Spring is here and summer is well on the way, which means a lot of things for homeowners all over California.
With the warming of the temperatures, gardens and grass start growing again, you might think about landscaping, and, perhaps more importantly, find it’s warm enough outside again that you can spend more time with outdoor activities, like kids playing in the yard, hosting BBQs, or cooling off in the pool if you have one.
But this also means a return of certain kinds of wildlife, including insects. One of those insects, wasps, is usually an unwelcome guest, and can even be a dangerous one if the wasps decide to make your property the site of their nest. Wasps are both aggressive and territorial. This, combined with the fact that they can sting people multiple times makes them extremely harmful. If you want to make sure wasps don’t decide to live near your home, there are somethings you can do to prevent this.
Deny Food Sources
Like any organism, wasps looking for a new place to live are using convenience as one of their benchmarks. They want to live someplace relatively safe, and, just as importantly, with easy access to food. Wasps can eat just about any type of food that humans do, but are attracted to sweets in particular, such as nectar from flowers and, of course, sugar in a variety of different foods.
Keep a tidy yard, and don’t get careless about leaving food behind. Whether it is spilled soft drinks or ice cream that fell off the cone, don’t think of this food as “compost” and leave it be. If you regularly leave food out, that’s an opportunity for insects like wasps to become new tenants.
Deny Housing Sites
Safety and shelter are also important components that wasps use in the search for a place to build a nest. You should inspect your home’s exterior and make sure that there aren’t any breaks or other structural defects that could prove enticing to wasps. Broken siding or a hole in the roof means a safe space for wasps and makes an enticing foundation on which to build a nest around. If your home’s exterior is in good physical condition, this is less enticing to wasps looking to build their own new home.
One of the more predictable things about wasps is how territorial they are. They don’t want to share, and if they think another wasp community is already in the area, that’s a big discouragement to them to try to move in. One great way to exploit this is with a decoy “wasp nest.” These products resemble paper lanterns, but also bear a striking resemblance to the nests of wasps, especially paper wasps.
Wasps that see a sizable, well established “nest” in an area are going to think twice about engaging in a power struggle with a larger, more heavily fortified colony.
Try Planting Mint
While flowers with sweet nectar can be attractive to wasps, other plants can actually repel them. Spearmint, for example, is a green, leafy plant, without flowers, and so is not very appealing to wasps. If you bring more green, leafy plants into a garden, this can have a discouraging effect on wasps that may be looking for nectar.
However, spearmint, in particular, is actually repellant to wasps, and you can use this to your advantage in two ways. If you plant more mint in your garden, the wasps won’t have much incentive to linger in the area. But if you reinforce this with peppermint oil and similar essential oils, you can keep wasps away with the vapor.