Getting rid of this common pest isn't as difficult as you may think. Here's how to get a wasp out of your house quickly and easily — and keep it out.
Wasps are social insects, often living in colonies. Most of the time, they leave humans alone, but sometimes they leave their nests to buzz around human habitat — your home. It may help to take preventative methods to keep wasps out of your house, to start with. But if it’s too late and you need to deal with the problem NOW, we’ll tell you how to get a wasp out of your house.
Your first reaction might be to kill any pests that invade your home. However, wasps are part of the ecosystem. They perform a valuable role in controlling other insect populations and providing food for many bird species. Furthermore, when you kill a wasp, it can emit a chemical that attracts other wasps — and one of these pesky insects is more than enough, you don’t want to attract a whole nest.
Wasp, Hornet or Bee?
Before you start, you should figure out if you’re dealing with a wasp, hornet or bee.
What are the differences?
The main visible difference between wasps and bees is their size and shape. Wasps tend to have more defined stripes, while bee markings are less clear. Wasps also have longer bodies, legs and a middle joint that can resemble a waist.
The most common types of wasps in the US are the paper wasp and the yellow jacket. Paper wasps have varying colors, from yellow and brown to red and black. Yellow jackets have broader bodies and black antennae.
So, what’s a hornet?
A hornet is actually a type of wasp, just bigger and more aggressive. Hornets are known for their distinctive bright yellow stripes.
Now that you’ve identified your pest, what next?
If you’re sure you have a wasp, read on for the quickest and easiest fix.
Note: Bees need our protection — read about small ways to help the bees.
How to Get a Wasp out of Your House Step-by-Step
Follow these instructions to get a wasp out of your house and other indoor spaces:
- Remain calm. Wasps are triggered by erratic movements, like arm-waving and frenzied circling. Wasps perceive such behavior as a threat and may react by stinging. They’re more likely to lose interest in you if you stay calm and don’t approach them.
- Open windows and doors. With luck, many flying pests can find their own way out.
- Remove pets from the area. Some pets will try to catch insects, but wasp stings can be harmful and occasionally fatal. Move your pets somewhere else if you can.
- Minimize the wasp’s range. If you can safely block off the area as the wasp works its way out, do so — using pieces of cardboard or closing net curtains can be helpful.
- Use a fan. If you have a fan, try using it to quickly remove the wasp from your home. Wasps don’t often fly in strong winds, so will try to escape the direct blowing air. Turn the fan on a fast, cool setting to force the wasp out the window or door.
- Reach for some mint. Wasps don’t like the aroma of mint, so use it strategically! Spray a mixture of peppermint oil and water in the wasp’s vicinity to guide it toward an exit. However, avoid spraying insects with peppermint or infused water to avoid killing them.
If wasps seem to like your living area more than their own nests, you may want to think about taking preventive steps.
Top Tips to Keep Wasps out of Your Home
Now that you’ve safely gotten rid of your wasp, what can you do to avoid the problem going forward? Here’s how to deter pests and insects from coming inside.
- Be liberal with mint. Buy or grow some mint plants near your doorways and windows to keep them away.
- Don’t leave sugary things out. Wasps love sugar. If a wasp is in your kitchen, it may be attracted to open sugar sources. Keep jars and containers closed, especially liquid varieties where sugar can gather around the rim, like honey or maple syrup. This is also a good way to keep wasps away from picnic food.
- Use citronella. Like mosquitos, wasps don’t care for citronella. Buy citronella candles or essential oils to discourage flying insects and keep them out of specific rooms or away from the deck.
- Avoid yellow fabrics and clothing. Wasps like the color yellow, so choose your fabrics carefully.
- Reconsider strong scents in the summer. Wasps are also attracted to strong fragrances. Choose perfumes and aftershaves carefully, as you may be tempting them.
If a wasp makes its way into your house, guiding it back out into the world is the kindest thing you can do.
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