What Do Wasps Eat And How To Avoid Attracting Wasps Into Your Home

Home > Blog >  What Do Wasps Eat And How To Avoid Attracting Wasps Into Your Home

Almost nobody likes to see insects crawling or flying in their home without a care in the world. Wasps are particularly scary. It’s easy to think they’re going to attack you, especially when they start flying around a person relentlessly. The best way to prevent wasps from barging into your home is to learn as much as possible about the foods they eat. Read on to learn what do wasps eat and how to avoid having them in your home.

How many wasps are considered infestations?

Noticing a wasp flying around usually isn’t a source of concern. However, if you see several or multiple wasps during the day, it could indicate a wasp nest is nearby. One wasp nest can contain around 1000 wasps. So, if you notice 10 or more wasps during a day, you can be confident that their nest is somewhere close.

Signs of wasp infestation

The biggest signs of wasp infestation include:

  • Constantly noticing wasps flying around your property
  • Wasps in the house
  • Wasps coming and going from the same spot
  • Chewed wood or holes in the wood around the home 
  • Loud and consistent buzzing noise
  • Presence of a wasp nest

What attracts wasps?

Infestations don't happen out of the blue; they're not accidents. Wasps get inside a home or build a nest on your property for several reasons. They are attracted to:

  • Safe refuge in the form of insulated walls, crevices, and hidden cavities and cracks
  • Insect availability in yard or garden
  • Certain foods (more about this below)
  • Flowers
  • Garbage 

What do wasps eat?

Like other insects, wasps are attracted by food. Easy access to some foods makes them more likely to get into your home. 

Specific diets may vary from one species of wasps to another. Their age also plays a role in diet choices. Young wasps, when they’re still larvae, eat insects that their parents have killed and chopped up. Adult wasps, both social and solitary, feed on sugars mainly. In the wild, they obtain these sugars from flower nectar and honeydew (secretion produced by aphids). 

The reason young wasps eat insects and older wasps consume sugars are simple – the latter don't live very long, which is why they don't need much protein. Instead, they prioritize carbohydrates.

The wasps you see flying around in your home or around your property are adult social wasps that look for food.

While some foods eat sugars mainly, yellow jackets eat human food too. That’s why you can find those wasps flying around garbage cans.

Why do wasps like sugars?

Almost all insects like sugar and wasps are no exception. Sugars are particularly interesting to adult wasps near the end of their life. In fact, this is when they become particularly annoying. Generally speaking, anything sweet works for wasps. They are attracted to fruits, open juice or soda bottles, honey, jam, desserts, and other sweet foods.

Wasp’s love for sugar is down to the fact that yellow jacket larvae secrete a sugary substance that worker wasps consume. This substance is the primary source of sugar that adult wasps eat during the summer. Trophallaxis is the name of the process through which food is transferred from one community member to another. 

As the summer is almost over and the fall is just around the corner, production of the sugary substance decreases. That happens because worker wasps come across fewer sources of meat, which is why they’re unable to feed their young. For that reason, wasps go around and look for other sources of sugar. This also explains why they’re after human food.

Do wasps eat meat?

You have probably noticed wasps aren't leaving you alone while you're eating meat. They are attracted to meat because they use it to feed young larvae. While larvae can eat solid foods, including meat, adult wasps can only consume food in liquid form, which is why they love nectar and sweet juices from foods.

When they obtain meat, wasps create protein pellets to feed their larvae. So, if you have meat around, wasps may swarm around it.

How to avoid attracting wasps

Invasion of insects, in this case, wasp infestation, can be incredibly frustrating. The whole problem becomes more overwhelming for parents of young children. Fortunately, it’s possible to prevent these problems and minimize the risk of wasps getting into your home. Below, you can see how to make it happen.

Keep the trash covered

Wasps are particularly interested in homes and yards that provide easy access to the trash. Keeping garbage bins uncovered can attract wasps that are looking for leftovers of human food. For that reason, the most important thing to do to avoid having these “guests” in your home is to keep the trash covered both inside and outside. Seal the lids of the garbage bins tightly so the wasps can’t sneak into them. The best option is to use the bins with a secure locking lid, but bungee cords are also helpful. 

If you’re trying out composting, you may notice wasps are flying around it as well. You may want to consider moving the composting pile, preferably somewhere indoors.

Cover your food

These stinging insects aren't just out there for your garbage but for food as well. To prevent wasps from getting into your home or swarming around the yard, make sure to cover the food. Sweet foods and meat are particularly important here. Keep sugary foods and drinks out of their reach, and cover them properly, making sure there is no room for wasps to get inside. 

Fix the cracks

Wasps are small. They can get into your home through tiny cracks such as those around the edges of siding and along the power lines. Holes in window screens are also common entry points for wasps.

