I’ve tried wasp traps but those seem to lure more bugs. I’m getting desperate because it’s summertime and the wasps are ruining our time outdoors. What is the best way to keep wasps away from our patio?
Betty Turner, Minneapolis
I hope I can help you find a natural way to keep wasps away from your backyard and patio. From personal experience, I know how annoying and even frightening they can be. And if the traps are causing more to appear, it might be time to assess what other things might be attracting wasps.
For example, sweet-smelling lotions and perfumes, food, or plants like yarrow and sweet fennel allure wasps. Hummingbird feeders might do the same. Removing those items from your yard will lower the attraction level.
Next, it’s time to repel wasps and keep them away from outdoor gathering areas for good. How to repel bees may involve making decoy nests, applying repellent, and planting plants around the patio or deck or adding some to containers to deter wasps in your yard. Sometimes a combination of all these solutions works best.
The decoy nests are most helpful if you place them outdoors in the spring. The same goes for plants like lemongrass, thyme, and pennyroyal. For the full list, look at this page: https://www.tipsbulletin.com/how-to-keep-wasps-away/. Just remember that some of these plants only deter wasps when their leaves are crushed. It’s the odor that does the work.
On the other hand, you can wear commercial repellent or make your own wasp repellent using essential oils. Although homemade spray is only effective while it has a strong scent, it’s safe around children and pets.
To create it, mix five drops each of thyme, lemongrass, and spearmint oils in a cup of water. It’s okay to put on your skin if you’re not sensitive to these oils, or you can spritz clothing and patio furniture with it. While this remedy isn’t suitable for killing wasps, it will keep them away from you.
Finally, if you need to get rid of a wasp, don’t squash it because it releases pheromones that call other wasps to its aid. Trap it instead, or wait until it leaves.
To eliminate ground bees, locate the nest first. Wait until dark when the bees are less active and wear protective clothing. Pour boiling water into the entrance hole and quickly move away. Repeat the procedure on subsequent nights if needed.
I hope these ideas help you have a safe and wasp-free summer.