Pest Control

3 Smells Wasps Hate (And Other Deterrents)


Wasps. Even the mere mention of this flying terror is enough to make many people shiver – the sound of the buzzing as it flies past your ear, the sight of it flying your way, will make even the strongest amongst us run for cover! Wasps are a pest we must put up with, or do we?

There are three smells that wasps hate:

  1. Fragrant Herbs and flowers
  2. Chili peppers
  3. WD-40 all-purpose lubricant

These smells are a basic and more humane repellent to wasps. The alternative methods are eradicating them with pesticides, which are more harmful to the environment and cause lasting damage.

There are various remedies that you can use to deter wasps. Some methods are chemical-based, and some are natural remedies, using fragrant herbs and flowers or common sense! There are many ways to reduce the risk of inviting wasps into your personal space.

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3 Smells That Wasps Hate

Planting fragrant herbs and flowers in your garden are not only a proven deterrent against wasps, but as an added incentive, the herbs can be used in cooking your favorite dishes or to add color and scent to your garden and home.

As well as natural fragrances, a few tried and true smelly products will deter any wasp!

1.    Fragrant Herbs

While the fragrant smell of many herbs and certain flowers is soothing to most of us, wasps can be an excellent deterrent that will chase them far away from you and your loved ones! Plant Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Thyme, Citronella, and Marigolds in your garden, preferably under your open windows in pots or directly into the ground.

The different scents of these herbs and flowers will send the wasps in another direction, looking for another place to make a nest and call home, rather than your house!

Another great idea is to spread dried herbs around the house in small containers or create your essential oil blends to spray around your home.

Add cloves and geraniums to the oil base to create a stronger repellent.

Mix in a tablespoon of peppermint oil with four cups of water to use as a repellent spray to drive wasps away.

2.    Chili Pepper And Water

A spray solution of chili peppers and water sprayed onto surfaces will chase wasps away.

Boil chopped chili peppers, about 2 cups, in 2 cups of water for about 2 minutes. Once the mixture has cooled down to where it will not deform the bottle, pour it into any spray bottle, and use it on any surface, whether indoors or outdoors.

3.    WD-40 All-purpose Lubricant

WD-40 is stinky stuff and makes an excellent wasp repellent! While it is chemical-based, the smell should chase the wasps away without harming them. Spray it around your windowsills, under the roof’s eaves, along the railings, and at the base of your patio.

A word of warning, WD-40 is flammable, so do not use it near a grill or lit candles! It can also damage certain surfaces, so be careful where you spray, especially on surfaces damaged by the spray, such as untreated timber, which could absorb the WD-40 and create unsightly stains.

Why A Natural Wasp Repellent?

When we think of eradicating pests like wasps, ants, bees, or even rodents, our first solution is to call a pest exterminator or to buy poison from our local home center store as a do-it-yourself remedy.

These days, the thinking is to try alternate methods to deter these creatures without using harmful chemicals and not kill the pests, but instead get the bug or animal to move out of your area.

Many of these insects are beneficial in nature or serve as a food source for other insects or animals. Bees are fantastic cross-pollinators, so we do not want to eliminate them by the indiscriminate use of pesticides. Birds of prey such as Owls hunt rodents, so by filling the rodents full of poisons, the owls can also die from eating a contaminated rodent.

In today’s society, people are changing their ways of dealing with these natural pests by finding more humane ways to eradicate or deter them instead of using harmful pesticides.

How Else Can I Use to Deter Wasps?

There are 2 types of wasps: Social wasps, who live in large colonies, and solitary wasps, who live and work alone.

Solitary wasps prey on and hunt other insects, while social wasps are most likely to bother you at picnics and social events.

Although the social structure is different, both types of wasps can be dangerous and will sting if provoked.

  • A great and straightforward way to deter wasps is preparation. Remove anything from your personal space that will attract them. Wasps are attracted to anything sweet, but they also need protein, so keep your meat covered, especially at a BBQ or a picnic!

They will be attracted to the protein in your dog’s food, so ensure that the food is covered and only put out as much as your dog will eat in one sitting.

  • Wasps see dark colors as a threat. Instead, wear the colors tan, cream, white, or gray and avoid darker colors such as black, brown, or red.
  • Create a decoy wasps’ nest. Wasps are territorial insects and will not encroach on another wasp’s territory. Make your own wasp’s nest a home project, or buy a commercial decoy wasp’s nest from your nearest garden center. You can control where the wasps can live in your garden instead of moving into where they would like to be.
  • Garbage bins. As these hold various sweet and protein sources, keep the lid tightly closed and as far away from the house as possible. Keep spray bottles filled with different essential herb oils and water sprays around your home, particularly if you are prone to receiving visits from wasps regularly!
  • To keep wasps away from your BBQ, burn incense such as sage, which will confuse and distract them enough to keep them away from your meat – wasps are carnivores and will try to eat your meat as you are cooking it!
  • A beekeeper’s smoker. Filled with pine needles and set alight, the smoker can also smoke wasps away – use this wherever you are outdoors, but make sure you are in a well-ventilated area as the pine needles have a strong smell!

How Can I Trap Wasps?

Sometimes the wasps have already become attracted to your home, and you need to be able to capture them to remove them. Here is one particular method that you can use to trap them before getting rid of them.

Use a vinegar bait solution. In a spray bottle, mix in equal parts water and white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, then you will add a few tablespoons of sugar and a drop of dish liquid. Afterward, you will pour a small amount of the solution into a soda bottle. You can use this solution to trap wasps as they will be attracted by the sugary, fruity solution but will not get out of the soda bottle.

What Does Attract Wasps?

There are a few attractions that you should be aware of if you do have wasps close by – these are on the wasp list of good nesting places:

  1. A safe place to nest.
  2. Insect availability.
  3. Leftover scraps of meat.
  4. Sweet foods.
  5. Certain flowers – nectar and scent.
  6. Sweet-scented perfume.
  7. Herbs such as sweet fennel, Queen Anne’s lace, and Yarrow.


While wasps serve a purpose, we do not necessarily want them around our homes and families daily.

A better way to get rid of nuisance wasps is through natural-based remedies instead of toxic pesticides, especially around your family.

Unfortunately, if all else fails and the wasps do become a nuisance, and you have tried all methods of repelling and deterring them, it may be necessary to call in the pest control services, especially if the wasps are posing a threat to you and your family. This would mean destroying the wasps, so decide if this is a necessary step before you call them for assistance.

Do You Need Pest Control Service?

Get FREE quotes from licensed pest control technicians in your area today. Whether you need spraying for ants, roaches, spiders, ticks, mosquitos, or bed bugs, We Can Help! All technicians are screened, licensed, and insured.

Get a FREE Quote Today
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Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.