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How to Keep Wasps Out of Birdhouses

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birdhouse image by Igor Zhorov from Fotolia.com

Tip

Try to select a brand of soap with as little scent as possible, as perfumed soaps may repel birds and sweet soaps may attract bees.

Mount your birdhouses on metal or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) poles if possible to prevent predation from rodents and other small mammals. Never buy or build a birdhouse with a perch below the entrance; the nesting birds do not need a perch, and it makes it easy for predators to enter the birdhouse.

Warning

Use petroleum jelly to coat the birdhouse’s interior only as a last resort, as petroleum products can be harmful to birds.

A birdhouse can brighten up even an urban yard by bringing birdsong into the area. Such enclosures draw many varieties of small nesting birds; all you have to do is mount one or more in your yard, and the birds will come. Unfortunately, birdhouses also attract unwanted pests and predators. If wasps or bees take up residency in your birdhouse before birds can, they will make hives, become a bother for you as well as the birds and may be difficult to eradicate without using poisons that may harm or repel birds who may wish to nest there later.

Dismount the birdhouse from its perch. Use a straight or step ladder if necessary to reach the birdhouse and remove it from its mount, using the claw end of a hammer or a screwdriver if needed, depending on the method used to attach it to the support, whether it is a post, a pole or a tree.

Open the birdhouse or remove the roof. You may have to pull out a few nails with the claw end of a hammer or remove a few screws with a screwdriver to do this, depending on the type of birdhouse you have.

Rub a bar of soap over the interior walls and ceiling of the enclosure, coating these surfaces completely. This will make it very difficult for wasps or bees to affix their hive within the birdhouse.

Replace the birdhouse’s roof or reassemble it. Replace the screws where they belong or hammer in new nails.

Remount the birdhouse. Use the same ladder to carry the birdhouse up to its perch and mount it where it belongs, using the same method used when you bought it.

Line the interior walls and ceiling with plastic wrap or aluminum foil if wasps or bees continue to invade your birdhouse; this will prevent hives from sticking.

Coat the interior walls and ceiling of the birdhouse with petroleum jelly if the problem persists. This will prevent wasp and beehives from adhering to these surfaces just as the soap should.

Clean and seal the birdhouse when unused. When the nesting birds abandon the birdhouse for the season (usually anywhere from late summer through fall), clean it out as much as possible and plug the hole of the enclosure with whatever is available (a wad of cloth will work fine). This will help to prevent unwanted pests from taking up residency.

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