Unusually warm weather this summer has seen a rise in wasp numbers, as the heatwave ripened fruit and flowers earlier than usual. Pest controllers have been called to remove 10 or 15 wasp nests a day, Natalie Bungay, technical officer at the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) told the BBC last month. While it is not possible to change the weather, here are a few steps you can take to keep wasps away.
1. Wasp traps
With a spare 10 minutes, a large bottle, and a sugar-water solution, an effective wasp trap can be made at a low cost. Cut a small hole in the top half of a two-litre plastic bottle and try to place the trap near the entrance of a nest or in an area away from tables and chairs. Traps can also be bought from most home improvement shops and online retailers, with some disguised as pretty hanging ornaments.
Another DIY solution is the use of powdered deterrents such as diatomaceous earth (DE), talcum powder, boric acid, baby powder and cinnamon. Dusting these powders near the exit of a wasp nest hidden inside a wall, under a building or underground both kills and repels the insects. But if you use a household ingredient like cinnamon, make sure to go over the area daily for around a week, ideally at night when wasps would be asleep.
Essential oils used in a spray bottle on areas wasps gravitate to can act as a natural deterrent. Peppermint oil mixed with water is one low-cost spray you can make. If you have more time, clove, geranium and lemongrass essential oils, mixed together with soap and water, can also be used as a repellent. Repellent oils should be sprayed on the areas outside that wasps are likely to build homes, including under eaves and ledges.
4. Seal crevices
Wasps can enter a property and nest if there are any small holes. Check window and door frames, the edges of siding, and where power lines enter the establishment. The perfect time to do this is late autumn, when most wasps have died. You can also patch up entries to the property in the early spring before nests become active. In the pub garden, have a look for rodent holes and burrows. Holes should be filled with dirt so wasps can’t nest there.
5. Seal waste bins
Wasps are attracted to areas with food sources, particularly sugary and high-protein foods. Bins that are not sealed are an open invitation. This includes rubbish bags, recycling bins, and food waste. Bags need to be tied up properly and bins tightly sealed. Compost bins can also attract wasps so keep this in mind when considering the layout of your pub garden.
6. Wasp repelling plants
Just like with essential oils, wasps are repelled by certain plants. Wasps are attracted by sweet scents and nectar, so keep this in mind when planning where to have flowers in the garden. Ideally, distance any flowering plants from where customers sit and away from doors and windows. Instead, opt for green plants such as spearmint, thyme, eucalyptus and wormwood.
7. Fake wasp nests
Wasps can be kept away from your premises by the installation of hanging fake wasp nests. The insects are territorial and so are discouraged by the presence of what could be a rival hive. Fake nests can be bought online at a relatively low price or made by stuffing a brown or grey paper bag.