Free Inspections & Estimates Same Day Service!
Fox Pest Control 




Posted September 9, 2020

Table of Contents

How to Get Rid of Wasps

The worst thing about wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets is that they come during the sunniest times of the year when everyone wants to be outside for a picnic or to play in the yard. Active from early spring to fall, all types of wasps have gained the bad reputation of dive-bombing into soda cans, raiding barbecues, and stinging at random. 

Keep you and your family safe this season! Follow these tips that will help rid yourself of the problems wasps cause and reduce the likelihood of wasp stings.

Wasp Prevention

Taking a few steps to keep wasps away before the wasp season starts can make a big difference later in the summer or early fall when wasps become most aggressive. When dealing with wasps, prevention is always the first step.

Keep Wasps Away with A Fake Wasp Nest

Keep Wasps Away: DIY Wasp Nest Infographic. Learn to make your own wasp decoy to keep wasps, hornets, and yellowjackets away from your home.

In late winter or early spring, queen wasps come out of their winter hiding places to make a home, but some species avoid areas with already established nests. If you hang a fake nest near places where wasps commonly show up, you can keep certain types of wasps away before they become a problem.

You can trick the queen wasps to avoid your property by hanging fake nests called wasp decoys. Wasp decoys can be bought online or made at home.

To make your own wasp decoy, fill a white paper lunch bag with plastic bags to make it puffy. Then use a permanent marker to make a black dot the size of a quarter in the bottom corner. Place a metal hook (or a paperclip bent into a hook) near the top of the bag. Tie off the top of the bag with rubber bands or string, making sure the hook can hold everything up.

Hang one of these on every corner of the eaves and any areas wasps commonly make nests, like near the shed or woodpile. Make sure the black dot faces outward so wasps think it’s the nest entrance.

Remember to hang these early in the season because a wasp decoy won’t work on wasps that are already established. 

Other Ways to Prevent Wasp Activity

Not all wasps build nests in eaves or trees. Some types of wasps, like yellow jackets and hornets, build nests in abandoned burrows made by gophers and other rodents. In late winter or early spring, inspect your yard for tunnels and holes left behind by rodents. Fill in any that you find.

Make your home less attractive to wasps by limiting food sources. Cover compost piles, garbage cans, and any food you bring outside, especially protein-rich and sugary foods or drinks. Check that window and door screens are in good repair. Seal any large holes in the siding or brickwork before wasp season begins to discourage nesting. Never try to seal wasps inside a hole that they’ve already made in the house. They will burrow deeper and eventually start flying around inside!

Home Remedies for Wasps: Deterrents and Takedowns

Even with decoys and other preventative measures, wasps could still come into your yard. Some wasps, like the bald-faced hornet, ignore decoys and build nests anyway. Other species build their nests underground and don’t pay attention to nests in the eaves or trees. Because of this, it can be good to have a few deterrents and other remedies available to help you take down a nest if needed.

Proper Precautions

Never try to take down a nest by yourself if you are allergic to wasp stings. Risking an allergic reaction isn’t worth it, so call the professionals for help. If you aren’t allergic and still want to treat a wasp nest on your own, always wear protective equipment.

Protective Equipment

A hat, goggles, a scarf or bandana that covers all the way around your neck, thick shirt with long sleeves like a sweatshirt, thick and long pants like sweatpants, sturdy closed-toe shoes, and gloves are just the bare essentials, even on a hot summer day. There are also bee suits complete with face masks and specialized gloves, but these can be expensive if you don’t take down wasp nests for a living. 

No matter what equipment you use, there is always the risk of getting stung, so exercise caution. If you are stung and experience reactions like shortness of breath, swelling over the whole body, or quickened heartbeat, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Homemade Wasp Killer

For a family-friendly wasp treatment, mix grease-fighting dish soap or insecticide soap with water. Place the soapy water in a hose attachment or in a powerful sprayer. Spray the nest from a safe distance and watch the mixture take down the wasps quickly. You can increase the amount of soap for a stronger effect. 

