simgirlFebruary 10, 2002

Is there a set of guidelines to use to discourage these nasty buggers? We don't have flowering plants in our back yard, but always, always, at least 6 nests a year. They build near our doors, our window, on our deck, our BBQ, IN our dryer and hood vents...if only I could figure out what was ENcouraging them, I'd DIScourage them somehow! Or, alternately, is there a group of insects to encourage (hopefully, those that do not sting)that might prey on these guys? Our yard is already home to toads and lots of spiders--which we are happy to have around.

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Hi Simgirl, I like wasps myself since they help kill other garden pests like catapillers. But if a nest is too close to a door enterance or similar place, the best way to stop them is to inspect these areas early on in the spring while the queen is still alone building the nest by herself. Kill her early and keep a watch out for others who may take her place. Also, I have heard that spraying a little WD-40 in their favorite "place" beforehand will stop them from taking up residence. Good luck, vgkg

    Bookmark   February 10, 2002 at 12:33PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

We also keep the wasps around as much as practical. If they build a nest in a doorway, on tools, or somewhere where we need to be, we scrape it off, but otherwise we have both mud and paper wasps all over. They are especially effective on getting rid of webworms.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2002 at 1:12AM
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Thank you both for your replies! I realized I didn't mention one very important detail: I'm allergic to wasps and other stinging things. A sweat bee (very, very tiny bee) sting on my hand will cause my arm to swell up to my shoulder for 3-4 days with loss of ability to write with that hand; I have been fortunate to avoid "big" wasp stings since that beginning to react that way to tiny stingers, so don't know what they'd cause, but am fearful of the potential. So, keeping them around, however beneficial it might be, is not an option I'd like to explore too much.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2002 at 2:08AM
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That's a real bummer being allergic to wasps. I am so thrilled to see such a positive and enlightened attitude to these very useful predators. I leave mine alone ,thankfully, not being allergic to them. Once I even rescued one that had it's feet stuck to masking tape while I was painting my house. I used a toothpick with water to unstick its feet. It flew off and was not aggressive at all. Wasps tend to get aggressive in the fall when the nests fall into disarray, and the remaining workers start to starve.
Last summer I saw very few in my garden and I think that it might tie back to an interesting sight in the spring..we were watching a northern oriole in our willow tree through binoculars (in itself a wonderful thing)and watched it snatch a huge wasp from the air and proceed to eat it bit by bit. I'm guessing this was the new queen for the year and therefore no new nest! Last year was the year for the bumblebee for us - we had gazillions of them, probably two or three different psecies including the huge one that must be at least an inch long.
I did see a few wasps and even saw one bodily lift a green caterpillar about an inch long off a plant stem and fly off with it! That was quite incredible.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2002 at 2:31PM
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Follow Vgkg's advice. Catch the nest building early on and keep them removed. I, too, have also heard that a spray of WD40 can discourage nest building. So sorry that you are allergic to stings. Makes it a bit difficult to 'be one with nature', all the time, doesn't it????????

    Bookmark   March 11, 2002 at 4:51PM
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aluft(5b pa)

No, WD40 does not work. Talking from experience here.

As much as I like being organic, wasps is where I draw the line. If they want to build nests and be left alone, then they better do it somewhere out of my territory.

I too am allergic and I get tired of the paranoia of wondering if they have a nest in one of my tools or ladders or the door to my shed.

I am an advocate of one shot hornet spray. I carry one with me when I go to my shed to get seldom used tools, just in case.

And really, I don't think anyone not allergic can relate to the fear of what happens when one gets stung and they lose the ability to breath. AL

    Bookmark   March 13, 2002 at 1:01AM
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Thanks everyone for your replies! In the past, I have tried spraying the hornet/wasp spray in the "favorite" locations once I notice increased activity in the yard. But I don't know it makes all that much difference--there are just too many places they might hide, and I'm bound to miss a few. Like the gap between the caps to the railing on our deck! There's definitely something about our yard, but just what that is eludes me--our neighbors don't seem to have anywhere near the same number of nests, or the great variety of species we do. It's awful having to worry and having to look carefully around all the windows and doors each time they are opened or wonder about what awaits whenever we open the shed, uncover the grill, open the patio umbrella... I've never lived anywhere else where this was such an issue--I've lived in the Midwest, Northeast, and Southwest, currently Mid-Atlantic. Aluft, or anyone else, do you have a preferred indoor method of dealing with them? We have very high ceilings in one room where they seem to gravitate, and are reluctant to spray anything labelled for outdoor use only inside, but can't reach them to do anything like redirecting them or squashing them.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2002 at 8:49AM
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wasps eat other insects, particularly flies and caterpillars. Try establishing predatory nematodes and spraying with BT. You still must eradicate nests when they start, but many will seek greener pastures if there is a shortage of prey.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2002 at 10:33AM
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I have heard of tying inflated paper lunch-sized bags to rafter of high ceilings. This is supposed to convince a new queen that some other wasps already have the territory, and she won't start a nest. No idea whether it works but it certainly couldn't hurt to try!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2002 at 5:06PM
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Wow, I could have written that! It seems every year we have new nests on everything, including the $1000.00 shed that was guaranteed to be "wasp" proof. Hmph. We have taken it apart to get the wasps out of the hollow panels, put it back together and caulked it four times now. This year we will try caulking it once a month. It will look horrible, but maybe I can get near the shed again?

