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How to Get Rid of Wasps, Hornets and Yellow Jackets

Reading time: 6 minutes

Have you noticed an increase in the number of wasps and hornets pestering your outdoor activities near the end of summer? During late summer, as their colonies reach peak populations, wasps become more hostile to threats and more competitive about food. Buzz Boss is here to help!

The good news is that wasps and hornets are an important and beneficial part of our ecosystem. They are voracious hunters, eating millions of other pesky insects each year. They are also pollinators, helping bees to keep our world green.

However, when their populations get too high or when they build their nests too close to human activity, they can become a dangerous nuisance.

The bad news is that wasps and hornets want fruit juice, sugary foods and savoury meats and are not picky about where their food comes from. They don’t mind if it is a juicy caterpillar or your succulent steak, flower nectar or your sugary soda.

They are also very comfortable building their nests near or even inside human structures. When threatened, they can sting multiple times because their stingers do not have barbs as a bee stinger does. Generally, people find stings quite painful, but 5% of people will have an allergic reaction ranging from swelling and hives to anaphylactic shock or even death. To make matters worse, when wasps sting, they release pheromones that draw other wasps to the scene.

Back to some good news: There are several simple DIY things you can do to keep the sting away.


Wasp Entering Open Jam Jar

Keep food sources covered or in containers until you are ready to eat them. Once you are done with your meal, make sure scraps are not left behind and food waste is put in a bin or trash can with an air-tight lid to keep curious wasps away. Sodas and beer are other favourites for wasps. Avoid drinking out of open containers that you can't see through, like cans if possible. Setting down your can of soda for a few moments could result in an unwanted guest crawling into it. Using bottles with lids or glasses is a much safer option. Ensure your empty cans and bottles are rinsed and stored in receptacles with tight-fitting lids.

Stay Zen

Women In Chair Being Calm With Wasp

This is understandably counterintuitive, but remaining calm and moving slowly when wasps and hornets are around will make you seem like less of a threat. Swatting at them or moving erratically will only make them angry and more likely to sting you. If a wasp stings, you should seek shelter inside as quickly as possible before starting first aid. When wasps sting they release a pheromone to make other wasps in the area come and sting you as well. If you leave them alone and make sure to stay completely still while they are checking you out, they will usually leave you alone.

Wear Light Coloured Clothing

Pile Of Folded Light Coloured Clothes

There is a reason beekeeper suits are the colour they are. When it comes to clothing colour, the paler and lighter the better. Bright colours are attractive to stinging insects and will cause them to come and check you out. The biggest thing you want to do is avoid dark colours of clothes, which can often make wasps and other stinging insects aggressive so avoid these at all costs.

Don't Wear Perfume

Empty Perfume Bottles on Blue Background

If you wear sweet or floral perfumes you run the risk of attracting all kinds of stinging insects looking for food. The best thing you can do is bathe regularly and avoid any strong-smelling perfumes or lotions if you plan on spending extended periods of time outside.

Remove Nests

Wasp Nest on Fence

Wasp and hornet nests can be found in holes in the ground, on tree branches, under eaves, door frames, deck joists, porch ceilings or other structures, and occasionally built right inside your attic or crevices in your home. It’s important to inspect your yard in the spring when wasp colonies are still developing before they multiply into large numbers and potentially cause an infestation. Using an insecticide foam can often do the trick, exterminating the colony. Insecticidal dusts can be used as well but they don't stick to the sides of the nest as well and blow away easily in the wind. Ensure to carefully read the directions and safe handling recommendations of any insecticidal products before use. Plan on doing your pesticide treatment late in the evening or early in the morning when they will be less active and aggressive. Even with all the proper precautions (wearing protective clothing with long sleeves and long pants), you still run the risk of being bit or stung while removing wasp nests by yourself. Buzz Boss has your back here, so don’t risk a sting. With our BuzzAttack™ service, you can sit back and allow one of our technicians to get rid of the nest for you.

Hang Baited Wasp Trap

How to Get Rid of Wasps, Hornets and Yellow Jackets

There is a great selection on the market of traps that can be hung in your yard to bring the numbers down. Baits will either come with a mix or can be filled with a sweet liquid like pop or a water & sugar mix. You can also add bits of protein if you like because wasps LOVE meat. Placement is key, you don't want to hang your baited trap anywhere near areas you would like to spend time. Wasp traps should be placed at least 20 ft away from areas inhabited by people, be careful not to put the traps too close to areas where you don’t want wasps. Traps should also be placed around 20ft from any known wasp nests so that the wasps are able to locate the trap.

Be Prepared

Buzz Boss Wasp Trap In Tree

It is wise to have a few items on hand in case of stings. Your first aid kit for dealing with wasp stings or bites should include such things as cold packs, bandages, calamine lotion, ibuprofen and antihistamines. Most wasp stings can be dealt with at home with proper first aid and some over-the-counter medication for pain and swelling. If you have ever had an anaphylactic episode with a wasp sting then it is vital that you talk to your doctor about getting an EpiPen. An EpiPen can be the difference between life and death when it comes to fatal reactions. Allergic reactions can be fatal, so don’t take chances. If you are having a reaction use the EpiPen and call 911!

We hope this guide has given you all the tools you need to protect yourself from wasps this season. If you are experiencing a wasp problem, don’t try to tackle it alone, get the help of professional pest control experts. Buzz Boss is here to help! Our team of experts has the knowledge and experience necessary to take care of your wasp issue quickly and efficiently.

Whether you’re dealing with paper wasps, bald-faced hornets, or yellow jackets (also known as social wasps), our WaspShield will protect you against all wasp species.

Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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