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How to Get Rid of Wasps

How to Get Rid of Wasps

Wasps are aggressive insects that like to build nests near people and can be a major nuisance if left unchecked. Fortunately, getting rid of wasps on your properly is a straightforward affair, generally broken down into two categories, commercial sprays and home remedies.

Commercial Sprays, Powders, and Bombs

Any attempt to get rid of wasps is going to involve some risk.  If wasps have become an endangerment to your family, a professional exterminator is the safest course of action.  If you do decide that you are going to handle the situation yourself, it is important that you do so with extreme caution and wear protective clothing that will cover all exposed areas of skin.  It is also recommended that you research which type of bee you are dealing with and understand its habits before making attempts at removal.

Aerosol Sprays: Aerosol sprays are effective at directly shooting down individual wasps but are not ideal for nest applications.  Regardless how long the wand of your sprayer is, or how far the sprayer shoots, you are not going to kill all the bees in one shot, and those that are protected deep inside the nest are not going to be affected by the spray.  Once they become agitated, they will swarm causing a very dangerous situation.  If you have been successful at physical removal and have the nest contained in a plastic bag, an aerosol then may be effective at killing those contained in the bag.

Silica Aerogel Dust: Aerosol sprays will likely be ineffective at reaching an underground nest as the nest is usually buried far deeper than the visible opening.  In the case of ground nests, applying a silica aerogel dust is generally more effective.

Water: Bees are subject to drowning so a simple garden hose could help to eliminate your wasp problem.  For an underground nest, push your garden hose into the hole, cover the hole fully with a board, and turn on the hose.

Homemade Wasp Traps

Although homemade wasp traps aren’t effective at getting rid of large populations of bees, they are ideal for driving individual bees away from your picnic area.  Remember that these types of traps are actually functioning to attract wasps so position them well away from the area where you will be socializing.

Two-liter Beverage Bottle Trap: To make this trap, simply take an empty plastic two-liter bottle and cut the top third off.  Fill the bottom portion of the container with soda and replace the top portion of the bottle in an upside down position. (The pour nozzle should be inside the lower portion of the bottle) Shake the bottle so that the soda will cover the entire inside of the trap.  Once the wasp flies in, it will become trapped.  You can kill any trapped wasps by filling the bottle with soapy water.

5-Gallon Bucket Water Trap: A 5-gallon bucket can also serve as a handy wasp trap.  To make this homemade trap, fill the lower half of a 5-gallon bucket with soapy water.  Next, suspend protein bait, such as lunchmeats, turkey, fish, or liver, one to two inches over the soapy water.  Once a wasp takes the protein it will fly down and drown in the soapy water.

A Word about Gasoline

In times past, the most common method for getting rid of wasps on the ground was pouring gasoline on the nest and, often, lighting the nest on fire. While never safe, this method has fallen from favor because gasoline causes long-term ground pollution and renders the soil infertile.  Moreover, gasoline is often absorbed into the ground before it has the potential to give the desired outcome and the fumes serve only to irritate the wasps further.

Be Prepared

No matter which method you use to rid your property of wasps, there are a few things to remember before you do anything.

Wasps are most active during the day, so make your move on the nest early in the evening.

Also, when approaching the nest, be certain to wear long sleeves, long pants, and a hat to protect yourself from stings.

Prevention is the Best Cure

Once you’ve eliminated the wasp nest, it’s important to prevent the wasps from returning. Wasps are attracted to the types of sweets and proteins that are abundant in household garbage. Keeping garbage cans and bags properly sealed will deny wasps a convenient food source.

Wasps prefer building their nests in isolated, protected areas. Any gaps in siding or small holes in the foundation of your home are attractive building sites for them. Check and seal these gaps as soon as possible.



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Baxendale, Frederick P., Shripat T. Kamble, and Marion D. Ellis. “Stinging Wasps and Bees.” Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. University of Nebraska, n.d. Web. 27 Dec. 2010. <>.

Fisher, Marc L. , and Dr. Dini Miller. “SCHOOLS INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (IPM) FOR WASPS AND BEES.” Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Dec. 2010.

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