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Dealing with wasps — The Grow Network Community
Everything you want is on the other side of fear.

-Jack Canfield

Dealing with wasps

I live in the TX Hill Country a bit northwest of San Antonio. Summers are HOT and we are plagued by fat, big, red wasps. Usually not overly aggressive, but are capable of aggression as I found out the hard way. Rather nasty reaction to the sting. I have a small pool in the back and lopive on almost five acres. I have tried all the internet fails to keep them out of the pool, especially when grandson visits. He’s highly allergic to fire ants and bees. He’s terrified of the wasps. He’s five. He loves pools but as soon as the wasps come in for a drink he is back in the house. Any suggestions to keep them away? We don’t have a problem with bees coming in, mostly just wasps and occasional scorpions. But I can step on scorpions. They don’t fly, thank goodness


  • JensJens Posts: 367 ✭✭✭

    Have you tried to offer a different water source like a shallow pot or other thing used for bees.

    I know that a lot of wasps or bees like to take pool water for some reasons alien to me but if they have other sources it should at least lower the pressure. At least it worked for our garden ;-)

  • Ruth Ann ReyesRuth Ann Reyes Managing Director TGN Shy of the Chi - Zone 5bPosts: 315 admin
    edited May 2019

    I'm in the same boat. I'm in North Texas and have severe localized reactions to fire ants and bee's (and I'm trying to not get stung by a wasp). However, they live in our patio umbrella's and ALL over our property. No matter what we try, we cannot get rid of the plethora of wasps! Apparently, it's a thing in nature! 🤷‍♀️

    While I hate to hurt anything...as I see all creatures have a purpose. We did buy one of these to defend ourselves while trying to enjoy patio time. https://www.bugasalt.com/products/bug-a-salt-3-0-black-fly-edition

    Drinking water off our patio ... and then just hanging out...

  • GrammyprepperGrammyprepper Mamaw, retired RN, jack of all trades master of none Zone 5BPosts: 172 ✭✭✭

    You will have to let us know how that works for you. We have been hearing about those salt guns for about a year now, but don't know anyone personally who has one.

  • cre8tiv369cre8tiv369 Posts: 70 ✭✭✭

    The original bug a salt guns were very weak, and while the new ones may be improved, how pissed off is that wasp going to be if you only graze it and don’t kill it? Make sure you got some good running shoes on.

    Wasps are natural predators of many undesirable bugs, especially garden bugs, so I view them as friends. But if I had to protect a child I would try to keep them away.

    Your pool is a desirable water source to anything local in your area and as such will support greater numbers of said anything. Cover your pool when not in use and you eliminate it as a reliable resource.

    You can also try to encourage things that prey on wasps as food, but those predators also need a reliable water source, which the wasps will use. And nature always balances, so that would not eliminate the wasps entirely.

    You also might have neighbors that have water sources that can sustain the wasps, but if you live far enough away from those that do, eliminating yours will draw away the local wasps towards those neighbors. In the heat of summer, wasps need to visit water several times a day, and they want to live close to it. If you have livestock with open water sources then try switching to on demand watering with deep gravel filled drains that prevent access to anything spilled thus rendering it unreliable to wildlife.

    there are organic wasp killing sprays that shoot a long tight stream and contain oils of herbs like rosemary, mint, oregano, clove, eucalyptus, etc. Those sprays not only kill but they drive survivors away.

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 580 admin

    We have a real problem with yellow jackets here, and they are very aggressive whenever there’s any food at all around. This makes it super hard for the kids to enjoy a picnic outside, for us to have an outdoor barbecue, etc. Here’s the solution we have used for a few years now—it really works. Each year around April (we are in zone 6b), we take a few small cans of fish-flavored cat food and mix in about four drops of fipronil. (This is the active ingredient in some dog flea meds—you can buy it over the counter.) We hang the cans in a sheltered place to keep the rain out—for us this is under porches near grills and picnic tables, etc. The wasps take the food back to their nests and it significantly reduces the population. We have not found bees to be attracted to this meat-based bait. Like Ruth, we are those people who avoid killing things absolutely whenever possible, and encourage a balanced ecosystem on our property. But when the wasps started coming after my kids, all bets were off....

  • Ruth Ann ReyesRuth Ann Reyes Managing Director TGN Shy of the Chi - Zone 5bPosts: 315 admin
    edited May 2019

    Great tip! I may have to try this...and yeah, it's tough. I don't mind them...but, I also cannot afford to get stung!

