The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and you may be looking forward to a cooler change of season. Unfortunately, there is still plenty of time for pests. Wasps tend to become more active and bothersome in late summer and early fall. Read on to find out why, and to learn about the best pest prevention tips to combat them.

What Attracts Wasps

Wasp prevention

As the days get shorter, it reminds wasps they need to collect food for their nests and queen in preparation for winter. While summer offers a plentiful variety of food, autumn brings more competition to obtain fewer food sources. Wasps more heavily patrol the outdoors, including your yard, looking for a quick energy boost, found in proteins and sugary foods like ice cream, soda, and meat.

Leaving food outside is an invitation for wasps to stop by for a snack. They have the ability to imprint food sources, which means they will continue to search an area where food has been found, even long after it is gone, making wasp elimination even more difficult. Wasps are also attracted to flowers and plants that contains nectar, a sugary substance. Wearing bright colors and sweet perfumes mimics this for wasps, making you seem like a big flowery food source.

Wasp Prevention Tips

  1. Keep food sealed tightly in containers until you are ready to eat it, and remember to reseal and put away any leftovers. Make sure you don’t leave any food outside, or wasps can return to your yard looking for food — possibly with some friends!
  2. Close entry points. Check your home for unsealed vents, torn screens, and exterior cracks and crevices around windows and door frames.
  3. Tie garbage bags tightly and make sure you fully close your trash can lid. Try to keep trash cans a good distance away from your home. An open garbage can could quickly lead to a wasp feast.
  4. Practice regular yard maintenance such as sweeping up leaves and debris, pruning bushes and trees, and emptying any standing water near the home — this helps with mosquitoes too!

Find out more on wasp prevention tips from the National Pest Management Association.

Sting Prevention Tips

Wasp preventionWasps do not intentionally sting humans, but they will attack if they, or their nests, are threatened. A wasp sting can be painful, so here are a few tips to help you avoid getting stung:

  1. No swatting. Swatting at a wasp makes them feel threatened due to the sudden change in movement. The best course of action is to remain still until they leave.
  2. Wear shoes. Some wasps build their nests in the ground. Be sure to always wear shoes outside, especially in grassy areas.
  3. Use screens and close doors. Wasps are attracted to the yummy food inside your home, try not to let them in!
  4. Opt for cups. Wasps can sneak into the opening of aluminum cans and are especially attracted to sugary drinks like sodas. Use cups to keep an eye out for wasps attempting to invade your drink.

Typically, a wasp sting only causes mild pain and discomfort, however some people can be allergic to wasp venom. If you are stung and start to have a reaction, seek immediate medical attention.

Types of Wasps

There are 47 of types of wasps but three are most common – yellow jackets, paper wasps, and mud daubers.

  1. Yellow Jackets
    Yellow jackets, named for their black and yellow coloring, are aggressive by nature and extremely territorial. There can be up to 4,000 workers in a yellow jacket colony, and these colonies are typically found in the ground or on elevated surfaces, such as attics or crevices on the exterior of a building.
  2. Paper Wasps
    Paper wasps’ name comes from the paper-like material that they build their umbrella-shaped nests with. They typically have smaller colonies that live in nests that hang from eaves of homes, bushes, trees, and at the tops of windows and door frames. Paper wasps are usually not aggressive; however, they can sting if they feel threatened or their nest is disturbed. For more information about paper wasps, check out this blog.
  3. Mud Daubers
    Mud daubers are solitary wasps whose name comes from their ability to build their nests out of mud. These nests can be found high on porch walls, garages, sheds, and attics. Mud daubers are not aggressive and rarely sting.

Wasp Benefits

Surprisingly, wasps can be very beneficial. While most may think these insects are just stinging pests, it turns out they are vital to our Earth’s ecosystems. Wasps are pollinating rockstars – not only do they pollinate plants themselves, but paper wasp and yellow jacket nests also provide a home for beneficial hoverflies, aka a gardener’s best friend. Wasps also aid in maintaining other insect populations because they feed on nuisance bugs that damage crops, such as caterpillars and leaf beetles. Farmers utilize these useful predators in agriculture to control plant pests.

Watch our short video on wasp pest control and help for homeowners from one of our leading entomologists.

Wasp Wrangling

wasp removalOkay, so you’ve found a wasp nest – now what? Not to panic! We’ve got you covered on wasp nest removal.

Wasp nests should be removed as soon as possible after they are identified and before they grow too large. Burning, hitting, or trying to flood a nest with water are all dangerous and almost always unsuccessful ways get rid of it.

Removing wasp nests yourself can be dangerous and could cost you physically and financially. The safest and best way to deal with wasps is to call a pest professional, and we are always here to help! Contact us at or call (877) 461-7378 to get rid of your wasp worries.

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