Do It Yourself

Get Rid of Bees and Wasps



Spring has officially sprung and, aside from the still incredible and swiftly changing weather we have in Texas, we are finally starting to have some very pleasant days ahead of us.  And In my family this means one thing.

It’s time to air out the house and get outside.  It is time to start firing up the grill for weekends filled with barbequed chicken, burgers, brats, and my favorite grilled corn on the cob.

Spring evenings, spent dining outside, have been tradition in my family as long as I can remember. Dinners like these were common at Nana and Papa’s house and cherished by every member of my family.

The only problem that ever came of these dinners were not running out of food. (Nana made sure of that) But rather the swarm of bees and wasps that would perform concentrated aerial dive bombs on the picnic table.

Bee’s and wasps… proof that nature is both beautiful and terrifying at the same time.

Many people(including myself) have an inherent fear of these insects and even though I know that bees are vital to the ecosystem that doesn’t mean I have to like them!

The best thing any of us can do is to find a way to keep them away from us without harming them.  They are not vicious by nature and most of the time is simply looking for a meal.

So, how do we keep them from being a nuisance.

A house and its surroundings can easily be secured from bees if sufficient measures are taken towards repelling them. The steps include taking care of everything that attracts them. Read the subsequent sections for a more detailed overview.

Keep it Tidy

Carpenter bees are known to be present in places like junkyards where a lot of unattended items are present. Take time to clean your garden and remove anything that fits into the category of junk or wastes (broken vehicle parts, unused wood, pulp etc.). Unattended gardens are the nesting grounds for most species of bees and leniency on this front should be avoided. By giving due attention to the garden, not only would an individual get rid of the menace but also find himself to be the owner of a beautiful garden.

Repellent: Buy vs Make


Certain essential oils work as repellents when diluted with alcohol or with a carrier oil. Some examples of carrier oils include olive oil, sunflower oil and other cooking oils. The essential oil that works best as a repellent against bees is orange oil, but to create a more universal repellent for an all day outdoor adventure, you can combine several essential oils like cinnamon oil and citronella oil.

The key here is to experiment with different oils to see what works best. ( I am highly sensitive to citronella oil, it makes me nauseous

The formula should consist of roughly 1 part natural oil and 10 parts carrier oil. Rub this on your skin or clothes while avoiding the eyes and you're good to go.

Another option if you want to avoid any skin allergies would be to make up a mixture of 2 parts orange oil to 1 part water and use it in a sort of barrier spray.  You would spray down wood fixtures and any areas that you want to keep free of bees.  Just make sure that you test it on a small area first, orange oil  can strip the finish off of wood if it is too strong.


I give a lot of leeway to bees (click here to see why), they are docile for the most part and beneficial insects for gardens and a have a host of other uses. The same can’t be said for Wasps…

Wasps, typically nest alone or in the case of social wasps (Yellow Jackets) the nest contains significantly fewer numbers than a bee hive ( I have seen at most 30 to a nest around my own home), but  what they lack in numbers they make up for in pure evil….

For one they are much more aggressive than bee’s and two they are typically predatory, some even invade honey bee nests and kill off entire hives.

Regardless, when it comes to bees or wasps, I do not tolerate a nest being built on my home.  If their nest is destroyed, bees avoid making a nest in the same location again. Wasps on the other hand, seem to be an annual problem. Either way I wil typically use a long range insect killer to begin my assault on these invaders. I will spray the entire nest killing off as many of the adults as possible and once they are removed, I destroy the remaining nest.  My grandparents on the otherhand prefer burning over my use of chemicals.

Burning down can be achieved by keeping lighted newspaper right below their nest. However, this method comes with some precautions:

1. Attempt this method only at night when the bees are sleeping. It is their nature to be on guard during day and the you are more likely to be stung.

2. Keep children well away from the area while using this method

3. This is a big one but.. BE CAREFUL! You are lighting a fire and holding it to your home.  Make sure you keep a fire extinguisher on hand just in case.

4. Lastly, if none of this sounds appealing to you or you are simply too allergic for these to be an option, call up pest removal services. They would be more than happy to help get rid of bees for a fee of course. Asking a few questions while they are there may also grant you a few extra tips and tricks that I don’t know about for future infestations.

Sadly, Even if you have used all of these methods you may still have bees zipping and buzzing around your otherwise peaceful lunch.

There are however a few other things you can do to limit how many are attracted to your outdoor spread.

1. Cover foods and beverages high in sugar or keep them indoors. Open soda cans and bottles become popular homes for bees and wasps.

2. Move hummingbird feeders away from high-traffic areas. Wasps and bees are attracted to the sweet nectar in the feeders.

Purchase a wasp trap. Traps are available at most hardware stores. Hang the trap on a tree away from areas where people tend to congregate.

I said above to purchase a wasp trap, but a friend of mine actually sent me some very simple instructions on how to build one for free from items you probably already have. Check it out below:

DIY Wasp Trap

A soda bottle (any size should work)
Flat soda or sugar water
A teaspoon of laundry soap or dish soap*

wasp trap


Pin or small knife

1. Clean the soda bottle very well and toss the cap.
2. Cut the top off of the bottle. Make the cut at the end of the neck.
3. Invert the top, placing the neck inside the bottle.
4. Fill the bottle within 1-2” of the bottle neck with a mixture of sugar water, or the flat soda and be sure to add the soap the mixture*
Punch two holes through the bottle in order to tie a string or wire for hanging.
5. Hang your trap with string near the hive  or anywhere that is away from people(be careful!)
6. Check the trap often to remove the dead wasps and replenish the bait liquid.