An important preventative measure to avoid having wasps in your home is to seal or patch up the cracks, holes, and other areas through which these stinging insects can get inside. The best time to do so is in the fall when adult worker wasps die. Or you can do it in the early spring before they become active.

For the best results, you may want to use a combination of expandable foam sealants or caulk. Doing so will prevent insects from getting inside your home, and it can make your house more energy efficient.

An important thing to remember is that you should never seal the nest inside the wall if you find it there. Although you may think this is a good idea and wasps are bound to die, that’s not going to happen. They can find their way out and resort to extreme measures such as chewing out your drywall. 

Use essential oil

Peppermint oil can help repel various insects, including wasps. One study found that some essential oils, including peppermint oil, have great potential to repel wasps in an efficient and environmentally sound manner. Combine peppermint oil and water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture along the entry points through which wasps get inside your home. Peppermint works because wasps can't stand its smell.

Besides peppermint oil, other essential oils are also helpful. A good example is a blend of clove, geranium, and lemongrass essential oils. The goal is to combine a few drops of each essential oil with water (or soap too) and spray on areas where wasps like to build nests. These areas include eaves, crevices, ledges, and other similar spots.

Use water and soap

A combination of water and soap poses as an eco-friendly repellent or wasp remover. Spraying this mixture on the wasp's nest allows the soap to clog the spiracles (breathing pores), and they die. Although it's useful to know this preventative strategy exists, killing wasps isn't always a great idea. Learn more about it further in this post.

Hang wasp traps

Hanging wasp traps is one of the most common strategies to prevent these stinging insects from getting inside your home. These traps are simple. They contain liquid that attracts wasps; they get inside and drown. While it's good to know this strategy is available, it's not the best idea for people who want to prevent or get rid of wasps in a more mindful manner. 

Prioritize plants that repel wasps

Wasps love flowers for obvious reasons. But they aren’t fans of all plants. So, to prevent wasps from getting inside your house, you may want to opt for wasp-repelling plants. These include marigold, geranium, mint, basil, pennyroyal, and wormwood.

Why it’s not wise to kill wasps?

Many people are scared of wasps. That’s why they may be inclined to the idea of killing these insects and destroying their nests. That said, wasps do more good for our environment than we realize. For instance, they destroy insects and pests that carry human diseases. Also, killing wasps can make others more aggressive. Always wait for the professionals, pest control experts, to recommend the most practical way to get rid of the wasps instead of going into the action on your own.

What to do if I suspect there’s a wasp nest around my house?

If you suspect there’s a wasp colony somewhere around your house, the best thing to do is to call professionals. Pest control experts will carry out a thorough inspection to locate the nest and take care of it. This is a much better option than doing it on your own. Untrained individuals may make mistakes that provoke wasps. Plus, it’s safer to allow professionals to handle this task.

The exact plan of action depends on the species of wasps. Common species in the United States include:

  • Bald-faced hornets – active from spring through fall, mainly during daylight hours. An average nest may contain 100-400 hornets. They have a long and smooth body.
  • European hornets – are found in 31 U.S. states, and they prefer building nests in darker locations. These hornets have a long body with two sets of wings.
  • Mud dauber wasps – these wasps have a slender abdomen with dark or clear wings, and they're solitary wasps. That means they don't live in colonies.
  • Paper wasps – these stinging insects with a slender waist and long legs are semi-social. They aren't aggressive but may sting when provoked.
  • Yellow jackets –have two sets of wings, a narrow waist, and a lance-like stinger. Up to 1000 yellow jackets and workers are in an average nest.

Are wasps dangerous?

While not dangerous per se, wasps can be territorial, persistent, and aggressive. They rarely attack for no reason. Most wasps attack when they are provoked or feel threatened. If you’re scared of wasps, you should still try to remain still as much as possible. Don’t make sudden moves. People who want to go away should do so gently and move in a straight line. This ensures you don’t provoke the wasp. 

If you’re not feeling safe after seeing a wasp, or more of them, you may want to consider contacting pest control so they can check to see whether you have something to worry about or not.

How long does it take for wasps to build their nest?

Wasp nests don’t appear suddenly. They work hard to build the nest. It may take four to six months for wasps to build a nest. These stinging insects usually work on building a nest from spring through summer as their colony is expanding. For that reason, you may want to inspect areas where wasps prefer building their nests to see whether something’s there. If you do find it, don’t touch it. 

Conclusion

Wasps can be aggressive, annoying, and territorial. They can sting when provoked, but at the same time, they’re good for the environment. Having wasps in your home or property isn’t fun. They are attracted to flowers and food such as sugary items and meat. Cover your garbage and food properly, seal the cracks, and opt for wasp-repelling plants. There are many things you can do to prevent wasps from getting inside your home. But, the best thing to do is to call professionals.

