Insect infestation

What helps against wasps - and what not

Ein Wespenstich kann für Allergiker lebensbedrohlich sein. Eine Injektion mit dem Hormon Adrenalin kann ein Ersticken verhindern.

Wasps need sugar for nourishment.

Bonn. You’ve probably heard plenty of tips for how to keep those pesky wasps away but did you know that only a few are actually effective? Here’s what the experts have to say.

They are one of the less pleasant parts of summer.  And because of the dry spring and the warm June, the wasp population has grown to a record high.  You come home and want to go outside after work or have a drink or dine outdoors, but it doesn’t take long before that first buzzing is heard.  The good thing is that there are some ways to drive away wasps without making them unnecessarily aggressive or having to lure them.

Wasps like sugar and meat

Crucial is what kind of food and beverages you take outside. Wasps favor protein and carbohydrate-rich food. It does not matter what type of sugar - any kind of sweets or fresh fruit is enticing for wasps, and they also like meat or cold cuts. Wasps need the carbohydrates and proteins to feed and raise their young.  This means that those who refrain from sugar and substitute artificial sweeteners instead will generally be spared from wasps. If you want to read a good book in the back yard, rather do so without sugary treats.

In early summer and in the height of summer, it is also worthwhile to set up a bowl with particularly sweet fruit, such as grapes, a little further away from the place where you would like to be later on. This way, the wasps can communicate with each other and eat their fill and stay away from your own food. Another advantage: you do not kill the wasps, as would be the case with a glass of lemonade, where the wasps often drown. But one should also be a bit cautious. If one regularly uses such deflection traps, the opposite effect is achieved. The large food supply means that the wasp population grows faster.

One wants to provide the insects with as few food sources as possible so it is important that no leftovers are freely accessible. This means that it’s best to keep food and drinks covered as much as possible and clear the table quickly after eating. Food waste in both garbage bins and compost heaps should not be accessible to wasps. Experts advise to keep the lid always closed or bury fruit and meat as deeply as possible in the compost.

Wonder weapons for keeping wasps away

If you search the internet for home remedies against wasps, you will come across numerous tips from coffee powder to basil to scented oils. Experts, by and large, are skeptical, however. Generally speaking, wasps have a very fine sense of smell and are not impressed by oils or coffee. Rather, it is helpful to avoid wearing brightly-colored clothing or using bright tableware and cloths, because the insects not only have a fine sense of smell; they also perceive colors.

Should the wasps find their way to your table despite precautionary measures, stay calm and avoid hectic movements, hitting at the wasp or trying to blow it away.  This triggers a switch from defensive mode to attack mode on the part of the wasp.  Blowing at the wasp creates a panic reaction in the insect, it fears for its life with too much carbon dioxide in the environment.  Experts also strongly advise against traps. Not only do the wasps die agonizingly in them, but they release a pheromone that attracts even more aggressive wasps.

Instead, a spray bottle with water helps. If you spray the flying guests with a light mist of water, they disappear by themselves, because the water signals to them that it is raining. (Orig. text: Simon Steioff, Translation: Carol Kloeppel)