How to keep wasps away from the smells they hate (updated) (2023)

There are a number of smells that wasps hate and knowing them can be very helpful when trying to repel these insects.

But warding off these stubborn bugs is easier said than done. In fact, this is one of the most common pest-related concerns we hear from homeowners!

In this guide, you'll learn how to keep wasps away using scents they hate. Trust us, you'll be happy to read it.


  • What attracts wasps?
  • How to Repel Wasps With Scents They Hate
  • Why is it important to deter wasps
  • Other methods to keep wasps away

What attracts wasps?

Wasps are common but misunderstood insects. They are often mistaken for bees and often pollinate plants in much the same way. However, wasps do not produce honey.

Also, wasps tend to be more aggressive and a lot more annoying!

These flying pests have a knack for creating invasive nests in areas close to human habitation. For example, they like to build lodges on porches, near swimming pools, and around hidden cracks or crevices along exterior walls.

Like most insects, there are two main attractions (food and shelter).

How to keep wasps away from the smells they hate (updated) (1)

You are most likely to encounter wasps during the warmer months and just before the onset of winter.When the temperature rises, the queen wasps wake up from hibernation and immediately start foraging. You need to get stronger to lay eggs and start a fast growing colony.

There are approximately 30,000 species of wasps out there, and preferred diets can vary from one species of wasp to another. However, most eat protein-based snacks and sugary meals. Interestingly, your preference depends on the season.

In the summer, when they return to activity after hibernation, proteins are the main attraction. You can see queens flying close to the ground in search of insects, eggs and food. Or you can see them hanging out at their summer cookout!

In autumn, wasps prefer sugary foods. To find it, they look for fallen fruit, sugary drinks in your trash, and anything else they can get their hands on.

No matter the time of year, don't be surprised to see wasps around your garbage can, compost pile or kitchen window. Homes have many potential sources of food, which is why they tend to build nests nearby.

Your home also provides many types of shelter, which is a must during the fall months. Males die after impregnating females. Queens will live, but they need to eat as much as possible before hibernation.

Because of this, it is quite common for wasps to show aggressive behavior in search of food and shelter as winter approaches. That's why it's so important to use scents that wasps hate to drive them away.

How to Repel Wasps With Scents They Hate

While your home and yard can be a gold mine for wasps, there are several ways to keep them at bay. Wasps have a keen sense of smell. This is how they find food and navigate the world around them.

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One of the easiest ways to keep wasps out of your garden is to use your most important resource against them! Here are some ways to use scents that wasps hate to repel or deter them.

1. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil produces a pleasant smell that most people don't mind. However, many insects despise him! Wasps are no exception.

Wasps hate this smell and have a strong aversion to peppermint oil and the scent it leaves behind. The exact reason for the strong reaction is not known. However, most experts believe it has something to do with the menthol content.

Menthol is the chemical compound responsible for peppermint's cooling nature. It can overwhelm the senses and make it difficult for wasps to be there. If they come near the peppermint oil, most wasps will immediately turn and try to get as far away as possible.

Use that aversion to peppermint oil to your advantage! Put a few drops of essential oil in a spray bottle filled with water. Even diluted, the oil smells strong enough to keep wasps away.

Spray on all problem areas. You can use it on your porch, below deck, or even on top of most plants.

Another option is to soak a cotton ball or cloth in oil. Since it is not diluted, the aroma can be stronger and longer lasting.

Quick Tip:Remember that the oil will dissolve over time. It can last much longer than pure oil, but even that will evaporate over time. It is best to use the oil spray or diffuser frequently to effectively deter wasps.

2. Plant herbs in your garden

You want a more permanent method of keeping wasps away than using an essential oil spray (which isn't traditional).Wespenspray🇧🇷 Try gardening.

Believe it or not, several natural herbs repel wasps. Like peppermint oil, these plants give off a distinct odor that the flying pest hates! They are not offensive to human senses, but they are enough to keep most wasps out of the area.

Plant multiple impedimentswasp repellent plantsaround your garden. You can spread them all over your garden for maximum coverage. Alternatively, a multi-plant herb garden on your patio or porch will act as a central hub for whatever the wasps want to avoid. In any case, it's worth starting gardening!

You have many options here. Most herbs you see in cooking recipes will work. Some good examples are:

  • pepper mint
  • green mint
  • Eucalyptus
  • citronella
  • lemon grass
  • Timio
  • guess

These plants are quite easy to grow from seed. You can also find them at most garden centers if you want quick results. The best part about planting these wasp repellents in your garden? All these plants will serve you well in the kitchen too!

