There are thousands of species of wasps throughout the world, but the wasps we are most familiar with are typically black and yellow. So, it can be alarming when we come across a wasp we aren’t used to seeing, especially when that wasp is a shocking red color.
Have you seen a red wasp around your property? Don’t worry. These large, flying insects may be unique looking, but they’re quite normal and actually a native wasp species to the United States.
Of course, like most wasps, they also sting, and can become problematic in large numbers. So, how do you get rid of a red wasp and a red wasp nest in and around your property? That’s what we’re here to find out.
What Is A Red Wasp?
The Red Wasp is a large species of paper wasp native to the United States.
A red wasp is a species of paper wasp native to the United States. It is most commonly found in regions ranging from Texas to Florida, but has also been found all the way from New York to Nebraska.
Scientifically known as the Polistes Carolina, the red wasp is a social wasp who grows to be around one inch in length. It’s large size, startling red coloring, and the loud buzzing sound it makes when nesting and foraging can send many people running for cover.
This is for good reason. A red wasp sting can be rather painful, and in some rare instances the venom from a wasp sting can lead to a serious allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
That said, it’s important to note that the red wasp is not particularly aggressive and usually only attacks if it feels that itself or its nest is being threatened. Furthermore, male red wasps can’t sting at all.
The red wasp is known for building nests out of paperlike material it gathers and puts together using its glue-like saliva. Like most social wasps, red wasps have a single queen who is responsible for laying eggs in the nest.
A single red wasp nest can house more than 800 wasps at a time, and these nests generally stay active for around three to four months, during the spring and into early fall. When the temperature begins to drop, most wasps die out, and the nest becomes abandoned.
If you have an empty red wasp nest, there’s no need to be afraid of it. Red wasps do not reuse their old nests and, upon leaving it, will not return. With this noted, you can safely destroy or remove these nests with ease.
Unfortunately, removing the nest of an active red wasp population is not as simple. These wasps are highly territorial and will not take kindly to someone trying to destroy their hard work.
The below video goes into more detail about the red paper wasp nest and how these nests are made.
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And while a red wasp nest is certainly not a welcome sight when it’s near regions where people and pets frequent, we should note that red wasps have their benefits.
Like most wasps, the red wasp is a beneficial pollinator. It feeds mostly on plant nectar, which helps gardens to flourish. However, in large numbers, red wasps can do more harm than good.
Besides, you don’t want to get stung by one of these critters. But how do you know for sure that you’re dealing with a red wasp nest?
How To Identify A Red Wasp
Red wasps can be orange, mahogany or red.
The red wasp is most easily identifiable by its red coloring. This wasp is unlike any other, growing to be up to an inch in length with bodies that range from orange to red with black wings.
Their nests are also unique, made of wood pulp that looks like paper. These nests, as you might have seen in the video above, are made using the saliva from the red wasp colony and designed to house hundreds of larva.
These nests are generally located in more exposed areas like sparse tree branches and fences, but red wasps also commonly build their nests directly on homes. They are attracted to eaves, window ledges, siding, garages, rafters, and other similar structures.
This is problematic not only because a massive red wasp nest is full of potentially dangerous, stinging wasps, but also because the sounds these wasps make is rather disruptive.
Due to their large size, red wasps are some of the most noisy paper wasps in the wasp world. Furthermore, some of these nests can be massive, growing up to the size of a basketball. Yikes!
What Has Attracted A Red Wasp To Your Yard?
Red wasps are attracted to properties where they can build their nests. This includes areas with exposed sidings or eaves, and areas with lots of trees and vegetation.
Understanding how to get rid of a red wasp nest around your home begins with understanding what made your property so attractive to them in the first place.
Like most wasps, the red wasp is attracted to properties with an ideal source of food, shelter and water. In particular, red wasps need a space that is ideal for nest building, but that also includes plenty of plants and vegetation for them to collect nectar, and other sweet foods they are attracted to.
In general, the red wasp will be most attracted to properties with lots of trees and flowers. They may also be attracted to areas where people often congregate and eat outdoors. Along with plant nectar, red wasps are attracted to sweets from foods like sodas, juices and candies, making these wasps common visitors to garbage bins, dumpsters and picnic areas.