Be careful when treating a nest, as there’s always the possibility of getting stung.

For other wasp and hornet killers, there are also over-the-counter (OTC) products you can purchase online or at a hardware store. All products have a label with proper use instructions and directions to keep you safe and protect the environment. Follow these instructions carefully to avoid accidents and other problems.

How to Make a Homemade Wasp Trap

Considering how simple this little trick is to do, it works extremely well. This trap is reusable, or you can make several and dispose of the old ones.

To make your own trap, you’ll need a two-liter soda bottle, scissors or a sharp knife, packing tape or duct tape, and wire. 

Cut the top of the bottle immediately below the rounded place near the spout. You can remove the cap and throw it away — you won’t need it for the trap. The portion you cut off has the spout and is shaped like a bowl. Turn this upside down so that spout points toward the bottom of the bottle and place the bowl shape in the top of the bottle. Tape these two parts together. 

Fill the bottom of the bottle with several inches of sugar water or soda. Poke a pair of holes across the top edge that you just taped and string the wire through it for easy hanging. Place as many of these as you’d like near active wasp nests or anywhere wasps like to hang out. 

The wasps crawl through the spout to get to the sugar water at the bottom. Because the spout faces downward, they can’t find their way out. 

If you’re worried about trapping both wasps and bees, you can use meat and a little vinegar instead of sugar water. The meat attracts the wasps and the vinegar keeps the bees away because most honey bees feed only on flowers and other sugary food sources. 

As mentioned above, you can either throw the trap away once it’s filled with wasps, or you can reuse it. To reuse the trap, fill the bottle with water or vinegar and leave it in the sun for a few hours to kill the wasps. Remove the wire and tape and empty the dead wasps into the garbage. Refill the bottle with bait and then reattach the spout with tape and string the wire through it. Now it’s ready to hang and reuse.

When to Call the Pros

The next question is when to call the professionals. The simple answer is to do everything you feel comfortable doing first and call the pros if wasps continue to come back. Or, if you’re allergic to wasp stings, it is best to call the pros right away.

Professionals can also help you find out why a problem might be continuing in spite of everything you have tried. There could be something in your yard that brings the wasps back. The pros will help you with these and other IPM (Integrated Pest Management) techniques that take wasp behavior into account. 

When wasps make a nest inside the walls of your home, it’s definitely time to call. Some homeowners have sealed wasps inside the walls. This causes wasps to chew through the walls and potentially sting people inside the house. Not a good thing at all!

Check out our blog post about why the world needs pest control for a broader view of pest control and what it does for us.

If you see wasps but you’re not sure where they are nesting, a professional can figure it out and treat the wasps for you without putting you or your family at risk.

Professional Wasp Control

There are many pest control companies out there, so it is important to do your research. Don’t choose a company if you don’t like what they stand for or their core values. Check online reviews and talk to people with first-hand experience with the company, if you can. 

Fox Pest Control can be the perfect company for you. With tens of thousands of satisfied customers, we know how to get the job done right the first time. 

Even if you’re not sure about what kind of wasp problem you have, you can call for a free quote over the phone. If needed, we will send a Fox Pest Pro to your home to provide a free, no-obligation inspection and quote. 

Our Home Protection Plan covers wasps, crawling insects, and rodents. If the pests come back, you can call us for a free Target Treatment at any time. Our family-safe, pet-friendly, and environmentally responsible products will restore your peace of mind. 

Our customers always come first, because when you call Fox, you’re joining a family that cares.

Because No Bugs is Simply Better.


How to Treat Wasp Stings

Wasps can become a serious problem around your home, especially during the summer and early autumn when they are most active. Wasp stings can cause minor swelling, pain, and itching, but severe reactions can be life-threatening.

Even if you employ the best ways to prevent wasps, sometimes stings cannot be avoided. It’s best to be prepared with effective ways to treat a wasps sting in case you are stung.

