How to Deter Wasp Nests and Keep Your Home Pest-Free

From homemade traps to store-bought solutions, heres how to safely kill these pests and their nests.

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When it gets warmer, people spend more time outside. They have backyard parties, drinks by the pool, and dinner parties outside. The only bad thing about the change of seasons is that wasps may be more common than usual. These aggressive insects come out in the spring, buzzing over sweet treats, fruity cocktails and overfilled trash cans. Their overbearing presence in your house or backyard may have you searching desperately for a solution.

We have answers on how to get rid of wasps, whether you need to kill them right away or would rather do it naturally. We’ve also written about the most common kinds of wasps because not all of them are dangerous. In fact, many species will only sting if they feel threatened, so living together may be fine. Here’s a safe way to get rid of wasp nests if you find a big colony on the side of your house, under the deck, or in a tree in the back.

Wasps can be a real nuisance when they start building nests around your home. Getting stung is painful and dangerous, especially if you’re allergic. That’s why it’s so important to deter wasps and prevent them from nesting on or near your property in the first place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through several highly effective strategies to keep wasps away without the use of toxic chemicals.

Why Deter Wasps?

Before jumping into deterrence methods, it’s helpful to understand why keeping wasps away is so critical in the first place. Here are some of the top reasons you’ll want to deter wasps from nesting:

  • Painful stings – Wasp stings are extremely painful, much more so than bee stings. Redness, swelling, and throbbing pain can last up to a week.

  • Allergic reactions – Around 3% of adults are allergic to wasp venom. Reactions can range from mild itching to life-threatening anaphylaxis.

  • Repeated stings – Unlike bees, wasps can sting repeatedly without injury to themselves. A disturbed nest can lead to dozens of stings.

  • Property damage – Nests built into structures can cause wood damage over time. Nest removal often requires repairs.

  • Ecosystem balance – While wasps play an important role, populations near homes can throw off the balance and impact other species.

How to Deter Wasps from Nesting

Now let’s explore some of the top methods for deterring wasps and keeping them away from your home:

Remove Food Sources

Wasps are attracted to sugary foods and proteins Making your property less appealing by removing these food sources is a deterrent

  • Pick ripe fruit from trees and bushes. Don’t leave fallen fruit on the ground.

  • Keep picnic and barbeque areas clean. Don’t leave out trash or food debris.

  • Clean up pet food immediately after pets are done eating.

  • Use tight-sealing lids on outdoor trash and recycling bins.

Install Screens

Adding screens to windows, vents, and other access points keeps wasps from flying directly into your home.

  • Make sure all windows have screens in good condition. Repair any holes.

  • Add mesh screen covers to chimneys, attic vents, crawl space vents, and any other openings.

Seal Up Access Points

Even small cracks and crevices provide entry points for wasps to start building nests inside. Sealing these keeps them out.

  • Caulk cracks around windows, doors, pipes, and wires.

  • Use weathersealing and door sweeps to close gaps under doors.

  • Seal openings in exterior walls, ceilings, around chimneys, etc.

  • Fill holes in tree trunks, walls, or the ground where wasps can enter.

Install Exclusion Devices

Along with sealing cracks, exclusion devices provide an additional barrier to wasp entry.

  • Insert a stainless steel wire mesh into openings where you don’t want wasps to nest.

  • Funnel-shaped exclusion devices allow wasps to leave but not re-enter.

  • Put metal sheeting/screens inside enclosed areas like sheds and garages.

Use Repellents

Strong scents from natural oils and plants turn wasps away and prevent nesting.

  • Place cotton balls soaked with tea tree, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass or clove oils around nesting sites.

  • Grow plants like lavender, mint, citronella grass and catnip.

  • Spray diluted essential oils on known nesting spots. Reapply after rainfall.

  • As a last resort, use low-toxicity synthetic wasp repellents. Avoid aerosols.

Install Traps

Traps draw in and trap wasps to reduce nearby populations. They won’t eliminate all wasps but can lessen their presence.

  • Use pheromone or odor-based traps designed just for wasps.

  • Make DIY traps from plastic bottles with sweet bait. Hang them away from gathering areas.

  • Replace bait and captured wasps frequently for best results.

Maintain Landscapes

Keeping your yard tidy and plants trimmed back makes it less welcoming for wasps to build nests.

  • Cut back tree branches and bushes from structures. Prune any overgrown areas.

  • Eliminate wood and leaf piles, which provide shelter for nests.

  • Keep lawns mowed and rake up cut grass, fallen leaves and debris.

  • Fill in holes and low spots in the ground where water collects.

Call a Professional

If wasp problems persist despite your best efforts, calling a licensed exterminator can provide relief. They have commercial-grade and longer-lasting deterrents and can remove difficult nests. This option is especially important if you have wasp allergies or live near schools or parks.

Deterring Specific Types of Wasps

Certain wasp species have preferences when it comes to nest locations. Here are tips tailored for deterring some of the most common wasps:


Yellowjackets prefer to nest in the ground using existing hollows.

  • Treat ground nesting areas with insecticidal dusts or spray foam.

  • Fill in any holes, mulch bare spots, and let grass grow longer to discourage ground nesting.

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers build nests from mud on the sides of structures and under eaves.

  • Keep walls and roof eaves in good repair without cracks and crevices.