  • cre8tiv369cre8tiv369 Posts: 70 ✭✭✭

    The meat bait only works on yellow jackets. The ones causing issues for this post appear to be Red Paper Wasps and they eat nectar and other insects. There is a lot of info you can read online about them, it is always best to know your enemy/foe. I have watched a lot of different wasps hunt in the garden and even yellow jackets will hunt a garden (they will go for meat and sugary drinks if they happen across them but hunt insects as well).

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 580 admin
  • Ruth Ann ReyesRuth Ann Reyes Managing Director TGN Shy of the Chi - Zone 5bPosts: 315 admin

    Oh, boy. I have yellow jackets too. They like to chase me over the bridge. E V E R Y D A Y !

    It's a lot of fun 🙄

  • CherlynnCherlynn Posts: 149 ✭✭✭

    I make lovely Wasp swimming pools using 6 oz. white vinegar, 2 T. sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. They go after it and die. Hope it works for you!

  • cre8tiv369cre8tiv369 Posts: 70 ✭✭✭

    The universe just spoke to me and asked me to pass it onto you... I was sitting outside yesterday, enjoying some fresh air, when something cool happened. A very brave bluejay landed about 8 feet from me, then flew up to the eve of my house and snatched a paper wasp nest and landed back at that same spot, 8 feet away. The bluejay methodically tore the paper wasp nest apart and one by one ate the larvae from the nest (about a dozen or more). Then he flew away. I did a walk around my house and found 3 different paper wasp nests on the ground (all empty and torn in the same way as the one I saw the bluejay eat).

    So you might want to try some bird feeders and bird baths. apparently, just one hungry bird can get rid of most of your paper wasp nests.

  • Marjory WildcraftMarjory Wildcraft ✭✭✭ Posts: 849 admin

    Oh nice response Creative,

    I too have eaten the larve of wasps - they are quite tasty. Hmmm, I'll dig around and see if I can find some footage of how to catch and cook live wasps.

    I actually like yellow jackets and have befriended them. Red wasps were a tad bit more difficult to befriend, but I lived in peace with them by leaving them alone. That's also how I deal with fire ants - just know where they are and give them a wide berth. I also do what I can to discurage them from finding my home welcome - like improving the soil and plant growth. FIre ants don't do well in lush pasture or lawn.

  • greenleafgreenleaf Posts: 19 ✭✭

    I live in Missouri, and the red wasps don't get mean here until late July or August when the weather is really hot. One method of slowing them down is to get up while the morning is still cool and they are sluggish. You can tear down their nests then, preventing the growth of more wasps. I would encourage blue jays, but my local population of cardinals don't like them and will run them off.

    I'm not personally allergic to wasps or bees, beyond the initial pain and red bump that goes with getting stung, so I tolerate the red wasps, black mud dauber wasps, and welcome bees.

    Yellow Jackets are another story. If you've befriended them, Marjory, more power to you! The ones that grow here are major league mean and will sting just because you walked by. But we might be talking about two different things. We have a yellow and black banded creature my grandma called a "news bee". They mostly just buzz around and look cute. Our Yellow Jackets are actually a type of hornet that burrows in the ground. They hate the sound of lawn mowers and other power equipment and will make war on the user. They are one of the very few things I will spray.

    I've had good luck with the meat jar trap for all sorts of flying insects. You just have to remember to change it out before it gets too stinky. I don't use sugar water because those traps tend to catch honeybees.

  • Marjory WildcraftMarjory Wildcraft ✭✭✭ Posts: 849 admin

    How to cook live wasps...

    OK, wow this is going back a few years. But this short clips shows Alan cooking up some live wasps.

  • jaboneranaturaljaboneranatural Posts: 1

    I usually bait the wasps away from the area with a cakepan full of water and a wasp trap in the middle of it. First, put a block or other flat surface about 20 feet away. To make the wasp trap, use an old jar of jelly or jam with just a bit left in it. Take a bit on your finger & SMEAR LIGHTLY around the inside of a household funnel or cut-down plastic bottle with the cap off. Fill the jelly jar about 30% full of water and stick it point down into the jelly jar. Fill the cake pan with water & stand the jelly jar inside it in an area where the sunlight will reflect off the water.

    End of the day, throw out the water from the jelly jar along with the wasps that are now drowned, but don't wash it. Keep it & use it again the next day, until your event is over or the jelly is all gone from the jar. You can set up multiple traps if you like.

    These will katch yellow jackets, red wasps, hornets, and bees. And you get a nice clean jar when you're done.

  • JimersonJimerson Super J Pilot Point, TXPosts: 243 admin

    I have a salt gun that my brother bought me as a novelty gift. You would have to get entirely too close for comfort for it to be effective at doing anything but making a wasp really, really angry with you. 😲

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