Wasps are a persistent backyard pest, buzzing around especially when food is present, and most people will do anything to get rid of them. Aside from their annoying qualities, wasps also deliver painful stings. Unlike some bees, wasps don’t die after stinging once – they keep their stingers and can attack again and again. But despite their aggressive behavior, wasps are beneficial to the environment.
Without using harsh chemicals, what can you do to prevent wasps from invading your porch or play areas? Fortunately, there is a passive way to help that doesn’t involve toxic materials: fake wasp nests.
When it comes to fake nests, it’s important to know the nest won’t repel wasps. Instead, the theory is the fake nest will encourage wasps to find a different area to live. Why? Social wasps are territorial and don’t want to interact with other colonies. They tend to stay about 200 feet from an existing nest.
Why Do Wasps Sting?
Wasps have a painful and potentially dangerous sting, and their venom is different from that of bees. They sting because they are trying to protect their home or seem threatened in some way. For those who have serious allergies to wasps, this could result in a bad reaction or even a trip to the hospital.1
If you find yourself being attacked by a wasp, avoid crushing or stepping on the wasp. When a wasp is threatened or attacked, it can release a pheromone that may attract other wasps to attack in response.
When to Hang a Fake Wasp Nest
Once it starts getting warm, you can find worker wasps out and about collecting other insects, an important source of protein for the colony’s young.
Therefore, you’ll want to hang your fake nest in the spring before it starts getting warm. If the artificial wasp nest is hung early in the season, before nest building starts, it may convince a wasp to build somewhere else.
But don’t put it away too soon. In late summer and fall, when the queen wasp stops laying eggs, you’ll notice a lot more wasps out and about. The worker wasps start getting sugary foods and carbohydrates for themselves. Adult wasps have short life spans, with only a few weeks to feed on carbohydrates before they are killed by the first frost. The exceptions are the gynes, the queen wasps, who hibernate until early spring, when they emerge and begin creating their very own nest to rule.2
Where to Hang a Fake Nest
Take a look around. Have you noticed particular places wasps tend to hang out in your yard? You’ll want to identify places where wasps are likely to build a nest and areas you don’t want them to visit, like your patio or swing set. It’s important to note artificial nests will not get rid of an already active nest.
Benefits of Wasps
Although wasps can be very annoying and their stings can be harmful to some, they do benefit our environment. They are predators of a number of pests, including mosquitoes, flies and beetle larvae. Additionally, they are pollinators but are not as efficient as honey bees. Pollen is less likely to stick to wasps’ bodies and to be moved from flower to flower because of the lack of fuzzy hairs. 3
Our fake nests are the perfect way to encourage wasps (except paper wasps and ground-nesting wasps, which, true to their name, build their nests underfoot rather than in trees and eaves) to nest elsewhere without destroying them, allowing them to eat insects and do some pollinating in your garden or yard.
What Else Can Help Deter Wasps?
Since worker wasps are looking for food, it’s best to limit their food sources in the areas you hang out. Here are some additional tips to keep them away:
- Keep trash cans covered.
- Remove food and drink from outside the home.
- Keep any fallen fruits from nearby trees, shrubs or gardens picked up because wasps are attracted to sweet juices.
- Plant peppermint or use peppermint spray in areas you don’t want them around.
If natural methods are important to you, Best Bee Brothers wasp nests are made from natural products and are chemical-free.
- “Wasps and Bees,” University of Minnesota Extension, accessed October 27, 2020, https://extension.umn.edu/insects-infest-homes/wasps-and-bees.
- Margo Mcdonough, “Why Are Bees and Wasps So Busy in Autumn?,” October 10, 2012, Phys.org, courtesy of the University of Delaware, https://phys.org/news/2012-10-bees-wasps-busy-autumn.html.
- “Wasp Pollination,” U.S. Forest Service, accessed October 27, 2020, https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/animals/wasps.shtml.