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How to Keep Hornets & Wasps Away

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Scott Miller/Demand Media

Wasps and hornets are bothersome, yet necessary, insects. But even if they are an important part of our ecosystem, nothing is quite as annoying as hornets and wasps flying around your yard while you’re trying to enjoy a day outside. In addition, these insects may pose a health risk—hornet and wasp stings can hurt quite badly, and some people are allergic to these stings. If you need to rid your garden of hornets and wasps, choose an eco-friendly method rather than using a commercial toxic insecticide.

Repellent Spray

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Scott Miller/Demand Media

Fill a clean, empty spray bottle with ½ oz. citronella oil, 1/8 oz. pennyroyal oil, ¼ oz. lavender oil, 1/8 oz. tea tree oil and 1/8 oz. jojoba oil. These essential oils can be purchased at most health food stores or pharmacies.

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Scott Miller/Demand Media

Shake the bottle well to thoroughly combine the ingredients.

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Scott Miller/Demand Media

Spray the mixture around the yard, on outdoor furniture, and even on clothing to deter hornets and wasps.

Hornet and Wasp Trap

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Scott Miller/Demand Media

Thoroughly rinse out an empty 2-liter soda bottle with plain water.

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Scott Miller/Demand Media

Cut the top off of the bottle. Use a sharp knife and make the cut carefully at the point where the sides of the bottle begin to even out with the width of the bottle. On most 2-liter soda bottles, this point is just above the label.

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Scott Miller/Demand Media

Place bait in the bottom of the bottle. Beer, sugary soda, fruit juice, and wine are some examples of good wasp and hornet bait. Place about 2 inches of bait into the bottom of the bottle.

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Scott Miller/Demand Media

Situate the top part of the bottle that you cut off upside down into the bottom part of the bottle (without the cap). Make sure the two pieces fit snugly with one another. Apply a few pieces of duct tape along the edges if the pieces are not snug.

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Scott Miller/Demand Media

Place the trap in places you’ve seen wasps. The idea is for the wasps and hornets to fly down into the funnel of the trap to get to the bait and drown before they can get out.

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Scott Miller/Demand Media

Empty the trap and refill it with new bait every few days, or as you begin to see dead insects in the bottle. Place the trap in a large bucket of water for about 30 minutes before emptying it to make sure all the wasps and hornets are dead before you clean it out.

Tip

Don’t entice wasps and hornets to come by you during an outdoor picnic. Keep food and beverages covered with lids and wipe up any spills promptly. Keep garbage cans covered with lids.

Warning

Avoid spraying the repellent spray directly on the skin. Do not spray the repellent in the eyes or mouth. Never chase wasps or hornets to try to kill them. They are aggressive insects and will only get angry if you chase them.

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