In short, Spring is here and so are the bee’s, but don’t let a fear of being stung keep you from enjoying the wonderful outdoor weather and all of the allergies that come with it. After all we only have a few short months until summer sweeps in and makes being outside unbearable.

What do you think?

Did I miss anything? Or Do you know of another trick to keep the bee’s at bay during your outdoor excursions?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Check out these great articles for natural methods to get rid of those pesky insects:

8 Natural Ways to Rid Your Home of Roaches for Good

5 Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Fleas In and Around Your Home

3 Homemade Mosquito Repellents


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  1. Luke

    March 28, 2013 at 9:02 AM


    Very nice article! Interesting DIY project. Thanks


  2. Rooster

    March 28, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Warm soap water. Just make a cup & throw it onto the nest. They die within seconds.

  3. bamaman

    March 28, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    carpenter bees can be run out of their holes by spraying wd40 into the hole. it usually runs out the ones in the hole and makes them incapable of flying so you can smack them one at a time.

    i have had them eat through and eat their way out of wood pudy over holes but the wd40 really makes them stay away. dont know why. but it works.

    • Ed

      March 29, 2013 at 9:32 AM

      I guess that makes it WD-41.

      • Joe

        March 29, 2013 at 10:06 AM

        I have spent too much time on facebook this morning, I was looking for a like button on your comment 🙂

  4. Smitty

    March 28, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    warm soapy sudsy water in a gallon bug or backpack sprayer- the soap gets into the crevices of their exoskeleton & suffocates them. For yellow jackets in the ground, we wait until night & dump gas into the nest (not too much), dribble a trail of fuel away from it then light the trail. Of course be careful with this; if you’re not mechanically inclined then I would choose another method.
    If you have been stung by one of these %$&*#@$ things, its very satisfying to watch their nest burn at night…… lol

    • neil

      September 2, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      I heard you don’t have to light it as they suffocate on the vapors. Also lighting gasoline is VERY dangerous

  5. QBall

    March 28, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    Another means of dealing with yellow jackets and wasps is to take a brown paper bag, blow it up so it looks more or less like a ball, and then just hang it near where you will be outside. How does it work? Simple: the paper bag now looks like a hornets’ nest, and wasps and yellow jackets will avoid the area like the plague.

    Also, although it wasn’t mentioned in the article, flies are a real nuisance to outdoor eating as well. To deal with them, take a sandwich bag, fill it with water, put a penny in the bottom of the bag, and hang it up near where you will be eating. How does this work? Flies have compound eyes which are quick to detect movement, but not too good at focusing. To them, the bag shimmering in the sunlight looks like a spider web, and the penny looks the spider itself. Flies will avoid spider webs as best they can for obvious reasons.

  6. marti b

    March 28, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    Although highly allergic to stinging insects, i learned to sit calmly among honeybees and bumblebees while they fed on blossoms where i was pruning shrubs. They never bothered me. For wasps, daubers,and other mean stingers, i found that wetting their nests thoroughly with a hose causes the wasps to leave. When they return, their little houses have been removed. Keeps poisons out of the environment, and is much safer…cheaper too!

  7. Ken

    March 29, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    When I was a youngster,we would sneak up on a yellow jacket nest with a coffee can with some cotton waste and diesel fuel and set it on the ground under a nest and light it.The yellow jacks would leave,but they would straggle back.After the fire went out,we would hammer the wasps with a concentrated stream of water from the garden hose with a nozzle on it in order to knock the nest down and drown the returning wasps.We would then collect the nest,leave the area,and remove the wasp larvae.Those we used as fishing bait.They worked great-never failed.It took the wasps until the next year to make more bait for us.Never got stung!

  8. Carolyn

    March 29, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    We used a canning jar with a couple of inches of water in it. We added a bit of cooking oil. Then we threaded a piece of bacon on a nail and laid it across the top. The greedy yellow jackets would sit on the bacon; the nail turned over and into the oily water they went. It kept them from pestering us and provided entertainment at the same time.

    • Joe

      March 29, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      Great idea!

  9. Mike

    March 30, 2013 at 2:33 AM

    Get the traps out before you start seeing wasps and you have a good chance of catching the queens and therefore have that many fewer nests in the area that year.The queens are some of the first to be moving around.

  10. Jim

    March 30, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    My preferred method involves using a flammable aerosol, like carburetor cleaner or starting fluid and a lighter. I’ve also used technical grade alcohol (component cleaner) or naptha in a squirt bottle. While these improvised ‘flame throwers’ are highly effective, you definitely do want to take into consideration the potential for undesired collateral damage as well as being prepared to extinguish all residual flames lest you burn down your house/shed/tree/truck.

  11. Eric

    March 31, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    The best way to get rid of paper wasps is Formula 409 sprayed directly on the nest/wasps. It kills them on contact!!! You can then leave the dead nest there to deter other paper wasps from building there. And if any other wasps land on the nest in the next few hours…they get to die as well. MUAAA-HA-HA.

  12. lindajane

    March 31, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    I’ve found a way to deter carpenter bees from nesting in my garage is to put water 1/3 full in a gallon ziplock bag and hang it in the garage. I use a pants hanger that you get at a big box store when you buy pants or jeans. The bees think the bag is a wasp nest, they don’t like wasps so they stay away.

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