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“Yellow Jacket Deterrents?”

by Prince Of Petworth April 4, 2017 at 1:45 pm 11 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Phil

“Dear PoPville,

The last few years we have seen quite a few large yellow jacket like wasps (do we get those here?) flying around our backyard. Not enough to be a nest in our yard, but I suspect one is nearby. They used to linger along our shared fence away from our deck.

But, this afternoon while our dog was enjoying some sun on the deck, I noticed they were trying to get through the screen door. At one point there were 2 of them on the door at once, they kept flying into it to try and get through and there were a few more flying around the deck.

Wondering if anyone has suggestions for deterring them? Plants, herbs, traps, etc?”

Ed. Note: But remember if you see a honey bee swarm don’t panic call or text (202) 255-4318 or email [email protected]

  • TJ

    Let them bee.
    Also, if it is a ‘large yellow-jacket’ like insect it may not sting. No harm, no foul, in otherwords.

    • textdoc

      If they’ve built a nest on your woodwork, though, it can damage that woodwork.

    • OP

      @TJ I’ve always heard that yellow jackets are aggressive and do sting unprovoked. It’s making it pretty difficult to enjoy my deck. Based on photos, I’m pretty certain that they are yellow jackets but not an expert.

  • Eckingtonian

    Wasps are generally very good for gardens in that they eat pests. If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you.

    • wdc

      That’s not true at all. Certain wasps are very aggressive and will come after you if you get too close. And they nest in hidden spots, so it’s really easy to piss them off.
      Plus, they can sting repeatedly, unlike honeybees that die after stinging.
      I’m generally pretty live-and-let-live when it comes to bugs– spiders are welcome in my house, the more honeybees the better, etc. But if I had wasps or hornets nesting where my kids play, I’m afraid I’d have to encourage them to move on.
      (Sorry, OP, no good suggestions on how I’d do that, other than poison.)

  • OldinAM

    Yes, there are jellowjacket wasps here (usually nest in ground holes). Avoid them–they are nasty (I was stung a dozen times after picking up a piece of trash in a park). Yellowjackets are not large wasps so what you have seen is probably something else and nothing to worry about. Start by IDing the wasps/hornets. Google is your friend.

    • OP

      Based on photos they look pretty identical. They are roughly half an inch-inch long with big wings that looked to be the same size as their bodies. One reason I’m getting concerned is they seem to be flocking to the screen door and then making their way up to our wooden door frame and lingering there. I don’t want them building a nest.

  • Mojotron

    Chances are they’re wasps of some sort- either paper wasps or mud daubers (less aggressive). if they’re really large they theoretically could be hornets, but I haven’t seen too many in DC. The stings from all of them hurt like the dickens, especially compared to bee stings. Had several wasp nests pop up near my beehives, apparently attempting to “raid” them for honey. My advise would be either find & destroy the nest, or use adhesive wasp traps- but they get other insects as well and sometimes even small birds:(

  • DC Girl

    Wasps are territorial. Buy a fake wasp nest and hang it above where you sit most in your yard. The wasps will stay away. I did this in my back garden and they still visited the flowers but gave WIDE BERTH to the nest.

  • Kay

    We do also have bald-faced hornets here, which build big, kinda conical, grey nests in the spring. Interesting facts!: except for overwintering queens they die in the winter, and they always build new nests in spring, so if you see any big ones now, they’re probably from last year. They don’t reuse nests. There’s one from last year in Bloomingdale that I really want to see close up!

    Anyway, this page from the Penn State Extension will tell you a little more: http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/baldfaced-hornet

  • Txosean

    You could fill a mister with water and spray them from inside your home and behind the screen. It is important that you are on the correct side of the screen. The mister is harmless, yet annoying. I also learned the source of the attraction. Vanilla fragrance air freshener.


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