Two years ago I finally gave up and now have the house eaves sprayed twice per year. It keeps down the number of nests on the roofline and siding. Of course, now they build in the lights, on the porch bench, on the side of the half barrels, in the barbque, in the cable and telephone wiring boxes on the lawn, you name it. I left a margarine tub out last spring, picked it up a couple of days later, and guess what I found inside?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2002 at 1:35PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Paper wasps are attracted by a supply of caterpillars.

Mud dauber wasps are attracted by a supply of Black Widow and brown recluse spiders.

I prefer the wasps to the caterpillars and spiders. My office is in my garage which I share with, maybe 15 mud dauber nests (outside the office). It scares me to think that I have enough spiders to feed all the wasps. I use the same people-sized entry door as they do. We quietly pass each other at least once a day.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2002 at 5:02PM
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ccook(z7 TX)

How do I keep wasps out of my birdhouses and bathouses? I knock out their nests on the ones I can reach if I get to them before they get to big. I don't want to get rid of them, just move them somewhere else. I found several abandoned nest with eggs in them because wasps had taken up residence.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2002 at 12:07PM
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Wasp/hornet infestations can be a real nightmare. Last summer I bought a home in an area with such severe wasp problems that people rarely venture outside from summer to fall in about an 8 block radius. I drove around town with windows rolled up in the sweltering heat (no A/C), because of the Hitchcockian swarms.

This year I'm determined to follow the wasps and find out whose yard hosts the Mother-Hive. Have eliminated many small nests around the house (sprayed roof shingles and holes bored into clapboard siding where they lived), removed the birdhouses and barbecue grill (which were hosting large nests), determined they're not nesting in the ground, etc. I wish there were more bats and birds in my area that could keep the wasp population down to a more manageable level.

I've even been researching carnivorous plants to see if there might be something voracious enough to stomach wasps. I'm not allergic, but there's no way I want to spend more summers stuck indoors, watching the winged hordes slamming into the windows.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2003 at 4:30PM
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Mitsy(z9 far No. CA)

your infestation sounds like it might be yellow-jacket/meat bees. If so, there are some very effective traps that if started early, can cut down on the population.
Where we are in California, our wasp populations never get huge, but the yellow-jackets can build underground nests with thousands of individuals, and they are very aggressive.
I like to leave the wasps around when I can, but, I strongly suggest anyone with severe reactions to stings SHOULD get to a doctor and receive a *beesting kit* and carry it around with them.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2003 at 4:44PM
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Tornadogirl(Z5 N IL)

Hello all!
I do not like any stinging insect at all. I am not sure how allergic I am, but all I know is that I was stung by a bumble bee once when i was 7 and it caused some swelling. I would rather not find out if I am allergic by getting stung again. Anyway, we have wasps that live in our backyard and like to nest in the eves of our house. When I go to water the garden they are everywhere! I tried to spray then with Ortho Hornet and Wasp Killer, it just didn't work too well. There is this big 'ol wasp (must be a queen) that likes to rest around our strawberry plants where my garden hose is. I tried to spray it with the bug killer, but wasnt successful. I also have a wasp phobia. Is there anyway to get rid of this wasp with out me spraying harsh chemicals or getting myself stung?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2003 at 3:54PM
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I hope I misread your post and you are not trying to spray flying wasps outdoors while you are watering--that sounds very dangerous if you've already had a reaction. If you can, try to find a jet-type spray with the longest "shot" potential and try to find the nest for the wasps. Either you--or preferably someone not allergic, should then try to spray the nest when the insects are less active (at night, for instance.)

Although our weather has been unseasonably cool this year, we've already had nests on the front porch steps (under the flat part of the step, on the outside edge); looks like here we go again, folks...!

Mitsy: I've heard those traps are very good at cutting down the yellowjacket population and would love to try them. The thing that has disuaded me so far is the very large warning on them that people with allergies should not change or set those traps in their yard. Any suggestions/comments??


    Bookmark   May 27, 2003 at 7:44PM
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Jonesy(z6 midwest)

I don't kill them I just watch and tear down their nests before it gets to large.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2003 at 1:20PM
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zuiko(z4 Minnesota)

I've had wasps every year and what usually works is to find their nest and spray a can of wasp killer into it. The trick is to do it at night when they are home and not active. That is pretty effective for getting rid of that nest that year. Of course they'll probably come back next year.

