasp Spray for how to get rid of wasps. The above order is especially ideal for anyone dealing with a large infestation of wasps because it can be ordered in a pack of three. It also has a jet spray that reaches up to 22 feet and, like the other sprays on this list, can kill the entire nest and continue killing returning wasps for several weeks.
Of course, because this wasp spray contains chemical insecticides, it can be dangerous to people and pets and should be used only as directed and kept out of reach of children and animals.
Harris Wasp And Hornet Killer
Last on our list of insecticides for how to get rid of wasps is the above aerosol spray by Harris. Again, this is a well known brand that includes a jet stream aerosol spray which can reach up to 20 feet.
It is designed to kill the entire nest and continue killing returning wasps for an extended period of time. Once the spray makes contact with the nest, it turns into a foam which in turn kills any wasps or larvae inside.
However, this spray can also kill a number of other flying insects including beneficial insects like bees. For that reason, and because this product contains harsh chemical insecticides, it should be used carefully and only as directed.
How To Get Rid Of Wasps – When To Call A Professional
Sometimes wasps can build nests inside the walls of our homes or other areas that require professional help.
If you are highly allergic to wasps or feel your wasp infestation is too overwhelming for you to handle on your own, it might be wise to call a professional pest control expert. Remember, while most wasps only sting when provoked, a large wasp nest can result in swarming wasps who can sting multiple times.
Yellow jackets in particular can be especially aggressive if they feel threatened. The good news is that most pest control experts only charge around $100 to $500 depending on your region and the severity of your wasp issue.
Once you have figured out how to get rid of wasps, we recommend looking into and following up with proper forms of prevention, which we will discuss below.
How To Prevent A Future Wasp Problem
You can prevent wasps by making your home and property less hospitable to them.
Prevention is key when it comes to any type of pest management, and since wasps are common pests throughout the United States during summer and early fall, it’s wise to be proactive and prepare your home and property for them before they build their nests.
Some of the best steps you can take for how to get rid of wasps and prevent them in the future are listed below.
Seal Outside Garbage Bins
Like many pests, wasps can be attracted to your home just by the smell of food or rotting garbage. Wasps can eat a variety of foods from fruits to meats and more. In order to prevent wasps and other pests from wreaking havoc on your property, seal your garbage bins and keep them stored inside your garage until trash day.
Doing this will also help prevent garbage from attracting other pests like possums, raccoons, fleas, and flies.
Plant Wasp-Repellent Plants
Wasps are repelled by several types of plants including lemongrass, wormwood, pennyroyal, mint, eucalyptus, marigolds, and basil. You can add these plants as companion plants in your garden or even grow them in pots and leave them around your deck or porch to repel problematic wasps and other pests.
Seal Cracks and Crevices Around The Perimeter Of Your Home
Single wasps can sometimes enter homes through tears in screens or open doors. You can help prevent wasps from getting inside by caulking and sealing cracks and crevices around your home and making sure door sand windows shut securely.
In order to prevent wasps from building their nests on the sidings of your home or even inside your home’s walls, we suggest doing routine perimeter checks and keeping up with home maintenance to ensure cracks, crevices, and holes in your sidings are sealed.
Keep Eaves, Gutters and Soffits Clear And Clean
Wasps will build nests in areas that are safe and clear of consistent activity. Routinely clean and check gutters, eaves and soffits to ensure wasps are not building nests and that other pests are not making their homes there as well.
Use Routine Pest Control To Get Rid Of Other Insects Wasps Might Prey On
Many wasps are predatory and feed on other insects. Using a routine pest control year round around the perimeter of your home will help prevent not only wasps but other pest problems from getting out of control.
Cover Holes Found In The Ground
Some wasps build their nests in the ground and many will take nests of opportunity. Old rodent or snake holes can make for excellent homes for wasps like yellow jackets. You can prevent this from happening on your property by filling these holes in whenever you see them.
So, what do you think? Now that you know wasps can be highly beneficial, would you let them stay and do their thing on your property, or would you prefer to send them on their way using some of the methods listed above?
We would love to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts about how to get rid of wasps in the comment section below.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.