  • Paint/seal wood, stucco and other surfaces where mud daubers tend to nest.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps build the papery nests in branches and under roofs.

  • Trim back tree branches and bushes near buildings.

  • Seal up roof and attic vents, gable ends, and any openings that allow roof access.


Hornets prefer to nest high up in trees, shrubs, or on trellises and walls.

  • Remove fake hornet nest decoys if hornets keep congregating on them.

  • Take down old hornet nests so they aren’t reused. Hornets rarely build new nests near old ones.

When to Call for Help

If you follow these deterrence and exclusion techniques diligently, you can keep your yard and home virtually wasp-free. However, even when taking all precautions, wasp nests can still occur in hard-to-reach or hidden areas. Call in a professional pest control expert right away if you notice:

  • Large numbers of wasps flying near a specific area.

  • Evidence of active nests inside walls, attics, sheds or cavities in trees or the ground.

  • Repeated stings occuring when simply walking in your yard.

  • Family members or guests with allergies being stung and showing a reaction.

Specialty equipment, commercial-grade deterrents and removal expertise can nip a serious wasp problem in the bud. The investment is well worth avoiding dangers from nests located near high-traffic and high-risk areas of your property.

Stay Vigilant Against Wasps

With some diligence using these deterrence methods, you can steer clear of unwelcome wasp nests on or near your home. Pay special attention to keeping your property tidy, sealing up entry points, using natural repellents and setting traps. And remember to call in the pros at the first sign of large nest establishment. Taking preventative action against wasps will allow you and your family to comfortably enjoy your outdoor spaces again!

Common Types of Wasps

There are thousands of different wasp species that inhabit the U.S. — upwards of 4,000, according to Dr. Jim Fredericks, Ph.D., chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). From yellow jackets to paper wasps, here are the types youre mostly to spot inside your house and around the property:

Mud daubers, defined by their long, slender bodies and black wings, are less aggressive than other species. Theyre typically brown or black in color, though some may have yellow stripes. They usually build their nests on buildings, but they rarely sting.

Paper wasps have long legs and an abdomen that makes them easy to spot. They are black or brown, and their wings and legs are often striped with yellow or brown. Their umbrella-shaped nests are made of paper and can be hidden in tree branches, porch ceilings, door frames, and windows.

Yellowjackets are one of the most common and dangerous types of wasps. They have bright yellow bodies with black spots on them. Theyre incredibly territorial and have a habit of repeatedly stinging when threatened.

how to deter wasp nests

Another aggressive type, the bald-faced hornets are large with thick, round bodies. The social insects are mostly black with white or ivory markings. Their round, papery nests are commonly found in trees and bushes, so be wary in your garden.

Unique for their shiny green color and small size, cuckoo wasps are solitary insects and mostly harmless.

European hornets, aggressive only when they feel threatened, are brown with yellow stripes. They typically hide nests in barns, attics and even abandoned bee hives, with the average nest containing 200 to 400 workers.

How to Get Rid of Wasps

Wasp traps use a tasty treat, like sugar water, to get the bugs to enter a container and then stop them from getting out. In about five minutes, you can make your own fly or wasp trap by cutting off the top of a two-liter bottle and putting the bottom upside down inside it. Hang your trap on tree branches where the wasps like to congregate.

If the DIY route isnt for you, purchase a trap online, like a . According to Chris Walker, The Wasp Expert, a trap likely wont completely solve a wasp problem because all of the insects may not enter it. When using a trap, your best bet is to locate it nearest to the wasp nest entrance.

how to deter wasp nests

Keep Wasps Away With These 3 Easy Tips! [Wasp Prevention]


What keeps wasp nests away?

Wasps have a strong sense of smell and dislike certain plants like peppermint, spearmint, basil, eucalyptus, cloves, geranium, thyme, citronella, bay leaves, and lemongrass. They are also repelled by vinegar, cinnamon, coffee grounds, and sliced cucumber.

What do wasps absolutely hate?

Citrus – Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges can help deter wasps around your yard. Peppermint oil – Peppermint oil is one of the most effective essential oils for keeping wasps away. Citronella – Citronella oil is also effective, as it has a strong citrus smell that wasps do not like.

What is the best repellent for wasps?

The best wasp repellent is said to be a mix of lemongrass, peppermint, and geranium essential oils mixed in water. This can be applied to potential nesting site as well as on individuals to help keep wasps away.

How do I keep wasps from nesting in my house?

Scents such as peppermint and lemongrass are recommended as they can discourage wasps from building nests. An essential oil diffuser by the window helps keep them at bay. Make sure to look out for any fallen fruit or litter around the outside of your home as the wasps may decide where to nest based on the sweet, sugary scent.

How do you remove a paper wasp nest?

Select the proper tool for removal. This could be a broom, a long-handled scraper, or even a cob-web brush attached to a mop handle. Disrupt and scrape the nest free. If it is a paper wasp nest and it falls to the ground, stomp the nest quickly with a sturdy boot. To protect yourself, spray the downed nest with a wasp killer spray.

How do you find a wasp nest?

Use a flashlight covered with red cellophane to find the opening. Place red cellophane over a flashlight and secure it with a rubber band. Since it’ll be dark, you’ll need a flashlight to find the nest’s opening. Be sure to use red light, which is invisible to wasps, instead of an ordinary flashlight.

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