Wasps are the bane of most people’s lives, but one of the gardeners best friends. These distinctive flying insects are hated and reviled by most people but are actually very useful. The workers are kept busy in the spring and early summer feeding the grubs with a variety of insects, especially aphids who devastate our plants. The workers are rewarded by the grubs who secrete a liquid which is full of sugar and proteins that the workers need. This is where the problems start because the workers become addicted to the sugar and when the last of the grubs are gone all the workers are left with no way to get their sugar and go into sugar withdrawal. If you have ever gone on a sugar free diet you will know that this is painful and upsetting accompanied by bad headaches. The workers are desperate for any source of sugar and this brings them into conflict with us. Bad tempered and in pain the wasps detect the sugar in our food and drinks and when we try to bat them away they react by stinging us.
So how do we deal with these pests who are actually good for the garden for most of their lives?
The No More Wasps Waspinator sounds like a joke but it really does work. Available as a twin pack you fill these weather resistant bags and then hang them around your home or take them on holiday and hang one near your tent. Wasps are very territorial and when they see what looks like another wasp nest they don't want to get stung any more than we do so they steer well clear.
The honeypot wasp trap is ideal for putting out in the garden away from where you will be. Filling it with a special bait attracts the wasps to it and away from you. They get in but can’t get out and die inside the trap either from the heat and exhaustion or by drowning in the liquid bait. Do be careful when cleaning the nest out as some may still be alive, so it is best to immerse the trap in water to ensure all the wasps drown before you open it to clean it out for reuse.
Without a doubt the traditional fly swats and flying insect sprays such as Kybosh or Nippon fly and wasp spray are very effective at killing wasps as is the electric bug bat. However if there is a nest in the house or garden shed there are several ways of dealing with it. The safest way is to fumigate rooms garages or attics that have nests in them using smoke bombs or foggers. These fill the area with a smoke that kills the wasps but you have to seal the area first and leave it to work before unsealing and allowing to ventilate. Fumigation is not always practical however and this is where foams and powders come in.
Powders can be puffed into cracks and holes where the wasps are coming in and out so that they come into direct contact with the powder and die. Powders are best used when you can't see the nest.
Foam sprays work by spraying a jet of foam up to 3 metres or 10 feet. These are best used if you can see the nest or it is in some sort of cavity which you can fill with the foam. If you can directly target the nest the foam will also start to dissolve the nest.
The best time to kill the wasps in their nest is early morning or late afternoon/early evening when they are all still in the nest.
It is very important that you keep children and pets away and do not attempt this if you are allergic to wasp stings as you would be better off calling a professional than risking your own health. If you choose to deal with a nest yourself always have a can of wasp spray to hand to kill any that come close when you are destroying the nest and have as little exposed skin as possible.
Do not do the following:
Do not use fire or water to destroy nests as they are highly flammable and can start a fire that gets quickly out of control endangering your property and water takes a while to dissolve nests so if it’s indoors you will cause water damage especially to any nearby electrics. Do not attempt to knock down nests with sticks, golf clubs or bats as this will cause all the wasps to come storming out of the nest to sting you.
Remember that wasps are very helpful in the garden as pest controllers and only become a pest to us near the end of their lives so avoid them if you can and always follow the instructions when using any pesticides. If you have any concerns or questions please come and talk with our experts who will be happy to help you