How to Prevent Wasps from Ruining your Backyard Family Time

It’s beautiful outside.  The weather has started turn and it just seems to put everyone in a great mood. Your kids have decided to play with each other instead of fight.  Your husband is going to cut the grass for the first time since the fall.  For a moment, you’re allowed to sit.

You decide that you’re going to tempt fate, and try to have a glass of wine and read a chapter of the latest book you downloaded from your Goodreads list.  Quickly you move, before someone starts crying.

You run back out with the wine bottle and a plastic cup—because having it in a real glass is just begging the universe to intervene.

You sit back in the somewhat musty cushions that have been in your deck storage box for 6 months (well, if you’re in Pittburgh anyway).

You take a nice long sip, and cue up your Kindle.  Ahhhhh.  You look up and your husband has his shirt off.  Digging out a weed patch.  Flexing muscles. Mmmmm.

And then you see them.  Just one at first, but quickly followed by another. And another.  Wasps.

The kids start yelling that bees are following them around.  You’re shooing them away from your wine glass.  They start landing and crawling on the outdoor furniture you’ve barely used.

You’re pissed. You worked hard all week and you just want to sit outside and enjoy your handsome husband and darling children.  You even thought you might get lucky— maybe sip a glass of wine while reading a book.  That new sand in the sandbox was going to keep the kids happy for AT LEAST 20 minutes!

That was me.  Last spring.  AND the entire previous summer.  AND the summer before that. But not last summer.

I’m mostly a domestic doofus, but last year was my one win for the decade.  I went online after being chased for the hundredth time by wasps to figure out how the hell to get rid of them.

All the articles said it was hopeless unless I could figure out where all the nests were and destroy them.  That is unrealistic since most are hidden under our deck or underneath the siding of the house. It went on to say I was better off planning for next year by planting Eucalyptus bushes since they hate the smell.


I ran inside and grabbed the Eucalyptus oil I use for baths during cold and flu season.  I soaked cotton balls with the stuff and started dabbing it on our deck every few feet.

Next, I shoved saturated cotton balls through the slats on my deck so they would land right where I knew a bunch of wasps went in and out all summer long—the nests.

Pretty soon my backyard smelled like a Day Spa.  And I had not a single wasp bother me again that day.  Or the next.

In fact, for 3 days I didn’t see another one.

The next time I did, I got out the oil and cotton balls and went around my deck for about 5 minutes and dabbed oil here and there.  No wasps again for a couple days.

For the rest of the summer, every other day (or right after it rained) I would re-dab the Eucalyptus oil around the deck and literally never saw a bee or wasp again.

I’m sure there are some fancy atomizers that you can use to disperse the oil, but the cotton balls work for me.  It takes 5 minutes or less, plus I can shove them right in the nesting areas, which will make them leave or prevent them from building nests there altogether.

So there you have it!  My one shining moment of domestication.  Enjoy!