How To Get Rid Of A Red Wasp – Most Popular Methods
There are several methods you can use to get rid of a red wasp problem.
Getting rid of a red wasp problem requires the same types of methods and steps you would follow for most other species of paper wasps. These methods include but are not limited to:
- Natural Repellents
- Home Remedies
Deciding which of the above methods would be right for you will depend on your unique lifestyle, environment, and the number of wasps you are dealing with.
Remember, there are pros and cons to using any of the above methods, and the best way to decide how to get rid of your red wasp problem is to do a bit of research.
In an effort to help you decide, we have listed some of the best products below along with the pros and cons of each method listed for how to get rid of a red wasp problem.
How To Get Rid Of A Red Wasp Using Natural Repellents
Natural repellents for wasp control work using ingredients that are safer for people, pets and the environment.
Using natural methods for pest control is becoming more and more popular, but it has always been a number one choice for organic gardeners. Luckily, many natural methods for how to get rid of a red wasp can work just as effectively as insecticides and chemical methods.
Best of all, natural methods are generally free of toxic ingredients that can be harmful to people, pets and the environment.
However, some natural methods are more expensive than insecticides, and may even be more difficult to come by. Natural methods may also require more maintenance and upkeep during the application period.
That said, there are some excellent natural products specifically for red wasp removal that you might want to consider, especially if you have children or pets that frequent your yard.
Take a look!
Wondercide Outdoor Pest Spray
Wondercide is one of our favorite seasonal natural pest control sprays for organic gardeners or those who are concerned about using chemical insecticides. Like many of the products on this list of natural repellents, Wondercide uses essential oils to repel pests like red wasps, black wasps, roaches, spiders, beetles, ants and many more.
This spray is so safe you can even spray it directly on playground equipment and then allow your children to play immediately after.
To use this spray to repel a paper wasp infestation, it’s best to spray it in early spring. If applied correctly, Wondercide outdoor spray should continue working for several weeks.
A Paper Wasp Nest Decoy
One of the most simple and natural products you can use to deter a red wasp is to place a paper wasp nest decoy near your home. Red wasps are particularly territorial, and will not build their nests anywhere near other wasp nests.
A paper wasp nest decoy can also prevent other common paper wasp species from building nests near your property, and the more you hang the less wasps you’ll be dealing with. To use these decoys properly, hang them anywhere you have noticed past wasp activity. This could include along your siding, in your garage, below eaves, and even near your garden or in areas of your yard that are dense with trees.
MDX Concepts Organic Peppermint Spray
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As we’ll discuss further down, essential oils like peppermint oil work well to repel all kinds of pests, including the red wasp. Peppermint oil is a strong smelling oil that is delightful to most people, but very overwhelming to red wasps.
This spray also works against spiders, roaches, ants and more. It is made with all natural ingredients and is safe to use in homes as well as outdoors, and can be used with confidence around children and pets.
You can even spray this around your home’s siding, in your garage, and along eaves to repel potential red wasps from building their nests.
WHY Wasp Trap
Wasp traps may not help prevent a red wasp problem, but they can help control them while you figure out the best remedy of removal. The above trap is a non-toxic wasp trap specifically designed to catch different species of paper wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets.
However, this product does contain a lure to attract the red wasp, so it’s best not to hang this in areas where people and pets frequent. Instead, hang this trap far away from your home and garden to entice the wasps away.
Furthermore, while this red wasp trap is non toxic, it should still be used only as directed and kept out of reach of children.
EcoSmart Natural Wasp Spray
When dealing with a red wasp nest, it’s a good idea to use an aerosol spray that reaches up to several feet. This allows you to control these wasps without getting too close. Although most aerosol sprays tend to be chemical insecticides, there are some that contain natural ingredients.
One such spray is the EcoSmart Natural Wasp and Hornet Killer Spray. This spray is safe to use around children and pets and is made with essential oils and other plant-based ingredients that are safer for the environment.