3. Spray some vinegar

Here's another all-natural scent you can use to repel wasps.

Vinegar has a similar effect to peppermint oil and herbs. It gives off a super pungent smell that wasps hate. Unfortunately, the smell is also quite offensive to humans!

Luckily, you can dilute the vinegar to make sure it's not too much for you and your family. It will still pack a big punch against wasps without making your property unbearable.

A good starting point is to combine equal parts water and white vinegar. You can customize things from there as you see fit. You can even add some peppermint oil for a one-two punch!

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Once you have your mixture ready, spray all problem areas. As before, you will need to reapply every few days to continue coverage. The good news is that white vinegar is fairly inexpensive and easy to obtain.

Quick Tip:Whatever you do, make sure you use white vinegar and not apple cider vinegar. Fermentation in the last product can attract wasps instead of repelling them!

4. Get help from plants that will deter them

Earlier we talked a little bit about herbs you can use to keep wasps away. While these varieties are undoubtedly effective, you can also go the decorative route.

Some ornamental plants produce undesirable scents for wasps.The most effective is calendula.Planting these red flowers in your garden will add a pop of color while keeping those pesky wasps out of the way!

Believe it or not, marigolds produce an odor that repels a variety of insects. In addition to wasps, it can keep whiteflies, nematodes, and more out of your garden. They are surprisingly useful, so don't be afraid to show your green thumb and start a marigold garden!

Other possible plants you can use are chamomile flowers, geraniums and wintergreens.

5. Try Clove and Lemongrass

Cravo e capim-limão fazem uma excelente mistura com um aroma distinto. O óleo de cravo tem um aroma inconfundivelmente amadeirado. Combinado com a acidez do capim-limão, cria um aroma único que as vespas odeiam. Na verdade, muitos dizem que este é seu método favorito de repelir e dissuadir as vespas.

Using cloves and lemon balm and cloves is quite simple. Essential oils are easy to obtain but can be a little pricey depending on the quality.

Inferior oils are good for repelling wasps. Add several drops of each oil to a spray bottle of water. Shake well and apply to problem areas.

The great thing about this combination is that it has an enticing scent that many people love. As such, this can be a better internal solution than vinegar or peppermint oil.

As always, don't forget to reapply the spray for long-lasting results.

6. Spread some cucumber slices

Who would have thought that leftover lettuce could be so effective at keeping wasps away?

Cucumbers produce a refreshing smell that is not overpowering. Some people get so used to the smell that they become blind to it. However, this is a scent that wasps hate!

The magic compound in cucumbers is cucurbitacins, which create a bitter, insect-like smell and taste. If you leave the cucumbers outdoors, they will force the cucurbitacins to spread out, which ends up irritating the wasp's senses.

You don't need to make a water solution to get results.All you have to do is slice the cucumber.Then you can spread it in your garden.

Distribute the splices in all areas where wasps roam. Even a single slice has enough scent to float around and protect the surrounding area.

If you need to repel wasps indoors, place the cucumber slices on a foil baking sheet. Aluminum reacts to vegetables and creates an even more characteristic smell. As you can probably imagine, this is a scent that wasps also hate.

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Quick Tip:Whether you're using cucumber indoors or outdoors, it's important to remember that the slices will break down over time. Vegetables can attract grubs, flies and other unwanted pests. To avoid these problems, you should change slices every few days.

7. Spread the bay leaves

If you're a foodie, you're probably familiar with bay leaves. Although they often look like leaves from the trees in your backyard, they actually come from the laurel tree.

Bay leaves are known for their intense aroma and are a popular culinary herb. You can usually find them in the condiments section of your grocery store. If it's not there, check out the foreign food section!

To use the leaves, grind them and spread them around the garden. Grinding the leaves is of paramount importance as this will release the oil from within.

Bay leaves contain eugenol essential oil. It is similar to the oil you would find in cloves. The odor is intense and very irritating to wasps.

Spread some chopped leaves in your garden. They mix with other garden debris, but the scent they produce is unmistakable and surprisingly repels any nearby wasps!

Why is it important to deter wasps

Any of these smells that wasps hate can go a long way when it comes to keeping these insects away.

But do you have to push them away?

Wasps serve several practical purposes. Many species are efficient pollinators, causing plants to flower. Reportedly, these beetles tend to be brightly colored, making them a reliable pollinator for flower gardens and fruit trees.

