West Vernon porta potty invaders

Oh, paper wasps, you little buggers, how you love to be in all the people places!  I’ve dealt with wasps at home for years and here’s my recommended best organic control methods.

First off, don’t let ’em get comfy in the first place!  I hang paper lunch bags up wherever I see wasps congregating in the spring.  You need to hang a couple every few feet.  They look like another type of wasp nest is already there, and because wasps are territorial –that’s why they sting us when we get close to their nest — they won’t build a nest in another nest’s territory. Easy peasy, as long as you remember to do it before they stake a claim.

But there are always a few who get past me. In this case, the nest has to go, and unfortunately most of the tenants need to go with it. Here’s how to remove it without chemicals.

In early morning or at dusk, wasps are dormant and in the nest. You need a spray bottle containing a solution of 1 teaspoon of dishsoap, and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, mixed in 1/2 cup of water.  You will also need a bucket with some water (enough to submerge the nest) and a stick.

First spray the nest and the wasps with the soap solution. This sticks to their wings and renders them unable to fly.  Once you’ve got them grounded, it’s simple to knock the nest into the bucket.  Submerge everyone a couple times and discard the nest in your compost, or burying it in an inconspicuous place in your garden. Any survivors will make their way out and find another nesting location.

However, it’s very important to remove the  little stem of the nest.  Wasps use scent to mark their nesting place, and if you leave it, they will come back and build again.  After disposing of the nest, make sure to remove the stem and spray the area well with the soap/vinegar solution. This should cover the scent.  If you hang a paper bag there as well, it’s very unlikely you will see them return to that spot.

Oh yeah, if you do get stung by a wasp, apply plain white vinegar, lemon juice, or an onion right away. Wasp venom is alkaline, and the acid neutralizes the alkalinity, which is what your body reacts to when stung. There’s a big difference between a wasp sting and a bee sting. When a bee stings you, the stinger remains and the bee dies, so they are pretty rare. A wasp, however, can sting you again and again and again – and will do so, with glee, especially if it’s hot out and you are in its territory. Stay away from nests and you are not likely to be stung, at least that’s my experience.

Any other tips?  Feel free to send them our way via Facebook, email or comments…

Happy summer!

Samara

 

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