How to Dine Wasp Free this Summer?

Canada is home to hundreds of species of wasps that are most active from April through September. Unfortunately, this coincides with perfect patio seasons leaving many homeowners annoyed with these uninvited guests. Read on to discover our best tips on how to dine wasp free this summer!


  • How to identify wasps 
  • Risks wasps pose to your family and home
  • How to prevent wasps 
  • How to treat a wasp nest

What are wasps?

The most common Canadian pest wasps are hornets, yellow jackets and paper wasps, all of which sport distinctive yellow and black patterns on their bodies. They can be easily distinguished from bees, just remember: bees are fat and fuzzy and wasps are skinny and smooth. 

Most wasps are social creatures and live in nests with hundreds or even thousands of individuals, the appearance of such nests changes depending on the species. Some wasps prefer to nest out in the open creating football-shaped hanging nests attached to tree branches, railings or eves. Single-layer nests where the honeycomb shapes are exposed are also common near vents and soffits of the home. Other species prefer to be more secretive and build in protected areas such as tree hollows or wall cavities. 

Tip: Wear shoes when walking in the garden! Some solitary wasps such as mud daubers build their homes in the ground and may attack if provoked.

When are wasps a problem?

Wasps are beneficial to have around as they feed on other smaller insects, however when they get too comfortable near your home they can also pose a great threat. Unlike bees, wasps can sting repeatedly and are especially dangerous to those who are allergic, even proving fatal at times. They are also very territorial, making a nest near your home very hazardous. If there is no nest on your property but wasps are still intruding on your outdoor summer fun try out the tips below to ward off the unwanted guests. 

How to safely remove a wasp nest

Wasp nest removal is very dangerous and it is not recommended that homeowners attempt it themselves. The safest and most effective option is to call in a pest control company. This is not only because of the risks of a wasp attack but also because their nests are often located in hard-to-reach locations sometimes requiring ladders. 

If you do proceed with removing a wasp nest yourself you will need full protective gear, these hard-to-reach locations mean a quick escape is often impossible. As for the treatment, there are two main methods: homemade soapy water or store-bought pesticide spray. Soapy water is a great low-cost option that is effective if the whole nest can be drenched easily, whereas pesticide spray can be more convenient for hard-to-reach locations. Either method should be used around dusk when wasps are the least active and will likely take several days to completely resolve your issue.

How to prevent wasps

Close Holes

Wasps are attracted to safe spaces where they can hide or build a nest. At the beginning of the season clear any clutter on and around your outdoor dining area and close up any holes that you can in the side of your home, shed or deck. 

Avoid Wood

Certain wasps use wood to build their nests and so will return to sources of wood again and again. It’s best to avoid patio furniture and decks made of wood but often that is not a viable option. In these cases, staining or painting wood acts as a good deterrent against wasps and other pesky insects. 


The number one thing that attracts wasps to your summer BBQ is sweet smells: the caramelizing ribs on the grill, a freshly opened can of soda, the perfume of your guests or the flowers in your garden. Wasps, like many insects, have an extremely keen sense of smell and can pick up on even trace amounts of foods and other odours. After dining make sure to clean up thoroughly, sweep up any fallen food and wash any spills with soap and water.

Pet food can also attract wasps so make sure not to leave pet bowls out on the porch. 


In the same way that food attracts wasps so does the smell of garbage. If possible keep garbage bins away from the patio area, if not make sure to secure them with strong lids to keep the smell in. 

Yard waste can also attract wasps as it rots, so make sure that your yard is clear. 

Grow Wasp Repelling Plants

Flowers and fruit trees are beautiful but give off a sweet smell that not only attracts wasps but also bees and other insects. Instead, decorate with plants that naturally repel wasps such as citronella, spearmint, pennyroyal, thyme, sage, lemongrass, clove or eucalyptus. The oils produced by these plants repel wasps and, as a bonus, many of these plants are delicious herbs that can brighten any summer dish. 

Tip: Wormwood is another effective wasp-repelling plant however can be poisonous in small bodies so is not recommended if there are children or pets around. 

Essential Oils 

Instead of gardening, some of these plant oils can also be bought in stores. Eucalyptus and mint essential oils are commonly sold online and in health food stores. Simply combine some oil and water in a spray bottle and treat areas where you often see wasps. There are also wasp repellants that can be bought from home improvement retailers for the same use. 

Avoid perfume 

Perfumes often give off sweet smells that attract wasps so avoid wearing them when you plan to dine outdoors. This also goes for strongly scented soaps, shampoos or lotions. Instead, try wearing a dab of the above-mentioned oils, which double as a wasp repellant. 


Wasp traps contain a sweet liquid that lures wasps through a hole that they then cannot leave through. These traps should be placed off to the side of an outdoor dining area so that wasps are attracted to the trap and not your family’s dinner. Wasp traps can be quite effective when placed properly but make sure to keep them out of reach of children and pets. 

If you’re still having issues with wasps in and around your dining area it is possible you have a nest on your property that you are not aware of. A pest control expert will be able to safely locate and remove any wasp nests in and around your home. 

Terminix exterminators use the safest and most effective methods to rid your home of wasps for good. We offer expert pest control services across Canada including BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Call us today to learn how we can help.