It is also specifically designed for wasp control, which is always a pulse. When using this spray, experts recommend doing so at dusk or dawn, when red paper wasps are less active.
Wasp Away Decoy Nests
Another decoy nest option for keeping red wasp nests at bay is made by Wasp Away. This order comes in a pack of three and their nests specifically resemble those nests made by paper wasps.
They are completely chemical free and environmentally safe, and help prevent red wasps, and other wasps, for that matter, from building nests around or near your property. Furthermore, these decoys work without killing the red wasp, which, as we’ve covered, really is a beneficial insect.
Best Home Remedies For How To Get Rid Of A Red Wasp
Essential oils like peppermint oil can repel a number of wasps.
Many people who are interested in natural products for red wasp removal are also interested in do it yourself pest control methods. Are you one such person? If so, you’ll be happy to learn that there are plenty of household ingredients you likely already have in your home that can help you get rid of your red wasp problem quickly.
Liquid Dish Soap And Water
Dish soap combined with water makes a quick and easy lethal spray that you can use on the spot if you need to. Just follow the below instructions.
- 2 cups of water
- 5 – 7 drops of liquid dish soap
- 1 spray bottle
- 5 drops of peppermint oil (optional)
Combine the above ingredients into the spray bottle and shake the bottle until the solution is sudsy. Now, we wouldn’t suggest taking this spray bottle out and spraying the red wasp nest at random. Instead, use this method as more of a protection method for when you are outside in your garden.
Spraying this soap and water mixture on red wasps that come near you will stop them in mid-flight. The soap will saturate their bodies and wings and eventually suffocate them. The peppermint oil, should you choose to add it, will help repel future wasps from coming around.
Essential Oils To Repel Red Wasps
Many natural products listed above for red wasp removal work because they contain a number of essential oils. Essential oils have long been used as an organic form of pest control for a number of pests including rodents, insects, and even lizards and snakes.
Some of the best essential oils to repel red wasps include:
- Clove Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Cedar Oil
- Geranium Oil
- And Lemon Oil
DIY Essential Oil Red Wasp Repellent Spray
This is another spray that is not specifically designed to remove an entire red wasp nest, but it can help you keep red wasps from attacking you when you are outside. This spray can also be used to prevent red wasps from building their nests in certain locations.
- 2 Cups of Water
- 10 – 20 Drops of an essential oil listed above
- 1 Spray bottle
Combine the above ingredients into the spray bottle and shake it to mix. Then spray this concoction along your home, targeting areas like eaves, garage rafters, fences, etc. You can also keep this spray bottle mixture on hand when you are out gardening and spritz it around you and on your clothing to keep wasps at bay.
Essential Oil Cotton Ball Repellents
Another way to repel red wasps and keep them from building their nests on your property is to use saturated cotton balls soaked in the essential oil of your choice.
Simply soak a number of cotton balls in essential oils and then place them in areas around your home to keep wasps at bay. You might even consider placing these saturated essential oil cotton balls on plates in and around your garden.
Replace old cotton balls with freshly soaked cotton balls once every two to three days.
How To Get Rid Of A Red Wasp With Insecticides
Very large red wasp infestations may require more intensive measures, including the use of chemical insecticides.
Natural methods for red wasp control don’t work for everyone, and this is especially true if you are dealing with a very large red wasp infestation. If you feel that you need a more intensive treatment for wasp control, you might need to consider using a chemical insecticide.
Chemical insecticides are a highly effective and popular form of pest control. They often work for extended periods of time and can help protect your home from a number of different pests all at once.
However, you should note that chemical insecticides also contain toxic ingredients that can be harmful to people, pets and the environment, especially if not used as directed. Before deciding if a chemical insecticide is right for you to get rid of the red wasps around your property, we suggest you do some research.
To help you out, we have listed some of the best insecticide products for red wasp control below.
Hot Shot Wasp Killer
Hot Shot Wasp Killer is ideal for large red wasp nests that have cropped up around your home. This is an aerosol spray that uses chemical insecticides to kill wasps on contact and prevent future wasps from coming around.
