Keeping wasps away from your summer BBQ

About Wasps

They are extremely aggressive. Don’t swat at them! Killing one yellow jacket may be cathartic, but it also causes a pheromone to be released which attracts other wasps. It’s a chemical alarm to alert the troops that war has begun. So unless you’re up for the fight, and willing to face the consequences from your guests, DO NOT SWAT at the wasps.

Okay, minor catastrophe averted. Now we can get into why they come around in the first place, and more importantly, what you can do about it.

In the spring and summer, yellow jackets eat primarily protein. In the fall, yellow jackets begin to incorporate sugars into their diet. Sugar can increase the lifespan and reproductive function of many predatory wasps.

They’re attracted to protein and sugar, so that delicious aroma lifting off of your BBQ is a sure way to attract them.

Best Approaches Against Wasps

Wasps Look For Nests

The first step to getting rid of wasps is making sure there aren’t any living in or around your home already. You can take a few minutes to inspect around the outside of your house, and look for holes, loose siding, and broken panels where wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets could build a nest. Make repairs to these areas as soon as possible.

If you discover a nest, you’ll have to spray it to kill the wasps. It’s best to do it in the early morning or late at night when the maximum amount of wasps will be at the nest, and be sure to wear gloves or long sleeves if you are worried about possibly getting stung. Aim at the main opening, which is usually near the bottom of the nest. Spray a steady stream of the wasp spray for at least 10 seconds, then take refuge indoors. (If your attempt to get rid of them was unsuccessful, better to try again tomorrow!)

Bonus Tip: You can make a homemade wasp spray by adding 2 tablespoons of dish soap to 8 ounces of water. Soapy water clogs up the wasps’ breathing spores and kills them almost instantly.

Not worth the hassle? Just give us a call and we’ll do it all for you.

Wasp Repellents

Repelling the wasps is a great first line of defense. If we are attracting them, what can we do to limit that attraction and furthermore, repel them?

Paper bag wasps nest. How does it work? Wasps are very territorial. Hanging a fake wasps nest via a crumpled paper bag creates the illusion that this territory is already occupied. There are many products that have been created to do this as well, like this decoy

Put out sliced cucumbers. This vegetable has an acid property that wasps don’t like. Cut up a few slices and leave them around your picnic or BBQ area. They stay away and you can enjoy your outdoor activities without fear of getting stung.

Going along with a scented repellent as your solution, consider garlic clove and lemon. This simple, harmless ingredient is a natural wasp repellent. Peppermint oil is also known to have the same effect. A 2013 study showed that peppermint essential oil had a repellent effect against yellow jackets and paper wasps.

If you’re looking for a lasting solution to your wasp problem, the answer may lie in planting some natural wasp repelling plants. There are certain plants that wasps don’t like to hang around, so adding these plants to your yard can help keep wasps at bay. Consider planting the following wasp-deterring plants around your yard:

  • Spearmint
  • Thyme
  • Eucalyptus
  • Citronella
  • Lemongrass
  • Pennyroyal

An encouraging study proved the high potential for efficient wasp repelling. Of the 21 essential oils tested, 17 showed significant repellency on yellow jackets and paper wasps: clove, pennyroyal, lemongrass, ylang ylang, spearmint, wintergreen, sage, rosemary, lavender, geranium, patchouli, citronella, Roman chamomile, thyme, fennel seed, anise and peppermint.

If the scent of the BBQ overpowers your attempt to repel the pests, you may want to consider a different approach.

Wasps Traps

You can fashion a DIY wasp trap out of whatever you like. The basic principle is to have a funnel that leads down to a container. With bait in the container, it’s an easy entrance and a very difficult escape.

To bait the trap, fill the container with vinegar, sugar and salt. Fill just enough for them to drown but not high enough for them to climb back out.

**Bonus Tip**

Spray the funnel part with some cooking spray so that they slip right in when they land.

Products and traps are also widely popular and a common sight hanging around households and their yards. You may be able to find success using traps like this one or more complex versions like this. Many people find success using and experimenting with different types of baits such as meat, chicken, ham, and soda.

Don’t have the time to wait out the trapping method? We have the solution for you, just make sure you’re ready for the chance of an attack. If you have guests or small children, you’ll want to have them all go inside. No need to risk the unnecessary…

Wasp Sprays

wasp spraySpray them with soap and water. Old fashioned soap and water is the first natural repellent to use. Spray the soapy mixture on the wasp and their nest. The soap will stick to their wings and weigh them down. Eventually they will suffocate. The homemade soap water may be the most effective but there are more options if you wish to try them. Mixing a few tablespoons of lemon juice with water is a good spray version of a repellent but may not be lethal in all situations so sticking with the soapy water spray may be the best solution. Classic chemical sprays can also be a good alternative for deterring nests and keeping wasps away from your home. Some popular sprays come from Ortho, Raid, and Spectracide.


Don’t swat at them. They have a chemical alarm that will rally the entire swarm.

They’re attracted to sugar and protein. Limit the amount of bait you’re leaving out in the open.

Repel, trap, or spray. No matter what your method for getting rid of the wasps, sometimes there are just too many. Know when to throw in the towel and call the professionals. Infestations of yellow jackets into your home will most likely require the expertise of a professional exterminator.

If you’re wondering what to do about your wasp issue, give us a call our experts here at Beeline Pest Control are happy to answer your questions. Learn more about wasp control here

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