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How To Get Rid of Red Wasps When You Can’t Find the Nest

Some folks think that removing the nest is necessary to get rid of wasps. While not finding the nest makes it challenging to eliminate the pests, I’ll discuss some alternatives you can try.

You can use wasp traps, baits, or insecticides to eliminate red wasps when you cannot find their nest. Wasp traps and baits will lure and kill them. You can spray insecticides to kill individual wasps immediately. 

Red wasp on a leaf

1. Set Up Homemade or Ready-Made Wasp Traps or Baits

Setting up a wasp trap or bait is one of the simplest ways to kill wasps if you don’t know where their nests are. Instead of you looking for them, the wasps would be attracted to traps or baits and approach them. 

These are some wasp traps or baits you can set up: 

  • Apple cider vinegar mixture. In a bowl, mix apple cider vinegar, sugar, and water in a 2:2:1 ratio. The sugar would attract the wasps, and once they land in the bowl, the apple cider vinegar will kill or repel them. 
  • Lure traps. Ready-made wasp lures are available in stores. Works similarly to the vinegar mix, as it attracts and kills wasps. 
  • Water trap. Make a makeshift trap using a bottle filled with sweet water, soda, or meat. Sugar and meat attract wasps. The wasps will slip and fall into the liquid. 

2. Use Homemade or Store-Bought Insecticides and Repellents

Insecticides kill, while repellents do not do so necessarily. Thus, you can choose between the two based on your preference and goals. 

These are some homemade wasp repellents and insecticides you can try: 

  • Essential oils. Mix essential oils with water and vinegar. Wasps are especially repelled by peppermint, lemongrass, and citronella. 
  • Spicy pepper. Combine peppers with water and vinegar. Use as a spray. 
  • Soap and water. A dish soap and water mixture is an effective DIY wasp insecticide because the soap clings to the wasp. In doing so, it suffocates the insect and kills it. 
  • WD-40. This is a penetrating oil brand whose smell repels wasps. However, make sure to spray this away from fire hazards. 

These are the best-selling insecticides available on Amazon: 

  • Ortho Hornet & Wasp Killer. This insecticide kills various wasps and insects even if they are 20 feet (~6.1 meters) above you. It does so by spraying an entrapping foam that prevents the pest from escaping. 
  • Spectracide Wasp & Hornet Killer This spray reaches farther distances, capable of killing wasps, hornets, and other insects 27 feet (~8.2 meters) away. It is also non-staining.

You can also spray insecticides or repellents on areas frequented by wasps. These may kill them or not, and there’s a chance that they will carry the poison with them and transmit it to the susceptible larvae and wasps in their nests. 

Spraying insecticides on a flower garden

3. Use Smoke  

Smoke works best when you know where the nest is. Ideally, you’d build a fire below the nest and let the smoke rise and suffocate the wasps. 

However, you might still find this helpful even if you only have a gist of where the nest is. For instance, if you’re pretty sure that the nest is up on a tree, just not sure how high up, you can try using smoke. 

However, using smoke to get rid of red wasps comes with risks. Here are some of them: 

  • Fire. Starting a fire to produce smoke can be a hazard. Thus, if you do this, avoid starting a fire indoors or setting up one near wood and other materials that can catch flame. 
  • Triggers the wasps. Once the smoke hits the wasp, it can also trigger or aggravate them. Thus, you might end up with a violent swarm, which is much worse than not knowing where they were in the first place. 

Assess your area, capabilities, and risks before pushing through with this procedure. 

4. Seek Professional Pest Management Service

If you’re helpless, you can always call professional services. It may be pricey, but it’s better than charging toward angry wasps and injuring yourself. 

When you seek pest management services, they will inspect your property first and will be able to locate the nest you weren’t able to find. Then, they will destroy the nest and apply other treatments and control. 

How To Keep Wasps From Coming Back

You can try to kill as many wasps and nests as possible, but you won’t break the cycle without prevention measures. 

Here are ways to prevent wasps from returning: 

  1. Install a fake nest. Wasps will not stay if they see that there’s a nest already. Make a fake nest using paper bags, newspapers, and popsicle sticks. 
  2. Clean and seal your place. Remove potential food sources, like garbage, and seal ALL entry points. Avoid making your home attractive to pests.  
  3. Treat potential nesting sites with insecticides. Spray insecticides on areas where the wasps may build their nests to repel them.  

You can watch this video that shows how to get rid of wasps:

Final Thoughts 

Getting rid of wasps without knowing where their nest is located can be challenging. However, there are ways to deal with situations like this. You can use traps, baits, and insecticides, but these can take time to effect. For immediate results, seek professionals.

Thanks for reading!

For more, check out The 8 Best Ways to Keep Chipmunks Out of the Garden.