Know the 3 Common Symptoms of Wasp Stings

Most of the time, wasp stings don’t cause long-term problems, so it’s best not to panic.

1. Normal Local Reactions

The first symptoms that you’ll see are redness and swelling in the site of the sting. A pale dot may appear where the stinger entered the skin. The swelling is likely to develop into a painful, itchy welt. Normally, these symptoms fade after a few hours, especially if you apply these home treatments.

If you are unsure whether you are allergic to stings, wait for 15-30 minutes. Normally, symptoms of an allergic reaction will start to appear during that time.

2. Large Local Reactions

The term “Large Local Reaction” describes swelling that is larger than normal or lasts longer than about a day. In some cases, the swelling may last up to a week, and the person may experience nausea and vomiting. By definition, large local reactions are not life-threatening, and normally the symptoms will vanish after a week.

Talk to your doctor if you experience a large local reaction. They may recommend over-the-counter medications to reduce symptoms and discomfort, such as an antihistamine, or they may provide a prescription-strength medication.

Your doctor can also help you determine whether you’re allergic to wasp stings, as well as the strength of the allergy. They may recommend immunotherapy, which helps make your body’s natural reaction to wasp stings less extreme. Immunotherapy may even reduce your risk of a more severe reaction to future stings.

The most effective way to avoid these symptoms is to do your best to keep wasps away yourself, or call the professionals to help

3. Systemic Reactions

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening type of systemic reaction caused by allergies. Anaphylaxis and other systemic reactions affect the body’s other functions, including heart speed and rhythm, breathing, and blood pressure. 

If you or someone nearby has a systemic reaction or anaphylaxis, call 911 for an ambulance and go to the emergency room for medical treatment.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis can include:

  • Severe swelling around the face, lips, or throat
  • Swelling in other areas of the body
  • Wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Lightheadedness
  • Red rash, which could be itchy and may include welts or hives
  • Passing out
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramping
  • Pale or redness in the face and body
  • Weak or fast pulse

Everyone who’s had a systemic reaction to wasp stings, like anaphylaxis, should always carry a fresh, unexpired epinephrine injection or EpiPen as prescribed by a doctor. Epinephrine, or adrenaline, is known as the survival hormone because it will stabilize your heart, return your breathing to normal, and lower your blood pressure during a systemic reaction.

There are more things you can do if you or someone near you experiences anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock.

Treating a Wasp Sting

Hornets, yellow jackets, paper wasps, honey bees (including Africanized bees), and fire ants all have slightly different poison in their stings, but they all affect humans in similar ways. So, there’s no need to stress about which type of insect did the stinging — it’s best to focus on treatment.

None of the following methods will save someone from a systemic reaction. If you experience anaphylaxis, call 911 for immediate emergency medical care.

When the symptoms are not life-threatening, most wasp stings are treatable in your own home. The products and materials listed here can be purchased online or at a local pharmacy. 

Step-By-Step Wasp Sting Treatment

  1. Clean the site of the sting to prevent infection. Lather soap on the area, gently scrub, and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Carefully dry off with a clean towel without irritating the skin further.
  2. Use a cold pack on the site, but be careful not to freeze the skin. Remove the ice about every 20-30 minutes to make sure the skin hasn’t lost blood circulation.
  3. Use a bandage if you’d like. Don’t use adhesive bandages because they can irritate the skin further.
  4. Change the bandage frequently to avoid infection.
  5. Take medications to help reduce your pain, swelling, and itching.

Over-the-Counter Medicine

These medications are specifically designed to help reduce swelling, itching, or pain that wasp stings can cause. Always follow the instructions when taking medication.


Antihistamines are meant to reverse the effects of a chemical the body produces called histamines. Histamines cause you to sneeze, your eyes to water, your nose to run, and your skin and other tissues to swell. Some antihistamine medications also contain decongestants, which help reduce swelling in the sinuses.

