Both bees and wasps help with pollination, and they are a crucial link in the ecosystem. However, wasps are not a pretty sight and could cause a threat if you have a small garden that is heavily trafficked.
Stumbling onto their ground nests is easy, and could lead to a painful outcome. Ground wasps and hornets are super protective and could sting you right away.
Ground wasps make their nests in sandy soil because they can create holes in it without any problems. Just like every animal that digs holes in a yard, they hate lawnmowers or anyone disturbing their peace.
If you like to spend time landscaping and don’t want to worry about getting stung, it could be useful to learn how to get rid of ground wasps.
- How to Get Rid of Ground Wasps: 3 Methods
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you shop through the links on YardThyme, we may earn an affiliate's commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. For more information, read full disclosure here.
How to Get Rid of Ground Wasps: 3 Methods
Before we start, it is good to learn what kind of wasps live in the ground. We can differentiate between two types – social and solitary wasps.
Social wasps build huge colonies, while solitary ones create a hole only for them and the larvae. For instance, great golden digger wasps are always alone, while the ground-nesting yellowjacket is a part of a colony.
Wasps have distinctive black and yellow bodies that are long and narrow. You can quickly spot the difference between them and ground-nesting bees.
Ground wasps have a peculiar diet and target grasshoppers as well as spiders. Remember that wasps can be aggressive, so protection such as gloves is necessary.
Use Water and Soap
Since you already have water and soap in your household, this might be one of the easiest ways to deal with ground wasps. But before you go spraying their nest, you need to prevent the bugs from escaping (and possibly attacking you).
Evenings are the best time to spray a wasp nest. Once the sun goes down, cover the holes with a piece of fabric, and secure it with nails or pins.
Prepare a mixture of water and liquid soap in a bucket and pour over the holes. The fabric will allow the liquid to flow into the nest and keep the wasps in the ground. The soap disables the bugs while water drowns them. Leave the fabric covering until morning, and then remove it.
The Powerful Powdered Deterrents
Powdered deterrents such as talcum powder, boric acid, and cinnamon can solve the problem quickly. Sprinkling boric acid around into the hole will poison the wasps. This method usually works right away. However, repeat this process for a couple of nights in a row to be sure the wasps are gone.
Since cinnamon and talcum powder act as repellents, use them after you are done with boric acid to prevent ground wasps from coming back. Also, seal the existing holes with bricks or rocks. Wasps rarely return to their previous nests, but repellents are recommended just in case.
DIY Wasp Trap
Wasp traps are super effective in small yards. You can make a trap super fast because all you need is a large plastic bottle and some jam.
Cut off the top of the bottle, preferably at the shoulder. Fill the lower part of the bottle with water and use a sweet jam on the neck. Flip the bottleneck and place it back into the section that holds water.
So if you want to know what to use to kill ground wasps, this DIY trap is a great answer. Wasps will be attracted to the jam and get inside. Finding a way out is difficult, and the wasps will eventually drown. You could also use soap detergent to make the flying impossible.
Remember to clean out the trap every single day.
Will Diatomaceous Earth kill ground wasps?
Diatomaceous Earth is insecticide dust that is sprayed into a nest. It is not toxic to humans, but you should still make sure not to inhale it because it could irritate your lungs.
Diatomaceous Earth is deadly to wasps and other pests because it sucks out the oil from their bodies, drying them out.
Considering that wasps could be aggressive, you need to take standard precautions before you spray their nests with this insecticide. For instance, use a very long rod to apply this chemical. It will give you enough space to move to a safe place if the wasps start swarming out of the nest.
How do I get rid of ground wasps without killing them?
Ground wasps love to make holes in dry soil. You could try getting the ground wet and keeping it that way. Lightly spray the area with water and continue to do so for a couple of days.
Moist soil might persuade them that your garden is not welcoming anymore, and they will move away.
Just remember to keep a safe distance when spraying the ground with water.
What smell do wasps hate?
Wasps are not fond of plants such as thyme, citronella, peppermint, eucalyptus, and wormwood.
You can either start growing some of them in your garden or use essential oils. It is an excellent way to keep the wasp population under control while making the yard look pretty and even more green.
So if you want to learn how to prevent ground wasps, start growing these plants in spring.
Does killing a wasp attract more?
While not entirely true, researchers have uncovered something interesting regarding this topic. If you are dealing with a colony of wasps, killing one member will alert the rest of them that the threat is near.
A dying wasp releases a chemical that is recognized by the colony. It will not attract more wasps, but they will be on a lookout and ready to attack.
What time of year are the wasps most active?
Wasps start building their colonies in April, but they are most active in warmer months. It means you will be seeing more of them through May, June, and July. The wasp population is at its peak in summer.
They start dying in August, September, and October.
Will wasps return to a sprayed nest?
Ground wasps are intelligent creatures, and most of them will not come back after you spray their nest. They know it is a dangerous place, and some of them might try to find a new place to live, while others could go dormant.
Is it safe to mow the yard if I have ground wasps?
If you mow your lawn regularly, you have to know that wasps could attack you if you happen to bump into their nests.
Ground wasps can be aggressive if they sense somebody is trying to destroy their homes. They see you as a threat, and you could end up with at least a couple of stings.
You could work on their schedule and mow the grass in the evenings because the wasps are not active during the night. If you don’t know the location of the nests in your yard, don’t use your lawnmower just yet. Figure out where they are and how to get rid of the wasp nest in the ground first.
Ground wasps are tricky to deal with, especially if you are not even aware they are inhabiting your garden. These bees don’t like to be disturbed and see a danger in everything.
Stumbling upon their nest with a lawnmower could be an uncomfortable experience. So if you have noticed an unusual number of wasps flying around your home, it might be time to examine the ground.
Once you find their nest, you have to learn how to kill ground wasps or remove them from your yard. There are several methods out there that don’t include harsh chemicals and are safe for pets.
Soap and water mixture is my personal favorite, and it has worked for me several times. Remember to stay safe whatever you do because the wasps can really sting.