When winter breaks and spring flowers start to bloom, stinging insects begin making their way back into your life. You may have stumbled upon a new nest or noticed more black and yellow critters flying around, some of which have a reputation for being pretty mean. Learning how to repel yellow jackets helps keep those painful stings at bay and deters them from swarming your picnic table during a summertime dinner.
We welcome honeybees and bumblebees into a garden since they are essential pollinators. Bees feed solely off pollen and nectar. Wasps, like yellow jackets, paper wasps, and hornets, feed off other insects.
Although their diet can be beneficial for your garden by keeping unwanted insects away, their stinger packs a powerful punch and makes them pests rather than helpers. If you want to deter yellow jackets, several strategies keep wasps away.
Keeping Yellow Jackets Away
The key to deterring yellow jackets is getting rid of them before they form large numbers that require a call to an exterminator. Yellow jacket nests that haven’t been built yet, and even a brand-new nest, are much easier to get rid of than one found in late summer.
Before you begin taking any steps to get rid of yellow jackets, it is vital to know that you should never squish a wasp. Killing them this way releases a pheromone signaling the other wasps that danger is near and that they need to attack.
Yellow jacket stings can be painful and extremely dangerous if someone is allergic to them. Always take safety measures before handling a wasp or wasp nest.
Keep Yellow Jackets from Building a Nest
The best way to deter yellow jackets from hanging around your home is to keep them from building nests. A wasp nest can be built nearly anywhere, but yellow jackets usually like to make underground nests or build in locations that shelter them from outside forces.
Don protective clothing before going out in your yard and looking for potential nesting areas. Walk around your property and look for any places where a yellow jacket might want to build a nest.
Fill any burrows made by other animals with soil. Walk around your home’s exterior and seal holes or crevices in the side of your home with caulk.
Wasps are also extremely territorial and are less likely to build a nest within a couple of hundred feet of another one. Run to one of your local hardware stores and pick up several fake paper nests to hang outside.
How to Repel Yellow Jackets with Traps
Another easy way to immediately start ridding your home of yellow jackets is by building yellow jacket traps. Although this isn’t as effective as preventing nests from being built, you can use wasp traps to severely reduce the number of wasps or other flying insects around your home.
Cut the top of a large plastic soda bottle off and flip the top over, inserting the drinking end into the bottom of the container. Fill the trap with soda. The sugar water in the drink attracts the wasps to the bottom of the bottle and leaves them with no way out.
Reduce Food Access to Yellow Jackets
Yellow jackets are attracted to the sugars and protein in our food. If you want to keep yellow jackets away from your home, one of the easiest ways to do it is by being cautious of what food sources could be attracting them.
Make sure that garbage cans and dumpsters have lids that remain closed. Keeping the top open or not having a cover for your trash containers is like asking a yellow jacket to hang around.
If you compost, bury the waste at least three inches under the soil to mask the smell of the decomposing food. Don’t forget to dispose of any fallen fruit from trees or pet food that is outside.
Be cautious about the types of bird feeders you have around your house. Boiling water with sugar may make an excellent attractant for hummingbirds, but hummingbird feeders also provide a sweet treat for wasps in the area.
DIY Recipes to Deter Yellow Jackets
If you’ve already scoped out the area around your home and are still having trouble keeping wasps away, there are a few DIY yellow jacket repellent recipes you can make that dissuade them from sticking around.
Dish soap is a crucial component in these recipes because the soap clogs the spiracles that allow wasps to breathe.
In a spray bottle, combine water with a few drops of dish soap until you have soapy water. Add several drops of the essential oils and shake to combine.
Spray the solution around your home in places that could attract yellow jackets such as near small crevices, ledges, eaves, and porches. These can also be used as a bee repellent if necessary.
Combine water and dish soap in a spray bottle until suds form and add a few drops of peppermint oil. Spray the mixture around your home or directly on the target area.
Plants that Repel Yellow Jackets
If you’re interested in a long-term solution to keeping away a yellow jacket colony, there are several plants that repel yellow jackets naturally. It couldn’t be simpler; choose the right plant and make sure it grows.
Plant Spearmint to Deter Yellow Jackets
It turns out that wasps don’t like any mint, whether it is peppermint or spearmint. Planting spearmint is an excellent natural yellow jacket repellent. Grow this in a place where it won’t invade other plants and avoid any wasp infestations.
Using Thyme as a Wasp Deterrent
Many plants repel yellow jackets, but thyme is our favorite yellowjacket repellent. This perennial comes back every year, can be used in your cooking, and keeps wasps at bay. Thyme provides many benefits while still putting up an intense fight against yellow jackets.
The life cycle of a wasp and the colony repeats and requires preventative action every year. Successfully use these wasps-away tricks by applying them in the early spring.
Now that you know how to repel yellow jackets, you’ll be happier knowing you and your family have these pest control tips that won’t require a call to the exterminator.
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