Always at Least 50 Paper Wasps in my Small Backyard During the Day
July 9, 2016 6:38 PM   Subscribe

I live in North California. Moved into a new neighborhood house a month ago. Since moving in, I haven't really been able to use the backyard because of what I believe I've identified as 50-75 hovering paper wasps! I have a 2-year-old, so I'd like to get rid of them so that we can enjoy our backyard again.

But how? I've made traps like these:
I bought a paper wasp/yellow jacket trap from Lowe's with no success. They just ignore them. I haven't killed any individual wasps, afraid that they'll send out their little secret signals and start dive-bombing our family.

The nest doesn't seem to be on my property. The wasps seem to fly off to the same direction and just continue to visit my yard in droves. It must be a ENORMOUS nest wherever in the neighborhood the thing is. I've seen the wasps out front and a few houses down as well.

What should I do? Figure out how to make better traps? ( If I could just lessen the numbers from 50 to like 5, it would seem a lot less .. daunting .. to go outside ). Try going door-to-door, rallying the neighbors? Or should I call a pest control pro for our house?

Help! :)
posted by jason9009 to Science & Nature (8 answers total)
Soda bottle wasp traps with a few ounces of coke or ginger ale in the bottom of them are surprisingly effective.
posted by mhoye at 7:17 PM on July 9, 2016

Talk to your neighbors. Someone, possibly homebound or just not an outside person, has a big nest and doesn't know about it. It's probably someone adjacent or, at most, a few houses away. Maybe in a tree, but probably in a shed? Killing the nest will get rid of all of them.
posted by flimflam at 7:22 PM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Maybe contact local university Extension office? This sounds like a good field biology project?
posted by yesster at 8:18 PM on July 9, 2016

I found a product that looks like a wasp nest/paper lantern. They claim wasps see it and think it is a competing nest, and they stay away, quite a long way per the claims


There you go.
posted by Oyéah at 9:00 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: 50 to 75 hovering wasps, all the time?! Call an exterminator, and city pest control while you're at it!
posted by sevensnowflakes at 9:08 PM on July 9, 2016 [6 favorites]

Oyéah, I'd be surprised if that worked, since I >think< that paper wasps have been known to take over other nests.

I agree with calling the city to see what they can do for you, if anything.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:18 PM on July 9, 2016

We cut the number of yellowjackets on our deck to nothing by starting a small pitcher plant bog.
posted by gingerest at 10:53 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

How did you identify them as paper wasps, without seeing their nest?
If you have 50-75 "hovering" wasps in your yard, it is likely that you have a wasp nest within several feet.

You might be looking in the wrong place for the nest, given your identification. The could easily be a ground dwelling yellow jacket (common in northern California). The wasps hover around the entrance of the burrow, and will often strip away vegetation immediately around the entrance to the nest.

Here's an good guide to northern California wasps as pest from the University of California Extension program.
posted by the Real Dan at 10:30 AM on July 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

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