Wasps outside are one thing, but inside the home quite another. So what is going on with wasps in the home?
Wasps are attracted to homes for resources such as sweet foods, and by sweet and floral scents. They also seek out sheltered cavities to establish nests that homes often provide. Queen wasps will often hibernate in homes over winter.
Let’s take a closer look at why wasps might be entering your home.
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Building nests in voids
Wasps will often build their nests in walls. They seek out voids in sheltered places to build nests. This will often be underground, but can also be inside wall cavities or other voids within a home. Wasps may also be attracted to a water source and sweet substances in the home, both important resources for a new wasp colony. It is also possible that the queen wasp hibernated overwinter in the same void that she set up a nest in the spring.
Attracted by sweet aromas
Wasps feed primarily on sweet substances such as nectar and honeysuckle, but they are opportunistic and the smell of sweet scents within a house will attract wasps. This can include obvious things such as jam and honey, but also less obvious things like shampoos and shower gels that can have aromas that attract wasps. Remember that flowers are the principal source of food for wasps, so flower scents can also attract wasps.
Queen wasps hibernate in houses over winter
If you find a single wasp in a wall cavity in the winter, then it likely could be a queen. In the winter most wasps will die. Only the queens survive and hibernate over winter to set up a new colony in the spring. They will seek out sheltered areas such as wall cavities to hunker down for the winter. Finding a queen wasp could be a concern that she may set up a colony nearby in the spring, so it may be best to remove the queen. Up to 99% of queen wasps actually fail to survive the hibernation period. The ones that survive go on to form colonies of thousands. Read More.
How do wasps get into the home?
There are numerous entry points for wasps into a house and it is almost impossible to seal it completely, but often more can be done. They will enter via windows and doors, but also open attic vents. In areas with insect problems, well-fitted window screens will go a long way to keeping wasps out. Wasps can also enter the home via vents such as bathroom vents if they are not installed with adequate protection. Especially if sweet floral scents are being extracted.
What to do about wasps in the house?
If there are several wasps and you fear a nest then you should hire professionals to remove it. Trying to remove wasp nests by yourself should be done with extreme caution. Wasps will attack in numbers if they think their nest is under attack. If there is only the odd wasp or two it may well be wise to leave the window open to allow it to leave. If you attempt to attack the wasp it could potentially attract other wasps as they release a warning pheromone when threatened.
There are a number of repellent options such as decoy wasp nests and natural scents such as peppermint that repel them. Find more here.