These insects are also fantastic killers of smaller insects. They feed on flies, grubs and many other common backyard pests. Thanks to their aggressive nature, they are talented predators that do a lot to control insect populations.

Those are the good things that wasps do.Unfortunately, their negative qualities often outweigh their positive ones.

First of all, wasps sting! Wasps are much more likely to sting you than bees. Most keep to themselves and pay no attention to you.

But the moment someone accidentally disturbs the nest or threatens its well-being? Then the wasps attack.

To make matters worse, wasps swarm. You don't want to be on the other side of a raging crush.

The potential dangers of wasp stings can vary depending on the species and individual reactions. For some people, a single sting results in nothing more than mild swelling and some itching. However, people prone to allergic reactions may experience anaphylactic shock.

Quick Tip:The stakes become even more noticeable when you're dealing with a crush. A sting or two isn't a big deal, but 30 or 40 stings can do significant damage. Large nests are capable of killing children and adults.

The last thing you want is a giant nest on your property. This makes your garden dangerous and poses a significant security risk.

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Unfortunately, wasp nests grow very quickly. Most species produce multicellular hives, similar to bees. However, they do not produce honey, so each cell houses either an egg or a growing larva.

It doesn't take long for wasp populations to get out of control. Not only does this increase the likelihood of swarming, but it can also put a lot of stress on what the hive is built on.

You should never ignore a wasp infestation. A few solitary wasps won't cause much trouble. But it would be best if you act the moment you start seeing nests.

Be proactive and do your part to keep wasps away from your property by repelling them with odors they hate. You and your family will be much safer without them!

Other methods to keep wasps away

The smells that wasps hate can be very effective in repelling these insects. However, the level of success you experience may vary depending on the method you choose and the amount of fragrance you use.

If you want long-term protection and more reliability, it's a good idea to combine odor control with other preventive measures.

Start by eliminating as many potential food sources on your property as possible.You can do this by keeping your yard clean. Fallen fruit, dying weeds, and tree debris can rot to create an attractive scent for these flying pests.

Also, overgrown plants and shrubbery piles are safe hiding places for these insects to hibernate or nest. Collect the clutter and do your best to keep your garden clean. It will make a world of difference.

Use a sealed garbage can to prevent garbage from attracting wasps. Invest in an airtight container with no openings for wasps to fly through. The same principles apply to compost bins and other food sources.

After putting away the trash and cleaning up all the groceries, take a look around your home.Wasps like to take advantage of small cracks and crevices. Queens use these areas to winter in the winter and nest in the summer.

Take a look at the outer walls and seal off any hiding places. Pay close attention to the siding. Even small gaps can allow access to the wall. If the wasps are extremely vigilant, they can even get into the frame to use insulation for protection!

Use caulking, caulking, and other sealing methods to close all entry points. If your siding is quite old, consider investing in a complete replacement to protect your home.

Finally, stay away from colorful garden decorations.This might sound a little strange, but wasps are attracted to brightly colored landscaping items. Remember: they love pollinating flowers.

Wasps cannot see red, but they can see bright shades of blue, yellow and green. Even white brings them.

Avoid planting flowers that are super bright or using garden props in neon colors. If you can't do without brightly colored items, try placing them in areas where wasps aren't an issue. Avoid the porch, swimming pool and other places your family likes.

Along with some strong-smelling repellents, these techniques should go a long way in keeping wasps away.

final thoughts

Now that you know how to keep wasps away using odors they hate, it's time to start installing these deterrents on your property. Remember, repelling wasps requires perseverance and consistency!

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If you have questions about anything you've read above, we're here to help.


What scent will keep wasps away? ›

There are several essential oils you can use to safely and effectively repel wasps. Peppermint oil on its own has been shown to act as a natural repellent for wasps and bees, or you can use a combination of clove, geranium, and lemongrass essential oils as a natural pest control method.

What is the best wasp deterrent? ›

Use herbs and essential oils to deter wasps. A combination of clove, lemongrass and geranium essential oils is ideal for applying to outdoor walls, crevices, or other places you've noticed wasp activity. Peppermint oil is also an effective wasp repellent.

What smells are wasps attracted to? ›

Wasps are attracted to sweet smells, so they will be drawn to flowers and fruit trees. They are also attracted to the smell of garbage. If you have a garbage can that is not properly sealed, this can attract wasps to your property. Another thing that can attract wasps is standing water.