They built a nest in the ground one year... I found that one the hard way by mowing over it. I got a few dozen stings. Not fun.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2003 at 4:29PM
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Another misidentification.
So sad when one stinger gets lumped in with another species and they are all crucified, just because.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2003 at 3:08AM
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I should say, the misidentification reply was aimed at the last poster, the one with ground dwelling wasps that attacked him... sheesh.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2003 at 3:12AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

We have a wood privacy fence and the wasps like to build their nests behind the posts especially in the corners where they are protected. I also have a small clothesline close to the fence that I used to leave the wooden closepins on. They thought the clothes pins were great! I was providing them with nesting material! I removed the clothes pins (I am going to buy plastic ones)and my wasp problem has been cut down to almost nothing. They are looking for areas of untreated, unsealed wood to use in nest building. So now I look around my yard to see if I have something that has not been sealed or painted. The back side of a door frame is generally unpainted wood so if you caulk around windows and doors that may help to eliminate the problem at least in those areas.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2003 at 8:24AM
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I had a huge ground nest one year in my backyard and (do to allergies) was unable to use my backyard during the months of August and September. I called the Extention service who told me that Winter would take care of the problem since I didn't want spraying (with the resulting die-off of other species in my backyard). They did tell me to bait a yellow-jacket trap and set it out in April every year to catch the queen while she was searching for a hive site. I've done this faithfully since and haven't had another nest.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2003 at 10:51AM
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Not all wasps sting. You leave them alone and they'll leave you alone (most of the time:)

Here's a quick fix for yellow jackets. Place a shallow dish containing apple juice (or something sweet). Add a few drops of detergent soap (Dawn). Place the dish away from the house. The yellow jackets will be attracted to the juice and the soap will clog up their pores. And they drown. Cruel but effective!

There is a stuff called Web-Away that will keep mud daubers, spiders and other critters from building their nests/webs from under the eaves and other places. Its fairly cheap and is worth a try.

The best time to treat for wasps and bees is at night when the critters have returned to their nest.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2003 at 9:22PM
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AdamM321(MA z5/6)

I was just reading a book called Common sense pest control. It suggests that having a large problem with yellow jackets and wasps indicates something that is attracting them. One thing that is the biggest attractant of these, is garbage, or sweets or meat outdoors. Either pet food on a dish outside, or bottles put out for recycling that have not been rinsed. Or rubbish barrels that do not have secure covers.

When I read that it made sense to me, as we had some old garbage cans with holes in the bottoms and no covers and although I haven't seen any insects around them, I don't go near them too often and I don't put the rubbish out. We have replaced the cans with new ones with locking lids. I hope this will improve the situation.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2003 at 8:40PM
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unwitting1(z5 IL)

We are not gardeners, but recently moved into a home that had four peach trees in back. We learned the hard way what happens when you leave for a few days and return to a yard filled with dropped peaches that are being feasted upon by hundreds of wasps. It seems that we're too far past the "go find the nest" stage. Is there a "safe" way or time to pick up the dropped fruit or do we just have to bear through the pain of numerous stings? Are the wasps/hornets (I think we have both) sleeping inside the fruit, or do they leave at night to go to a nest?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2003 at 11:23PM
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AdamM321(MA z5/6)

Oh MY! unwittingly..[BTW, do you have another name to address you with?]

Makes me glad I never planted fruit trees. I don't mind bees or spiders or toads, but wasps and snakes are the two I can't tolerate.

I have no experience with this, but just what I would do in your position. I wouldn't go near the trees. I would let the wasps have the dropped fruit till they were done. The frost should be coming soon, and I think that kills wasps. If there are peaches on the tree you want to pick, try it at night when they are gone.

Meanwhile, over the winter, study up on wasps if you are planning on keeping the peach trees. Keep your trees picked next year..lol.

Hope you get more helpful posts.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2003 at 8:36AM
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vanessamc(New Zealand)

I have seen the beehive wasp trap on Amazon, can anyone tell me who the manufacturers/distributors are please and how I can contact them.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 8:18PM
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Wd-40 doesnt work, but brake cleaner will. It shuts there insides down. When you see a nest just spray it with brake cleaner.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 9:18AM
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I always keep my windows open as it is extremely hot but recently a black wasp as made an appearance in my room at first I thought it would just leave the room if I don't bother it, but today I noticed it flys out and then back in repeatedly with a ball of mud. I decided to sit n watch where is it going only to find that it has found a hole in the roof and seems to be building a nest. I closed all the windows once it left for another mud ball. I don't wana kill it but I can't have it building a nest in my roof! If I keep my windows closed will it eventually go away and find another place to build? I need advice please

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:28AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Wasp nests are best sprayed just before dark when they have all returned to the nest.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 5:53PM
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WD 40 is a lubricant and should never be used as an insecticide or deterent.
When the queen wasp is starting to build a nest you can keep knocking any attempt down and that queen wasp will move on to find some other place to build. Keep in mind that when that queen wasp is starting to build that nest you have one wasp, not a bunch.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 7:53AM
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