References 

https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/what-do-wasps-do.html
https://extension.unh.edu/sites/default/files/migrated_unmanaged_files/Resource000532_Rep554.pdf
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23081867/

What Do Wasps Eat and How to Avoid Attracting Wasps into Your Home

Almost nobody likes to see insects crawling or flying in their home without a care in the world. Wasps are particularly scary. It’s easy to think they’re going to attack you, especially when they start flying around a person relentlessly. The best way to prevent wasps from barging into your home is to learn as much as possible about the foods they eat. Read on to learn what do wasps eat and how to avoid having them in your home.

How many wasps are considered infestations?

Noticing a wasp flying around usually isn’t a source of concern. However, if you see several or multiple wasps during the day, it could indicate a wasp nest is nearby. One wasp nest can contain around 1000 wasps. So, if you notice 10 or more wasps during a day, you can be confident that their nest is somewhere close.

Signs of wasp infestation

The biggest signs of wasp infestation include:

  • Constantly noticing wasps flying around your property
  • Wasps in the house
  • Wasps coming and going from the same spot
  • Chewed wood or holes in the wood around the home 
  • Loud and consistent buzzing noise
  • Presence of a wasp nest

What attracts wasps?

Infestations don't happen out of the blue; they're not accidents. Wasps get inside a home or build a nest on your property for several reasons. They are attracted to:

  • Safe refuge in the form of insulated walls, crevices, and hidden cavities and cracks
  • Insect availability in yard or garden
  • Certain foods (more about this below)
  • Flowers
  • Garbage 

What do wasps eat?

Like other insects, wasps are attracted by food. Easy access to some foods makes them more likely to get into your home. 

Specific diets may vary from one species of wasps to another. Their age also plays a role in diet choices. Young wasps, when they’re still larvae, eat insects that their parents have killed and chopped up. Adult wasps, both social and solitary, feed on sugars mainly. In the wild, they obtain these sugars from flower nectar and honeydew (secretion produced by aphids). 

The reason young wasps eat insects and older wasps consume sugars are simple – the latter don't live very long, which is why they don't need much protein. Instead, they prioritize carbohydrates.

The wasps you see flying around in your home or around your property are adult social wasps that look for food.

While some foods eat sugars mainly, yellow jackets eat human food too. That’s why you can find those wasps flying around garbage cans.

Why do wasps like sugars?

Almost all insects like sugar and wasps are no exception. Sugars are particularly interesting to adult wasps near the end of their life. In fact, this is when they become particularly annoying. Generally speaking, anything sweet works for wasps. They are attracted to fruits, open juice or soda bottles, honey, jam, desserts, and other sweet foods.

Wasp’s love for sugar is down to the fact that yellow jacket larvae secrete a sugary substance that worker wasps consume. This substance is the primary source of sugar that adult wasps eat during the summer. Trophallaxis is the name of the process through which food is transferred from one community member to another. 

As the summer is almost over and the fall is just around the corner, production of the sugary substance decreases. That happens because worker wasps come across fewer sources of meat, which is why they’re unable to feed their young. For that reason, wasps go around and look for other sources of sugar. This also explains why they’re after human food.

Do wasps eat meat?

You have probably noticed wasps aren't leaving you alone while you're eating meat. They are attracted to meat because they use it to feed young larvae. While larvae can eat solid foods, including meat, adult wasps can only consume food in liquid form, which is why they love nectar and sweet juices from foods.

When they obtain meat, wasps create protein pellets to feed their larvae. So, if you have meat around, wasps may swarm around it.

How to avoid attracting wasps

Invasion of insects, in this case, wasp infestation, can be incredibly frustrating. The whole problem becomes more overwhelming for parents of young children. Fortunately, it’s possible to prevent these problems and minimize the risk of wasps getting into your home. Below, you can see how to make it happen.

Keep the trash covered

Wasps are particularly interested in homes and yards that provide easy access to the trash. Keeping garbage bins uncovered can attract wasps that are looking for leftovers of human food. For that reason, the most important thing to do to avoid having these “guests” in your home is to keep the trash covered both inside and outside. Seal the lids of the garbage bins tightly so the wasps can’t sneak into them. The best option is to use the bins with a secure locking lid, but bungee cords are also helpful. 

If you’re trying out composting, you may notice wasps are flying around it as well. You may want to consider moving the composting pile, preferably somewhere indoors.

Cover your food

These stinging insects aren't just out there for your garbage but for food as well. To prevent wasps from getting into your home or swarming around the yard, make sure to cover the food. Sweet foods and meat are particularly important here. Keep sugary foods and drinks out of their reach, and cover them properly, making sure there is no room for wasps to get inside. 

Fix the cracks

Wasps are small. They can get into your home through tiny cracks such as those around the edges of siding and along the power lines. Holes in window screens are also common entry points for wasps.

An important preventative measure to avoid having wasps in your home is to seal or patch up the cracks, holes, and other areas through which these stinging insects can get inside. The best time to do so is in the fall when adult worker wasps die. Or you can do it in the early spring before they become active.

