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Springtime and summer are lovely times of year, but they do usher in a host of seasonal hazards, perhaps none more fearsome than wasps. Not only are wasps annoying, buzzing in your ears and hovering over your picnic, but they are also more likely than most bees to actually sting you. To minimize the presence of these pests on your property, the most important thing you can do is to destroy any wasp nests that you come across. Although it’s not especially difficult or time-consuming to get rid of wasps in this way, you are going to need courage, first and foremost, and like any soldier heading into battle, you must arm yourself with the right weapons. Many potent (and oftentimes toxic) chemicals are sold commercially for the purpose of ridding homeowners of wasps, but we recommend handling the problem the old-fashioned way. Continue reading to learn how you can get rid of wasps using little more than soap and hot water.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Large bucket
- Dishwashing liquid
- Protective clothing
If you haven’t done so already, the first step is to locate the wasp nest. There are at least two strategies, one more sophisticated than the other. First, if you are able to distinguish the species of wasp, you can then proceed to research its nesting habits. Some wasps prefer trees, while others prefer manmade structures. Knowing the enemy enables you to narrow the search range so that you can find the nest more quickly. Alternatively, simply walk around the property, checking all those snug, out-of-the-way hiding places that wasps are known to haunt—roof eaves and rafters, wall cavities, crawlspaces, railings, fence posts, and tree branches.
When you set out to get rid of wasps, let’s face it: You face the risk of getting stung. That’s why it’s only common sense to wear full protective gear. No, it’s not necessary to go out and buy a beekeeper’s suit. But it’s only prudent to cover up well, and in layers. Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt under a thick jacket, gloves, socks and shoes, and a hat paired with a bandana (the latter to cover your face). Oh, and don’t forget to tuck your pants into your socks!
Having properly equipped yourself for battle, you are now ready to attack. Choose your battle plan:
Pouring a bucket of boiling water onto the wasp nest accomplishes two things. One, it immediately kills scores of wasps and two, it ruins their nest. However, it may take a few buckets full to destroy the nest and to completely detach it from where it was hanging. Meanwhile, you’re likely to have upset dozens of stinging wasps. The wise course is to stage your attacks several hours (or even a full day) apart.
Water With Soap
A second method—similar but slightly superior to the first—involves the addition of liquid dishwasher soap to the boiling water before you pour it on the nest. OK, why the soap? Because it bogs down the wasps, making it more difficult for them to counterattack. Again, it’s probably going to take you more than one bucket to destroy the nest, but this way, you’re less likely to get stung in the process.
Timing is everything. It’s best to approach the nest at night, when most or all of the wasps are inside it. While it may seem counterintuitive to mount your attack when the wasps are “at home,” but experience has shown that wasps pose less of threat inside the nest than flying around it.
Good luck, noble warrior!