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Wasps wasted

Wasps are a common sight in gardens during the warmer months, and while they may not be as problematic as some other garden pests, they can still be a nuisance. Wasps are attracted to gardens for a variety of reasons, including the availability of food sources, water, and shelter. Here are some tips on how to keep wasps out of your garden and why it's important to do so. Early in the year, wasps are welcome visitors: they gobble up aphids and caterpillars by the dozen to feed to their young, leaving your plants pest-free.

By summer, though, they become a nuisance, eating holes in ripening fruit and swarming over picnics, making outdoor life almost impossible and occasionally downright painful.

You don't have to destroy wasp nests unless it's posing a risk to you or your family. But it's wise to keep the insects at bay using a combination of deterrents and traps.

  • Wasp traps can be as simple as a jar with some sugary water in the bottom to lure them in, or a device which fits into the top of a plastic drinks bottle, allowing them to crawl in but not escape again. There's a good selection to choose from in our garden centre. Always place traps well away from seating and play areas.
  • Effective deterrents include imitation wasp nests, taking advantage of a wasp's natural behaviour to keep them away. Wasps are very territorial and won't re-use old nests, so if you hang an imitation nest near your patio or seating area they'll go elsewhere.

Why are wasps in your garden?

Wasps are attracted to sweet foods, so if you have fruit trees, berry bushes, or other plants that produce sweet fruits or flowers, you are likely to attract wasps to your garden. Wasps are also attracted to sources of water, such as bird baths, ponds, and fountains. Additionally, wasps will build their nests in sheltered areas, such as under eaves or in trees, so if your garden has a lot of trees or other vegetation, you may have a higher population of wasps.

What harm can they do?

While wasps are generally not aggressive unless provoked, they can still pose a risk to humans and pets. Their stings can be painful and cause an allergic reaction in some people. Wasps can also cause damage to fruit trees and other plants by feeding on the fruit and damaging the bark.

How to keep wasps out of your garden

  1. Keep your garden clean and tidy: Wasps are attracted to sweet, sticky substances, so it's important to keep your garden clean and free of debris. Pick up fallen fruit, dispose of garbage properly, and clean up spills promptly.
  2. Use decoys: Wasps are territorial and will avoid areas where they detect other wasps. You can use decoys such as wasp traps or fake nests to discourage wasps from entering your garden.
  3. Plant aromatic herbs: Some herbs, such as basil, thyme, and mint, are natural wasp repellents. Planting these herbs in your garden can help keep wasps away.
  4. Cover food and drinks: When eating or drinking outside, make sure to cover food and drinks to prevent wasps from being attracted to them.
  5. Hang a fake wasp nest: Hanging a fake wasp nest in your garden can deter wasps from building a nest in the area. Wasps are territorial and will avoid areas where they think other wasps have already established a nest.

Please ask the staff in our Poynings, Sussex garden centre for more information and advice about controlling wasps in your garden.

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