Wasps can be a nuisance in summer when you want to enjoy eating outdoors or gardening. Their painful stings make them a pest you want to avoid. Using strategic plants is one natural way to deter wasps from areas of your yard. So what plant do wasps hate that can be used to repel them?
Several herbs, flowers, and other plants have aromas or oils that wasps find offensive or irritating. Interplanting these around areas you frequent can create an unwelcoming environment that discourages wasps from congregating.
Why Deter Wasps?
Before exploring the plants, let’s first look at why keeping wasps away is advisable:
Painful stings – Wasp stings induce an instant painful welt along with itching and swelling. Stings can be especially dangerous for those allergic.
Aggressive when threatened – Wasps become very aggressive when provoked or threatened near their nest. It’s easy to accidentally antagonize them.
Ruin outdoor activities – Wasps photobombing picnics, gardens, pools and other outdoor areas can really put a damper on enjoyment.
Sting repeatedly – Unlike bees that can only sting once, wasps can sting multiple times and attack in groups. This makes their stings even more hazardous.
Using plants wasps detest around key areas makes them less likely to frequent or linger there.
Best Plants to Repel Wasps
Here are some of the top plants and herbs that can help repel wasps:
Lavender is one of the most famous wasp-repelling plants. The strong fragrance from its leaves and flowers irritate wasps and deters them from lingering. Plant lavender bushes around patios, picnic areas, or gardens. Crush leaves to release more aroma.
Mint is another herb that wasps dislike, as the potent menthol odor repels them. Grow mint in pots near doorways or plant mint patches in gardens. Crush leaves regularly to strengthen the scent.
Several types of basil, including sweet basil, lemon basil and Thai basil, contain oils that naturally deter wasps. Keep basil pots on picnic tables or grow bushes in the garden. Rubbing the leaves releases more odor.
Marigolds have a strong, pungent smell that wasps, and even mosquitoes, do not like. Plant marigolds in flower beds, borders or containers. The repellant properties are strongest when the flowers are in bloom.
Whole dried cloves emit a spicy, powerfully scented oil called eugenol that wasps avoid. Place cloves in small bags or pots and keep them around food when eating outdoors. You can also crush cloves and spread powder around wasp nests.
Citronella is a popular natural repellent used in candles and sprays. The lemony scent masks other attractive smells. Grow citronella grass or use citronella essential oils around areas where wasps are problematic.
Pure peppermint oil contains high concentrations of menthol that irritate wasps. Use cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil in strategic spots to help whisk wasps away.
Clove Oil/Eugenol Oil
As mentioned, the compound eugenol in cloves wards off wasps. Bottled clove essential oil or eugenol oil can be diluted and sprayed around nests or other areas to deter wasps.
Lemon grass contains citronella and has a similar repelling effect. Keep lemon grass planted in containers near problem areas.
Catnip has a smell that wasps avoid. Keep catnip planted near dining areas or grow it in pots to help repel wasps. Dry and crush the leaves to emit more aroma.
Other Wasp Deterrent Tips
In addition to using plants wasps hate, here are some other tips for keeping areas less hospitable to wasps:
- Remove food sources like rotting fruit that attract wasps
- Avoid fragranced soaps, perfumes or lotions which draw wasps
- Stay away from flowering plants that attract wasps
- Seal garbage cans and use lids on compost piles
- Use traps or knock down nests to reduce wasp populations
- Avoid swatting at wasps and making sudden movements
Using repellant plants is the safest, most sustainable way to discourage wasps. Combine plants with other deterrents to create an area wasps will want to avoid.
If bothersome wasps are interfering with your ability to relax and enjoy your yard, make use of plants and herbs they dislike. Lavender, mint, basil, citronella grass, cloves, catnip and marigolds can create a perimeter or zone that helps naturally repel wasps. Pair these repellant plants with other techniques to minimize stings and keep wasps away humanely.