Learning what attracts wasps isn’t tricky. All it takes is a basic understanding of their needs and what’s available to them!
This guide will go over everything that wasps are attracted to, so you can keep them away from your house.
Table of Contents
1. Protection & Safety
If you notice wasps hanging around near your house, chances are that they are searching for a safe place to build a nest. Wasps, like all living things, are attracted to areas that will offer them protection and safety. They’ll build their nests just about anywhere where they can find refuge from weather, predators and other dangers.
Some places where you are likely to find a wasp nest are in cracks and crevices on the exterior of your home, in dead trees, behind window shutters, under porch railings, or in any other place where wasps feel protected. Many wasps, if they are able to, will build a nest inside the walls of your home.
It’s important to know that if you find a wasp nest in or near your home, you should never attempt to remove it on your own if you don’t know what you’re doing.
2. Sweet & Sugary Treats
Sweets will attract wasps unbelievably fast. You may have noticed this if you’ve ever seen a wasp hovering around an open soda can, a piece of fruit or anything sweet that you might be snacking on. While wasps will usually go for protein-based food, they definitely love sugary treats.
Even though wasps are attracted to sugary foods at any time of the year, they appear to be more attracted to sweets in the fall months. Why does this happen? In the summer months, the larvae of the colony give off a sweet substance that adult wasps love. In the fall, when the queen stops laying eggs, that source of sweetness disappears, and wasps will go looking elsewhere for their sugar fix.
Wasps in the fall can be very aggressive in their hunt for anything sugary and sweet. If they are dive bombing your picnic or barbeque, be very careful.
3. Accessible Water
Like all living creatures, wasps need water. They are not too picky about where they get their water and will be attracted to any water source you have in your yard. Swimming pools, puddles, dripping faucets and any kind of standing water will do.
To discourage wasps from hanging out in your yard, try to clear up any standing water before they can find it. As you can tell, understanding what attracts wasps makes it far easier to avoid encounters with them!
4. Bright Flowers
If you’re into gardening, then you are probably used to dealing with wasps in your garden. Wasps and bees are drawn to the bright colors of flowers, but wasps seem to find blue, yellow, white and purple flowers to be the most attractive.
Wasps are attracted to brightly colored flowers for a few reasons. Like honeybees, wasps are attracted to the promise of sweet nectar, which they love. Wasps may also be attracted to the glorious scent of garden flowers, and a garden is the perfect place for wasps to find other insects to eat.
Because wasps are attracted to the bright colors of flowers, you may notice that wearing floral-patterned clothing will often cause wasps to become interested in you.
Expert Tip: Love floral perfumes and body sprays? You may want to refrain from using these items if you plan to spend time outdoors. Wasps are often attracted to these smells as well.
5. Other Insects
As we just mentioned above, a garden can provide a hungry wasp with a seemingly infinite source of protein. If your garden is home to insects that wasps find tasty, then you are going to have lots of wasps in your yard.
What are some of a wasp’s favorite insects? Aphids, caterpillars, certain beetles, crickets and even some spiders are all part of a wasp’s diet. While many of these insects are beneficial to your garden, they will definitely attract wasps and other similar predators to your garden and yard.
If you think that flies are the only insects attracted to garbage, then you’re wrong. Wasps are always on the lookout for anything sweet or for anything that has protein. This means that empty soda cans, pieces of fruit, yogurt containers, empty pizza boxes, candy wrappers and lots of other kinds of garbage will bring wasps flocking to your trash can.
The best thing to do is to make sure that your garbage is sealed tightly in a bag and is kept in a sturdy trash can with a lid. Compost piles are fair game as well, so it’s good to keep your compost pile covered.
In addition to shelter and water, wasps are going to come into your yard in search of food. Even though we have already mentioned some of the things that wasps eat, we will just recap the food items that may be attracting unwanted wasps to your yard.
You may be unwittingly attracting wasps to your house if you are providing them with a source of nectar, if you have rotting fruit or if any of their favorite insects are living in your yard. Open garbage cans and compost piles, as discussed earlier, can also be sources of food for hungry wasps.
8. Fruit Trees
If you have fruit trees, you will often see increased wasp activity as they swarm around any fruit that has fallen to the ground. This overly ripe fruit acts like a magnet, so we recommend cleaning up the fruit as it falls.
This situation can become severe in a very short period of time, and wasps can be quite aggressive. Sometimes there can be so many wasps that it’s impossible to clean up the fallen fruit. If this happens, you’ll need to take caution when removing them.
9. Untreated Wood
Many homeowners are not aware that untreated wood can attract wasps. While wasps don’t actually eat untreated wood, they will chew it, creating a pulp that they use to build a nest. So if you have an untreated patio, gazebo, swing set or play area in your yard, you may find that wasps are destroying your property.
Expert Tip: If wasps have not yet started to chew the wood on your property, then we recommend staining or painting all untreated wood in your yard.
You may not think of wasps as carnivores, but they are actually big protein eaters. In addition to the insects that they can find in your yard, wasps will seek out other sources of protein in the form of meat.
What kind of meat are we talking about? Wasps will eat pretty much any leftover scraps of meat that they find in your trash can. In the spring and summer, a high-protein diet is important for wasps, so they’ll go for any kind of leftover meat, no matter how old it is.
Wasps are also attracted to the smell of barbequed meat and to sandwiches that you might take on a picnic. If wasps are interrupting your next outdoor gathering, it could be that they are after the protein that your hamburger or grilled chicken promises.
Now that you know what attracts wasps, you can use this information to discourage them from getting near your house. If there’s nothing around that appeals to these insects, you won’t have to deal with them!
Let us know if you have questions about any of the items listed above. We love helping our readers!