For the best results, you may want to use a combination of expandable foam sealants or caulk. Doing so will prevent insects from getting inside your home, and it can make your house more energy efficient.

An important thing to remember is that you should never seal the nest inside the wall if you find it there. Although you may think this is a good idea and wasps are bound to die, that’s not going to happen. They can find their way out and resort to extreme measures such as chewing out your drywall. 

Use essential oil

Peppermint oil can help repel various insects, including wasps. One study found that some essential oils, including peppermint oil, have great potential to repel wasps in an efficient and environmentally sound manner. Combine peppermint oil and water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture along the entry points through which wasps get inside your home. Peppermint works because wasps can't stand its smell.

Besides peppermint oil, other essential oils are also helpful. A good example is a blend of clove, geranium, and lemongrass essential oils. The goal is to combine a few drops of each essential oil with water (or soap too) and spray on areas where wasps like to build nests. These areas include eaves, crevices, ledges, and other similar spots.

Use water and soap

A combination of water and soap poses as an eco-friendly repellent or wasp remover. Spraying this mixture on the wasp's nest allows the soap to clog the spiracles (breathing pores), and they die. Although it's useful to know this preventative strategy exists, killing wasps isn't always a great idea. Learn more about it further in this post.

Hang wasp traps

Hanging wasp traps is one of the most common strategies to prevent these stinging insects from getting inside your home. These traps are simple. They contain liquid that attracts wasps; they get inside and drown. While it's good to know this strategy is available, it's not the best idea for people who want to prevent or get rid of wasps in a more mindful manner. 

Prioritize plants that repel wasps

Wasps love flowers for obvious reasons. But they aren’t fans of all plants. So, to prevent wasps from getting inside your house, you may want to opt for wasp-repelling plants. These include marigold, geranium, mint, basil, pennyroyal, and wormwood.

Why it’s not wise to kill wasps?

Many people are scared of wasps. That’s why they may be inclined to the idea of killing these insects and destroying their nests. That said, wasps do more good for our environment than we realize. For instance, they destroy insects and pests that carry human diseases. Also, killing wasps can make others more aggressive. Always wait for the professionals, pest control experts, to recommend the most practical way to get rid of the wasps instead of going into the action on your own.

What to do if I suspect there’s a wasp nest around my house?

If you suspect there’s a wasp colony somewhere around your house, the best thing to do is to call professionals. Pest control experts will carry out a thorough inspection to locate the nest and take care of it. This is a much better option than doing it on your own. Untrained individuals may make mistakes that provoke wasps. Plus, it’s safer to allow professionals to handle this task.

The exact plan of action depends on the species of wasps. Common species in the United States include:

  • Bald-faced hornets – active from spring through fall, mainly during daylight hours. An average nest may contain 100-400 hornets. They have a long and smooth body.
  • European hornets – are found in 31 U.S. states, and they prefer building nests in darker locations. These hornets have a long body with two sets of wings.
  • Mud dauber wasps – these wasps have a slender abdomen with dark or clear wings, and they're solitary wasps. That means they don't live in colonies.
  • Paper wasps – these stinging insects with a slender waist and long legs are semi-social. They aren't aggressive but may sting when provoked.
  • Yellow jackets –have two sets of wings, a narrow waist, and a lance-like stinger. Up to 1000 yellow jackets and workers are in an average nest.

Are wasps dangerous?

While not dangerous per se, wasps can be territorial, persistent, and aggressive. They rarely attack for no reason. Most wasps attack when they are provoked or feel threatened. If you’re scared of wasps, you should still try to remain still as much as possible. Don’t make sudden moves. People who want to go away should do so gently and move in a straight line. This ensures you don’t provoke the wasp. 

If you’re not feeling safe after seeing a wasp, or more of them, you may want to consider contacting pest control so they can check to see whether you have something to worry about or not.

How long does it take for wasps to build their nest?

Wasp nests don’t appear suddenly. They work hard to build the nest. It may take four to six months for wasps to build a nest. These stinging insects usually work on building a nest from spring through summer as their colony is expanding. For that reason, you may want to inspect areas where wasps prefer building their nests to see whether something’s there. If you do find it, don’t touch it. 

Conclusion

Wasps can be aggressive, annoying, and territorial. They can sting when provoked, but at the same time, they’re good for the environment. Having wasps in your home or property isn’t fun. They are attracted to flowers and food such as sugary items and meat. Cover your garbage and food properly, seal the cracks, and opt for wasp-repelling plants. There are many things you can do to prevent wasps from getting inside your home. But, the best thing to do is to call professionals.

References 

https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/what-do-wasps-do.html

https://extension.unh.edu/sites/default/files/migrated_unmanaged_files/Resource000532_Rep554.pdf

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23081867/

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