Common over-the-counter antihistamines include:

Topical Creams

Hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion both are designed to soothe irritated skin. Another product called Caladryl can be helpful, as it’s essentially a combination of calamine lotion and Benadryl. Just be careful not to use both Benadryl and Caladryl at the same time.

Pain Medication

Acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin), ibuprofen (like the Advil brand), and other NSAIDs help ease your pain and reduce inflammation. Be sure to follow the directions for these as well.

Other Remedies

These suggestions won’t decrease your reaction to wasp stings without being combined with proven medicines and practices. However, they can be effective to help soothe your skin.

Colloidal Oatmeal or Baking Soda may help to soothe skin irritations. Simply add some baking soda or colloidal oatmeal to warm bathwater and soak in the water. Colloidal oatmeal is also sold as a topical cream that can be applied to the skin.

Vinegar could help limit some of the effects of wasp venom. The idea is that the acid in vinegar might react with the alkaline components of wasp venom and neutralize their effects, similar to the reaction of baking soda and vinegar.

Simply soak a cotton ball in white vinegar or apple cider vinegar and press it to the site of the sting. The pressure should help reduce the pain and inflammation. 

Vinegar will not work against bee stings, which are also acidic.

The Difference Between Wasp Stings and Bee Stings

Since wasp and honeybee venoms are very similar, the symptoms are often the same. Honey bees often inject all their venom at once, whereas wasps inject small amounts with each sting. Because of the differences in chemical composition, honeybee stings tend to create more histamines in the body than wasp stings do, so they are more likely to cause an allergic reaction. However, some people have stronger allergic reactions to one type of sting than the other.

While a wasp stinger is straight, a bee stinger is barbed. When a wasp stings, it can remove the stinger and sting repeatedly. When a honeybee stings, the stinger gets caught in the skin and the bee pulls itself away, leaving behind a special venom sac with muscles that continue to pump venom into the victim.

Remove the stinger from your skin using a flat, blunt instrument, such as long fingernails, a credit card, or a dull knife. Do not try to use your fingers, which will only push more venom into your skin. 

What if I’m Stung While I’m Pregnant?

If you are stung during pregnancy, the venom is unlikely to hurt your baby. However, a serious allergic reaction is definitely cause for concern. If you have anaphylaxis while you are pregnant, an epinephrine injection could save you and your baby. 

When your reaction to the sting is minor or moderate, the medications listed above are unlikely to affect your baby during pregnancy. However, some antihistamine products also contain decongestants, which pregnant women should avoid.

Consult your doctor for additional information and advice about what to do to treat wasp stings during your pregnancy.

What if My Child is Stung?

Since they are often unaware of the dangers of wasps and bees, children and toddlers can be highly susceptible to stings. Reduce the risk of your child stepping on a wasp or bee by ensuring that they wear shoes when they go outside. Educate your child about the dangers of wasps and what to do if one comes too close or stings them. 

If your child reacts severely to a sting, go to the emergency room.

Virtually all the medicines listed above have been thoroughly tested and provide instructions for safe dosage amounts for children under a certain age. Alternatively, many medicines have also been developed specifically for children, such as Advil for children.

Discomfort from moderate reactions should disappear naturally. However, you may want to talk to a doctor if the reaction continues or if your child is too uncomfortable to sleep.

Professional Wasp Removal

You may be able to reduce your risk of getting stung around your home by using these DIY methods to treat and prevent wasps. But if you see wasp infestations every year, or if you are severely allergic, call a trustworthy professional to take care of you with an effective solution.

Fox Pest Control is the perfect way to remedy wasp problems and protect your family. Our Pest Pros provide excellent services by creating a custom-made treatment plan specifically designed to meet the needs of your unique situation.

Our family and pet-safe, environmentally friendly products can restore your peace of mind. Allow Fox to take care of the pests for you so you can focus on what matters most.

Fox Pest Control. No Bugs. Simply Better.

What is the Wasp Life Cycle?

With their nasty appearance and painful sting, no wonder these pests are considered one of the most frightening! 