Does Vicks keep wasps away? ›

As it turns out rubbing Vicks Vapor Rub around the feeding flowers effectively repels the bees and wasps away, but doesn't bother the birds because birds don't have a sense of smell, but the wasps and bees do.

What scent do Yellow Jackets hate? ›

Peppermint oil: Yellow jackets are not fond of mint-based herbs like spearmint and peppermint. The great thing about peppermint oil is that it naturally repels all sorts of pests, including yellow jackets, wasps, flies and spiders.

What can I spray around my house to keep wasps away? ›

Research published in the Journal of Pest Management Science found that a combination of clove, geranium and lemongrass essential oils successfully repelled wasps.

What color do wasps hate? ›

As mentioned before, those colors include pale or light shades. For best results, wear white. This lack of color will typically make bees and wasps leave you alone. In fact, the next time you see a beekeeper, you'll know exactly why the outfit is white.

What eats wasps? ›

Many wasps fall into the hands of predators like dragonflies, centipedes, hoverflies, beetles, spiders, moths, praying mantis, and robber flies. Spiders have special techniques for hunting wasps. They catch these insects using their webs and, after hunting, eat them slowly over time.

What to do when a wasp is flying around you? ›

Always remain still if a wasp approaches you. If you have to run away, do so in a straight line, without flailing your arms. Protect your head and face, as these areas are mostly likely to be targeted by the wasps.

What attracts wasps to humans? ›

Sweet scents

Wasps will typically feed on small insects, however, their diet shifts to sweets and sugar towards the end of summer, making things like pop, fruit, candy and even colognes and perfumes magnets for these pests.

Is there a natural way to get rid of wasps? ›

Wasps don't like the strong scent of peppermint, so it's a brilliant natural repellent to consider. Some of the ways to keep them at bay include placing peppermint plants in hanging baskets, or pouring some peppermint oil onto a cotton pad and leaving them outside.

Is there a smell wasps hate? ›

Research has shown that a combination of clove, geranium and lemon grass essential oils effectively repels wasps. You can combine several drops of each oil in soapy water then transferring it to a spray bottle.

Do wasps like the smell of deodorant? ›

Answer: Yes, insects are attracted to the scent of deodorants and perspiration. Use unscented deodorant, and rinse off perspiration after vigorous exercise.

Do wasps like the smell of coffee? ›

The following insects have been reported to be disgusted by the scent of coffee grounds: Slugs. Bees. Wasps.

What can I spray on my porch to keep wasps away? ›

Fill a spray bottle ¾ of the way with water and add 10-15 drops of clove, geranium, and lemongrass essential oils to the bottle. Spritz the area around your porch and the scent may keep wasps away. You can even use an eco-friendly product that contains peppermint oil.

Do mothballs repel wasps? ›

Mothballs provide a strong scent that bees and wasps dislike, and they will stay away from it. Hang a decorative cloth bag of mothballs near your pool to deter bees, and keep the scent faint enough that it won't bother humans.

How often do you need to spray peppermint oil to keep wasps away? ›

You should spray the peppermint oil mixture every few days. Once you see a reduction in wasp activity, you can probably get away with just spraying once a week. The oil and soap help the peppermint oil spray mixture stick to plant leaves.

What smell do wasps hate the most? ›

What scent or smell keeps wasps away? Wasps have a strong sense of smell and dislike certain plants like peppermint, spearmint, basil, eucalyptus, cloves, geranium, thyme, citronella, bay leaves, and lemongrass. They are also repelled by vinegar, cinnamon, coffee grounds, and sliced cucumber.

What can I spray on me to keep yellow jackets away? ›

The smell of peppermint is a yellow jacket repellant. Combine a few drops of pure peppermint oil, a few tablespoons of dish soap and warm water in a spray bottle.

How do you get rid of wasp pheromones? ›

A simple water and baking soda mixture will work its deodorizing magic when mixed to form a thick paste and after a little elbow grease to scrub the pheromones away.

What is the best time of day to spray for wasps? ›

The best time of day is early morning when most of the wasps will be inside the nest and activity is at a minimum. I recommend having two cans of aerosol wasp spray at the ready.

Why are wasps attracted to my house? ›

However, in most cases, wasps will be attracted to your home and might come indoors as they are looking for a suitable nesting site, new sources of food for themselves and the nest members, a sheltered place to hibernate in winter, and also by accident.