The jet spray makes for easy targeting and the spray can shoot up to 27 feet away, making it much safer for you to remove the nest. This spray is for outdoor use only and should be kept out of reach of children and pets.
Spectracide Wasp Aerosol
Another aerosol spray we recommend for getting rid of a red wasp nest and infestation is by Spectracide. Spectracide is a popular insecticide brand that works for many pests, but we like it for red wasp control because it is specifically designed to target nests.
The product shoots up to 27 feet and is made with a non-staining formula designed to be used on doors, porches and fences.
How To Get Rid Of A Red Wasp – When To Call A Professional
A red wasp nest can have over 800 red wasps at a time, and removing a number of red wasp nests on your property may require the help of a professional.
While most people find they can get rid of a red wasp infestation on their own using either natural or chemical methods, there are some instances where professional help is needed. We especially recommend contacting a professional to remove a red wasp nest if you or someone you love who lives on the property has a known allergy to insect stings.
You may also need assistance if you find you repeatedly are dealing with a red wasp infestation season after season.
Professionals should help be able to remove the red wasps completely and efficiently, and help you further pinpoint the source of your repeated infestations.
On average, pest control experts charge between $100 and $500 for red wasp removal, although this price can vary depending on your region, the severity of your infestation, and the pest control company.
Once you have managed to remove the red wasp nest and infestation on your property, we suggest that you next focus on prevention.
How To Prevent Future A Red Wasp In Your Home
It’s easiest to prevent red wasps before the wasp season begins.
Preventing red wasps from becoming a problem on your property is typically easier and less expensive than trying to get rid of them once they are there. And, now that you understand a bit more about these unique insects, preventing them from coming back around should be a little easier.
Keep Up With Routine Maintenance Around Your Home
Because red wasps do build their nests in exposed areas around the home, it’s generally pretty easy to spot one in the process of being built. If you can get to the nest before it is completed, you’ll greatly reduce your chances of dealing with an infestation.
Furthermore, red wasps are much less likely to build nests in areas that are frequently distrubed. Maintain the areas around your home often, and clear brush and debris away from garages, fences, trees, siding, and eaves. Make sure you clean and sweep these areas often, and spray them down with essential oil sprays during the spring, summer and fall.
Invite the Wasp Predators
Just as wasps are not going to want to build their nests in areas that are frequently distrubed, they are also not going to want to build a nest in areas where a large amount of predators live. The good news for you is that red wasps have a number of natural predators that can help you control them.
- Praying Mantis
- Large Garden Spiders
- Robber Flies
- Hover flies
- Turtles Sparrows
- And Magpies
Of course, some of the above predators of red wasps may also not be ideal to have on your property. Others may not be native to your region. If you specifically want to invite a particular red wasp predator to your property, do a bit of research. There are ways you can make your yard more hospitable to these predators and less hospitable to red wasps.
Plant Wasp-Repellent Plants
Red wasps primarily feed on nectar and are therefore highly attracted to beautiful gardens overflowing with flowers. You can repel these wasps by incorporating companion planting in your garden using plants they are repelled by.
Some of these plants include:
- And Basil
Keep Entry Points Closed and Sealed During Entry Months
This is especially important if you have red wasp nests being built near windows or on the siding of your home. While these wasps prefer to live outdoors, one or two may accidentally get inside your home through an open window or door, which raises your risks of being stung.
While you’re dealing with how to get rid of these red wasps and their nests, it’s best to be cautions. Seal any potential entry points around your home and make sure doors and windows shut and close securely. Also make sure there are not any tears or rips in screens, and that window screens fit properly.
Use Routine Pest Control
Last, it’s always a good idea to be proactive and use routine pest control year-round. Doing so will not only help prevent a future problem with red wasps and red wasp nests around your property, but it will also help deter other common yard and garden pests from becoming an issue.
Alright, now that you know more about the red wasp and how to get rid of their nests, we want to hear from you. Did you realize these wasps could build nests in such large numbers?
Tell us what you think about the red wasp in the comment section below. Stay safe and thanks for reading!
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.