Here are a few things about wasps to help you understand them better so you can avoid getting stung in the future. 

A Word of Caution

If you’ve discovered them hiding under your siding or in the soffits, never try to get rid of wasps on your own. The wrong treatment process could cause the wasps to dig deeper into the house until they burst through the walls and start to sting people. 

At Fox Pest Control, we’ve seen hundreds of wasp cases. Sometimes, the wasps dig into a person’s house in order to safely hide the queen. Other times, the workers are desperate to find a place to hide from the cold. But unfortunately, wasps can also break in when a homeowner tries to get rid of wasps by themselves. 

Especially if you think wasps might be under the house siding, in the soffits, or nesting too close to the house, don’t hesitate to call Fox Pest Control.

How long do wasps live?

  • Average worker wasps live between 12-22 days, depending on the species
  • Drones, which are fertile males, generally live slightly longer than workers
  • Queens typically live around 1 year

The Winter

During the winter, the queen wasp stays hidden from cold weather. She remains in a kind of insect hibernation called “diapause” until the weather is just right.

Common Queen Wasp Hiding Spots:

  • A hollow log
  • A special underground burrow
  • Thick tree bark
  • Inside gutters
  • Under siding
  • Behind brick facades
  • Under roof tiles
  • Inside soffits

The Spring

When the weather warms, the queen wasp is completely by herself. She has a strong drive to produce eggs and start a new generation of wasps.

During the spring, the queen wasp:

  • Emerges from her hiding place
  • Feeds herself
  • Builds a small nest
  • Raises a small brood that eventually helps her with daily tasks
  • Is the only one involved with every task

The Summer

As the year progresses, the nest changes significantly. Eventually, there are enough workers in the nest to take care of all the responsibilities except for laying eggs. In many species, the queen is only allowed to live if she produces enough eggs.

During the Summer:

  • The old queen dies, either of natural causes or the workers of some species will kill her when she doesn’t produce enough eggs. Brutal, but true.
  • In some species, the workers give special food to 2 or 3 of the newest eggs or larvae so they become new queens.
  • The new queens hatch and fight one another for dominance. If one queen hatches before the others, she will kill them before they can claim the throne.
  • If more than one royal survives, one of the queens will dominate the nest and the others will leave and start their own hives.
  • This process is repeated throughout the season multiple times (depending on the wasp species).

The Fall

Fall and winter mean death for wasps in areas where the plants shed their leaves and flowers for the winter. This causes mayhem for the hives and forces the wasps to prepare quickly for winter. 

  • The workers have a strong instinct to continuously look for food until they die, which makes them more and more aggressive as food sources start to run out.
  • After the last batch of eggs hatches, the newest queens search for a mate and store his sperm in their bodies until the next year.
  • When there are no more eggs, the workers lose their sense of purpose and spend all their time looking for food. In this state, the wasps become highly agitated and easily provoked. This is when they divebomb into soda cans, raid picnics, and sting at random.
  • As the weather cools in September and October, the last surviving workers find a place for the queen to hibernate until early May. 
  • Depending on the species, the queens hibernate together or separately. 
  • Eventually, the last worker wasps die of old age, extreme temperatures, or lack of food in late September or early October, after the queens have begun their hibernation.

Got Wasps? Call Fox Today

Getting stung by even a single wasp can seriously ruin your day. Especially if you are allergic to wasp stings, the results can be dangerous. 

Fox Pest Control has dealt with hundreds of wasp problems, and we know what to do. You never have to feel like you need to take care of wasp issues by yourself. 

Our Pest Pros have all the tools and experience needed to get rid of the problem so you feel safe and comfortable in your home again. 

Our products are specifically designed to get rid of these pests so that you can concentrate on what matters most.

Fox Pest Control.

No Bugs. Simply Better.

Recent Posts

Call to Get a Quote
or to Schedule
Same Day* Service
(855) 953-1976


*Call us today before 2 p.m. for a same day, zero-obligation inspection and estimate or to provide pest control & extermination services near you.