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We built our house last fall, and I've already found one wasp next in a corner of the eaves. I know that one of our neighbors has a huge problem with wasps, and has a large amount of exterior exposed wood (multiple decks, wood trim, a large backyard fence) which tend to encourage wasp nests.

I'm looking for ideas to prevent wasps from migrating to our house. I'm still very early in landscaping, and can plan for yard structures to be different materials. I am also very happy to add plants with repellant properties, or at least minimize plants which wasps like.

Hopefully there's a good, organic solution. I'm fine with pollinators, and the occasional wasp or two visiting. I just want to avoid being the new home for multiple large colonies.

Edit to respond to questions: I've no idea what kind of wasps, and am not even sure how to identify wasps. They look black and yellow, and sting. The nest looks similar to this paper wasp colony picture from Wikipedia, but I'm just using this pic for descriptive purposes, not fact.

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If you found your home attractive to wasp, you should contact your local department which deals with bugs/ant/bee/wasp, they should clear the wasp for you. –  lamwaiman1988 Jul 29 '11 at 3:21
    
@gunbuster363: Yes, pest control would remove wasps; but I'm looking for ways to prevent them. With a large colony(ies) next door, I don't want to be a welcoming environment; and I can't have pest control work on my neighbor's yard. Currently, removing one small nest is easy. Keeping them gone is my goal. –  Scivitri Jul 29 '11 at 18:56
    
I'm interested in this topic as well, having had a couple of bad wasp years in this house. It looks like wormwood, tansy, and pyrethrum are good options. I'd do some additional reading if I had to account for livestock or a nearby vegetable garden. Think I may go plant some tansy this week. –  Kara Marfia Jul 30 '11 at 12:48
    
Based on the information in Wikipedia, Tansy seems primarily effective preventing biting insects (ticks, mosquitoes). Also, most of it's use seems based on historical beliefs. Pyrethrum information is very sparse: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrethrum –  Scivitri Aug 3 '11 at 21:08
    
I'll admit I just threw it at the wall to see if it stuck. Sadly, it doesn't seem like I can just plant a few flowers and chase off the wasps. Dang! –  Kara Marfia Aug 9 '11 at 12:59
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3 Answers 3

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If you haven't already, I would first try speaking (tactfully) with your neighbour about their "large colony(ies)".

If the wasps are a "dangerous" variety (not all of them are), I believe under Health & Safety you will find you have certain rights, even if the nest isn't on your property. Something to look into, maybe before speaking with your neighbour.

If you live within a Residents Association community (or similar), you may be able to get them involved in helping you deal with your neighbour (if your neighbour proves to be uncooperative).

To help you identify what kind of wasp(s) you're dealing with, give the following a try:

Additionally you should be able to contact a local bee keeping association near you & ask them to come out & evaluate, or at least ask them to point you in the right direction, to someone locally who can advise, help you. I have done this once, when dealing with a "small" nest of yellow jacket wasps.

  • If you find out they're a "dangerous" variety, I wouldn't advise tackling them yourself, instead call in a "professional".

  • If you find out they're not a "dangerous" variety, and would like to try tackling them yourself, this article, "How to Get Rid of Wasps" contains a "Natural Wasp Control" method you could try.

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Thanks for creating an answer, Mike! I'm trying to do more investigating of my wasps; if it's a small, transient group of paper wasps, I'm okay with them being around. If it's a growing collection of yellow jackets... not so much. But they don't hold still for easy identification. In particular, I appreciate the idea to check with local bee keepers; as I am very concerned about not destroying the environment to solve a personal wasp problem I like the idea of consulting with the people who'd be affected. –  Scivitri Aug 3 '11 at 21:18
    
@Scivitri, no worries. I might have been lucky, but I found my local bee keepers to be very helpful. If you wish to read up more on the "infamous" yellow jackets, take a look here. Good luck & stay safe :) –  Mike Perry Aug 3 '11 at 21:27
    
@MikePerry - your link on "How to get rid of wasps" no longer works. :( –  thursdaysgeek Aug 2 '12 at 16:07
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Some years ago, my porch was plagued with wasps, until I finally located their nest and smoked them out. Fortunately, they haven't returned, but I know how irritating this can be and sympathise.

You could try:

  • planting some hardy carniverous plants; apparently, Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia Tiger - here) are good at attracting wasps. Of course, you would have to plant a fair number of them to make any impact on a wasp colony, but they are attractive plants and would enhance your backyard;

  • the 'Fatal Funnel' wasp and hornet trap, which a quick online search has revealed (see video here) - it certainly looks effective, but you would need several of them.

I hope this helps.

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This is an interesting idea. I've always thought carnivorous plants required a more tropical environment than I could offer, but Pitchers seem more rugged. I'll have to look into what kind of care they require... ^_^ –  Scivitri Aug 3 '11 at 21:12
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New Scientist had a blog entry in which readers described seeing the following wasp predators: frogs, crabs, hornets, badgers, fish, larger moths, pitcher plants, spiders large and tiny, praying mantis, dragonfly, dogs, motorcycle riders, and Chuck Norris.

The Guardian reported on a UK warning (October 2011) on the progress of Asian Hornet toward reaching England from France via Spain. Beekeepers are concerned because it is a threat to hives. Another reason to report yellow and black stinging pests to local beekeepers.

In my case, I created a wasp paradise by composting vast quantities of apple waste behind my house. Now the suckers have built large nests. I'm trying to bury the apple waste, or compost it in 5 gallon pails, to cut off the supply. You might want to discover what (if anything) attracts so many to your neighbor's property, and don't throw your apple cores on the heap!

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In my experience, even just a thin (say, half-inch) layer of dirt/compost/whatever is enough to discourage wasps from rotting fruit. This is assuming it isn't juicy enough to wick juice up to the surface. –  Ed Staub Oct 21 '11 at 20:19
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