Just in time for the wasp season, we all ask ourselves: How do you get rid of the pests? There are a variety of tips circulating on the Internet every summer, from rubbing copper coins to dummy wasp nests – but do these tricks really help? We researched and found out how you can naturally avoid the wasp infestation in the garden.
How wasps tick
Only two types of wasps are annoying to us humans: The German wasp and the common wasp literally fly on our dishes such as sausage or ice cream as well as on sugary drinks. All other wasp types leave us alone – they are only interested in insect larvae and other animals.
Why is the wasp buzzing around our food? They like to eat sweets themselves and are also constantly looking for protein-rich food that they need to feed their brood.
The wasp period typically begins in August when the wasp state has reached its maximum size. At this point, the older wasps no longer have to worry about raising the brood, leaving them more time to provide themselves with sugary food.
This attracts wasps: smells, especially of sweet foods or overripe fruit.
This is what makes wasps aggressive: violent movements and blowing (the carbon dioxide in the human breath is considered an alarm signal).
The sting is only used when wasps feel threatened.
Chasing wasps – that’s what the Internet advises
In proportion to our wasp annoyance, the number of wasp articles in the media is also increasing. If you google “drive off wasps” or similar terms, you will come across a seemingly endless list of results. And from all sides the “5 best tips for fighting wasps” or “10 home remedies for wasps” are advertised.
But which of these actually works, and what are they just ducks?
So let’s take a look at the most common suggestions for fighting the wasp infestation:
1. Light the coffee powder
An old trick that wasps are supposed to drive out is burning coffee powder in a fire-proof bowl.
True or false?
Not correct. Burning coffee powder is considered a secret recipe, but ultimately helps little against the striped pests. The biologist and wasp researcher Lars Krogmann explains that wasps can “perceive the smallest scent molecules”. In his opinion, the roasted aromas released would “certainly not irritate the animals”.
2. Essential oils
Wasps and other insects are said to be driven off by the use of essential oils.
True or false?
True. Wasps do not like certain smells: natural essential oils such as peppermint or lavender in a fragrance lamp can help to keep the black and yellow pests away.
3. Lure wasps to another feeding location
Luring wasps with lemonade or sweet fruit, especially grapes, to a more distant feeding place so that you can sit at the table in peace – that’s a nice idea.
True or false?
Certainly true. As part of “Jugend forscht”, two schoolchildren found that wasps were attracted to overripe grapes that were set up five to ten meters away. However, wasps looking for food are not limited to a specific place: they are guaranteed to come to our dining table if it smells seductive there. In addition, distraction feeding only attracts more wasps.
No wasp stops at sweet fruits and drinks. Distraction maneuvers help only to a limited extent.
4. Copper coins
Rubbing copper coins between your fingers and spreading them on the table is supposed to keep wasps away: Allegedly, the pests don’t like the smell of copper.
True or false?
Wrong, explains Christoph Droesser of Time: “I interviewed several entomologists and ecologists – none believed the story, and there is obviously no scientific literature on it.” His self-experiment also failed – and the trick is also completely outside the German-speaking world unknown.
That copper coins sell wasps is a German misconception.
5. The paper ball
The Bild Zeitung swears by crumpled paper shopping bags that are hung at head height: “The brown ball resembles a wasp nest and signals to some wasp species that there is already a swarm here.”
True or false?
Wrong, experts know. “In general, you can say that all species whose nests you see – hanging freely in the bushes or under the shed roof – can be assigned to the” unproblematic “species that disappear early.” The two wasp species that plague us in summer build their nests namely in burrows in the ground or in dark cavities – a hanging paper ball will not impress you much.
6. Avoid colorful clothing
Wasps fly in bright colors – so it is often better not to dress too conspicuously.
True or false?
Wrong, says Professor Dr. Heinz Melhorn in an interview. Wasps, according to the insectologist, “do not react to colors, but to smells.” So it’s better not to use ice cream than to wear your bright yellow favorite T-shirt.
Sweet ice cream is tempting for wasps – unlike bees, they are only interested in sweet smells, not in bright colors!
7. Wasp trap with attractants
Traps filled with beer or lemonade are often cited as the ultimate remedy.
True or false?
Certainly true. Wasps are attracted to the sweet drinks. But especially weak animals drown in it, active and healthy wasps escape the trap on their own. In addition, it cannot stop the approach of further wasps.
Incidentally, the wasp expert strongly advises against such traps, since they mean an agonizing death for the insects.
Defense against wasps: tips and tricks for garden owners
Garden owners often come into conflict with wasps. The most annoying are the black and yellow tabby skin wings around the cake table. But also wasp nests worry many garden friends. We have put together important tips and tips for dealing with wasps in the garden.
Wasp protection tips for garden lovers
Rely on plants: mint, lemon balm and lavender can not tolerate beings. In a pretty flower pot, these plants also give us the perfect garden decoration.
Rotten wood lying around in the garden should be removed in good time (i.e. in spring). Because it is ideal for the wasp nest building between April and May!
You should not treat garden furniture with wood care products or polish, because their smell attracts wasps as well as perfume.
You should also quickly remove fall fruit and decaying fruit, so as not to attract hungry two-wingers.
Dispose of animal carcasses as soon as possible, because wasps do not stop at carrion.
The sugary secretion of aphids also attracts wasps. Aphids should not only be made harmless out of love for your plants!
For a grill party or a coffee party in the garden, the following applies: Put food on the table just before you eat and clear away any leftovers quickly. Cover sugary drinks and preferably with a straw
Furthermore, keep calm when wasps come near you. The insects feel threatened by wildly beating around or even blowing on them and become aggressive.
Fall fruit magically attracts wasps – so dispose of them quickly if you don’t want to attract wasps!
There is no magic formula for wasp protection! But if you are well informed, take precautions and behave carefully, you can live peacefully with wasps.
Incidentally, the tips that the satirical page “The Postillon” gives are not really serious. But admittedly, a knight’s armor definitely protects against wasp stings!
A wasp nest in the garden is initially very unsettling for many. After all, the insects are considered aggressive and prickly. But there is nothing about this bad reputation: Wasps do not sting per se. Only if they are cornered and want to defend themselves will they become aggressive. The nests that we discover under the roof of the garden shed or on the protected wall of the pavilion also come from those wasp species that do not become a nuisance to us humans.
Don’t worry: The residents of such a free-hanging wasp nest leave us humans alone.
Therefore: Only in an emergency should you have wasp nests removed, for example if there is a risk to small children or allergy sufferers. Moving or even destroying a nest can be dangerous. Be sure to consult experts! You can find more information at Wespendienst or at NABU.
Why you shouldn’t kill wasps
Wasps, like bees, are protected. So you mustn’t kill the animals for no reason. Although the yellow-black insects have a bad reputation, wasps only become aggressive when they feel immediately threatened and cornered.
Wasps are very useful animals: they hunt mosquitoes, spiders, aphids, flies and other pests that are annoying or even harmful to us. In this way, they contribute to biological pest control and are important regulators in the ecosystem.
In many animals, such as birds, wasps are popular as food.
In addition, wasps make a valuable contribution to the pollination of plants in spring. While bees only travel in dry weather, wasps pollinate flowers even in the rain.
The killing of individual animals irritates their peers and makes them aggressive.