What are wasps good for? ›

Wasps are predators, feeding insects to their young. What makes them beneficial is that they prey on many insects, including caterpillars, flies, crickets, and other pests. What makes them a pest is in late summer and fall they alter their tastes and go after sweets.

Will a wasp sting you for no reason? ›

Wasps very rarely sting for no reason. Most often, they'll resort to plunging their venomous stinger into human flesh because they feel threatened. This happens when people (sometimes even unknowingly) get too close to a nest.

Can a wasp sting through clothes? ›

You may also wish to wear an extra layer of clothing since wasp stings are long enough to reach through one layer of clothing.

Will a wasp sting if you stay still? ›

If a wasp lands on you, don't flap at it or try to brush it off – it will sting you. Just stay still and let it fly off in its own time. A wasp trapped in clothing is more difficult to deal with because any slight movement can press garments against it.

What is toxic to wasps? ›

Pyrethrins are especially effective because they knock wasps down fast, says the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. Typically, the solution is already properly mixed in the aerosol can and ready to use.

How long do wasps live? ›

So, how long do wasps live? The lifecycle of a wasp depends on the species, but in general a worker wasps life can last from 12-22 days, while a queen can live up to a year. There are many different types of wasps in North America, paper wasps and yellowjackets being the two most common.

What is wasps favorite food? ›

Wasps love fruit! It is predominantly the adult wasps who feed on fruit. The reason behind wasps' attraction to fruit is the high sugar content, a favorite among wasps. A wasp's love of fruit is one of the main reasons they are seen as pests.

What will keep wasps away from my patio? ›

Grow plants in your patio planters that wasps don't like, like lemongrass and peppermint. Mix clove, geranium, lemongrass essential oils with water, shake well and spray your patio area. You'll have to spray your patio regularly throughout the summer.

How do you use peppermint oil to get rid of wasps? ›

Use peppermint essential oil

In addition to planting any type of mint in your garden, you can simply add a few drops of peppermint oil to cotton pads and place them strategically around the outside of your home where wasps like to build nests, such as porch roofs, under eaves, and other crevices and ledges.

Are wasps attracted to vinegar? ›

Another household item you can use is apple cider vinegar. This household item eliminates several pests and one of which is wasps. The pungent smell it has can lure wasps which is easier for them to be eliminated. You can create a trap where the pest can enter once attracted.

How do you stop wasps coming near you outside? ›

  1. Grow strong scented plants. (Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole) ...
  2. Avoid bright colours in the garden. (Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme) ...
  3. Keep your food and drinks covered. ...
  4. Scatter peppermint oil. ...
  5. Distract them with something sweet. ...
  6. Burn citronella candles. ...
  7. Avoid leaving the outside lights on. ...
  8. Place sugar and water traps.
Jun 2, 2022

How do you make homemade wasp repellent? ›

Take a few drops of peppermint oil along with a few tablespoons of dish soap, put them together in a spray bottle, and fill the rest of the bottle with water. Shake well, and then spray the mixture on any established nests or places where you've seen nests before.

What liquid kills wasps? ›

Soap & Water

Some wasp removal experts say that you can handle small hanging nests with a bit of soapy water. Mix 2 tablespoons of dish soap in a spray bottle and fill with water. The soap will clog their spiracles, the pores that they breathe through, and will kill them almost immediately.

Does Pine Sol keep wasps away? ›

Upstairs Downstairs Cleaning says that you can use full-strength Pine-Sol as an insecticide or a 4:1 Pine-Sol to water solution spray for staving off wasps and other stinging insects—just steer clear of honeybees!

What household stuff kills wasps? ›

The fact is, ordinary liquid soap in a spray bottle works as well as anything I've ever tried when it comes to dropping and killing wasps around the house.

How do you treat wood to keep wasps away? ›

Here's a recipe for a wasp repellent: Mix one part eucalyptus oil, one part menthol and one part citronella. Apply the mix to a small, less obvious spot on the wood to determine if it will discolor the surface. If the effects on the wood are not undesirable, spread the mix across the entire surface of the wood.

Do wasps like Windex? ›

Windex is very effective for killing most types of bugs inside of the home. It's a bit less effective on Wasps for some reason, but many will die and those that do not will be slowed enough that you can easily trap them or slap them.

What color are wasp not attracted to? ›

As mentioned before, those colors include pale or light shades. For best results, wear white. This lack of color will typically make bees and wasps leave you alone. In fact, the next time you see a beekeeper, you'll know exactly why the outfit is white.


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