Wasps. Hornets. Yellowjackets. Why are there so many of these pests flying around?
What can I do about them?
For the sake of simplicity, I am going to call any stinging, flying insect that’s yellow and black, and attacks people a wasp. There are subtle differences between the three, but most people just call them all wasps.
Wasps are beneficial insects, believe it or not. They feed on detrimental insects in our gardens. They help control aphids, flies even Japanese Beetles. They also help pollinate plants and are attracted to fragrant flowers in your yard. And that’s one reason why there are so many nowadays. There’s more for them to eat. Kind of like teenagers at a pizza party.
They also like to build nests on structures. Your eaves, decks, planters, etc. make great homes for their nests. You may also see a few of the classic, cartoon-style wasp nests in trees. These are the football-sized and shaped nests hanging up high. I have had a basketball-sized nest in the soil of a planter and I have had wasps burrow their way in between the siding and the drywall of my house. Not fun!
If you have a small nest, or see individual wasps flying around, get to your local Ace Hardware store and get two cans of wasp spray. At least two. No, I’m not just trying to sell you more. You will need two. These cans shoot out a lot of spray at a long distance, but they don’t last long, and you don’t want to run out in the middle of your wasp hunt. The sprays work well, and will drop a wasp like a clay pigeon hit by a 12 gauge!
Also very effective are wasp traps. Get to Ace Hardware and buy a Rescue Yellowjacket Trap. These are the best. I have tested almost all traps on the market, and the Rescue trapped at least 10 times the amount of wasps that other brands trapped. They come with attractant and you can easily get refills. Place the trap away from anywhere you see wasps coming and going. If it’s too near their home, they may not go in. Think of the trap as an always-open singles bar for wasps. It’s got to be far enough from their nest that other wasps won’t notice one going to the bar, but boy, oh boy, the attractant in the trap is really making the wasp want to go there. So the wasp sneaks out, goes to the bar, hoping to get lucky, and is enclosed in the trap for good. So much for lady’s night at the wasp trap.
If either of these don’t control your wasps enough, then call an exterminator. If you run across a big nest, call an exterminator. You don’t want to get stung, and there’s only so much that cans of spray can do. I emptied multiple cans in the underground nest I had before I realized how big it must be and how many wasps must be inside. When it was removed I was really glad I called a professional.
Even though we’re living with more and more wasps each year, with a little perseverance, proper use of traps and sprays, you can control them and not let them ruin your upcoming holiday weekend!