How to Treat and Prevent Wasps


Humans have an innate fear of wasps because they can sting. However, wasps do not intentionally prey on humans. They will attack if they feel you have threatened them, or their nest.

Active Wasp Nest

If you find a wasp nest around your home, it’s best to remove it as quickly as possible before the nest gets too large. You can try to remove the nest yourself using a DIY spray, but if you choose this route, wear protective clothing and spray the nest either early in the morning, or late at night when wasps are less active. If you prefer, you can call a pest professional to remove the nest for you.

There are three common types of wasps that you may see around your home: yellow jackets, paper wasps, and mud daubers.

Yellow jackets are the most aggressive type of wasp. They build large nests made of chewed cellulose and can include colonies of up to 4,000 workers. They like to place their nests in cavernous areas such as eaves and attics. Yellow jackets are territorial, and their sting can be painful. Unlike other types of stinging insects, they can sting multiple times. They feed on sweets and proteins, so you will often see them at gatherings such as cookouts and other outdoor events. To avoid yellow jackets at your next summer event, be sure to keep food covered and in plastic containers, and seal all garbage bags.

Paper wasps get their name from the paper-like material they use to make their nests. They live in small colonies, and eat nectar and insects such as caterpillars and flies. You can typically find their nests hanging from twigs and branches of trees and shrubs, porch ceilings, the tops of windows and doorframes, and other similar areas. Paper wasps are usually not aggressive, but can sting if they are disturbed, or if their nest is threatened.

Mud daubers get their name because they construct their nests from mud. They are solitary wasps that do not live in colonies. You can usually find their nests in a sheltered area such as under eaves, porch ceilings, in garages, sheds, barns, or attics. They are typically not aggressive and rarely sting, and can actually be beneficial because they prey on spiders and other insects.

If you encounter a wasp, do your best not to swat at it. Wasps may feel threatened by the sudden change in movement, and they may try to sting you. Instead, stand as still as possible, and they will most likely leave the area.

To best avoid a wasp encounter, follow these prevention tips.

  • Keep food tightly sealed in containers until you’re ready to enjoy it, and reseal any leftovers.
  • Use plastic cups instead of aluminum cans because wasps can sneak into the opening.
  • Tie garbage bags well, close trash can lids, and keep trash receptacles a good distance away.
  • Clean up as quickly as possible – wipe up spills, put away leftovers, and throw away trash.
  • Seals empty cavities in your roof or the siding on your home.
Prevent Wasps at Your Picnic

For more information about how to identify and prevent wasps, watch our new video on wasps with one of our leading entomologists.

If you find you have a wasp problem around your home, call HomeTeam today at (877) 461-7378 or visit to schedule an appointment.

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