Last year, there was said to be an all-out “war on wasps” in many areas of the country, mostly believed to be the result of climate change, as the stinging insects normally die off during the winter, but when there aren’t enough freezing cold days, they survive. The warmer weather also gives the queen’s first broods a better chance of survival.

The colonies are bigger than ever, which means the wasps are hungry and more aggressive than ever too. Wasps may even attack, typically as a response to a particular chemical given off by other members of their hive. That’s why you should never swat or squash a wasp – when you do, the pheromone that’s released will only attract and invite more wasps that are nearby to come.

How To Keep Wasps Away

1. Prevention first

Prevention is always the first step in keeping wasps out of your home and yard. Wasps buzz in and out of people’s yards and decide to form nests in any opportune spots your home might provide. Keep them away by removing any unwanted food, and covering trash cans. Think about anything and everything they may be attracted to, which includes pet food and even bird food. Keep in mind that things that are sweet, attract wasps, which includes nectar as well as perfumes and lotions.

It’s also to important to maintain the structure of your home and its fixtures by walking around it and checking for any areas that need repair. If there is broken siding or panels, or any other types of crevices, they make ideal places for a wasp to build her nest. Be sure that all of your screens, windows and doors are in proper working order so that those unwanted insects can’t fly in. Check around your yard too, searching for rodent holes and potential burrows that could make a perfect home for wasps. Fill up the hole with dirt so they can’t use it.

Decorative wasp decoys can help too. They can be purchased at most home improvement or garden stores, or from this page on Amazon. They’re especially effective for paper wasps, which are territorial and generally won’t build a nest that’s within 200 feet of another one. Placing a couple of decoys, one on each side of the house, can deter them from moving in. If you don’t want to buy them, you can make your own and it requires zero crafty skills. Simply crumble up some old newspaper into balls, stuff them into plastic shopping bags and tie them closed. Stuffed the bags into paper lunch-size bags, and hang them up in corners and other spots wasps may be likely to nest in around your yard.

2. Grow wasp repelling plants

Taking a look and your landscaping by removing flowers from the places you like to hang out and adding some green plants into the mix can be a great way to deter wasps, as plants like spearmint, thyme citronella, eucalyptus, and wormwood serve as natural wasp deterrents. Grow them in your yard or garden in an area you’d like to enjoy wasp-free. In addition to their ability to chase the insects away, they naturally add beauty.

3. Use peppermint oil

Not only do wasps stay away from spearmint, they don’t seem to like any type of mint, which is why peppermint oil can be so effective at repelling them. A study published in the Journal of Pest Management Science in 2013, reported outstanding results with peppermint oil. In addition to planting any type of mint in your garden, you can simply add a few drops of peppermint oil (such as this Plant Therapy peppermint oil) to a cotton pad and place them strategically around the outside of your home where wasps like to build nests, such as porch roofs, under eaves and other crevices and ledges. Target spots where you’ve discovered old nests in the past and some types of wasps build new tests in the same locations again and again.

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