Wasps, yellow jackets and hornets build their nests close to a water source. This is a problem for many hot tub and pool owners. As fall approaches, hornets and wasps become very aggressive. Enjoying your hot tub can be difficult with stinging insects buzzing around your head, luckily there are things you can do to eliminate this problem.
Wasps and hornets spend their lives collecting water and food and bringing it back to the nest. During most of the spring and summer you’ll hardly notice them (unless a nest is nearby). It isn’t until August and September that the worker wasps become aggressive. At this point their little lives are drawing to an end and they are making a last ditch effort to find food before the cold weather finishes them off. This is when you’re at the highest risk of being stung.
Wasps vs. Bees
It’s important to know what type of insect you’re targeting.
Honey Bees are not aggressive and won’t sting unless they or their hive is being threatened. Honey bees are vital to the wellbeing of our Earth and food supply. If you have a honey bee nest that you want removed, call a professional honey bee relocation company. Often they will happily provide this service at no charge. Please do not kill the honey bees!
Spraying a honey bee nest with poison will also poison the honey. Neighboring honey bees will find and carry this poisoned honey back to their hives, causing catastrophic death to many thousands of honey bees.
The best method for dealing with wasps is prevention. If you can prevent them from taking up residence or congregating in an area that you use, you may both live in peace.
Create a Barrier: Wasps are attracted to hot tubs because they are a water source. Prevent the wasps from accessing your hot tub water by using a Floating Hot Tub Blanket. These blankets lay on top of the water, insulating by eliminating evaporation and blocking debris and insects from accessing the water.
This method is very effective, especially when there is an easier to access water source nearby, which the wasps will favor instead.
Repel Wasps: Wasps are repelled by certain smells such as eucalyptus and mint. Prevent wasps from being attracted to your hot tub by using a Eucalyptus or Mint scented hot tub aromatherapy fragrance.
Wasp & Hornet Traps
Traps which contain attractant vials are highly effective at trapping and drowning wasps and hornets, and do not attract honey bees.
By adding a few drops of dish soap to the water chamber, the wasps will not be able to float on top of the water and will drown. You’ll need to replace the attractant vial about once every 1-2 weeks, and dump the dead wasps out every other day or so.
These traps create a diversion and help reduce or eliminate the wasps frequenting your hot tub.
If you’re lucky enough to find the location of the nest, there are several ways to eliminate it. Targeting the nest as early in the year as possible will reduce the amount of wasps you have to deal with, as wasp and hornet colonies grow all summer long. Wasps are also most aggressive in late summer and may attack if you come too close to the nest. Some options for nest removal are:
- Calling an Exterminator – If you’re allergic to bee stings, the nest is in a hard-to-reach location, or you feel that DIY removal is out of your comfort zone, it is best to call on a professional. Better safe than sorry!
- Using Pesticides – Pesticides designed to kill wasps and hornets are available at most home improvement and super market stores. Be sure to read and follow all safety instructions on the bottle prior to use.
- Using a Fire Extinguisher – Many people online have reported success using fire extinguishers to instantly freeze and kill nests of hornets.
The pesticide and fire extinguisher method come at a risk. Unsuccessful application could mean a swarm of angry stinging insects headed your way quickly. When in doubt, call a professional.
Are you having trouble with hornets or wasps around your hot tub? Have tips or questions on how to get rid of them? Post your comment below!