The European wasp reached Tasmania in 1959, probably by hitching a ride on a European ship. Since then, this stinging pest has spread all over southern Australia, causing serious frustration for homeowners in this region. European wasps often build nests in outbuildings, such as garden sheds, and they can turn aggressive if disturbed. Here are some tips you can use to dissuade them from setting up home on your property.
1. Don't Feed the Wasps
European wasps love to feed on sweet things, such as fruit, candy or juice. Avoid storing food in your shed if possible. If you grow fruit and have nowhere else to store it, ensure it is all hidden away inside an airtight container. Check the fruit regularly and throw away any that is rotting or has broken skin: sticky, oozing, decomposing fruit is a delicious treat for wasps. If you enjoy a picnic near your shed, be careful to pick up all leftovers, rather than leaving them for wasps to feast on.
2. Soap Down the Walls
Wasps hate soapy water. The soap film coats their wings and makes it difficult for them to fly, which is why you can kill individual wasps by building a simple soap trap. You can also deter wasps from landing on your shed and starting to construct a nest by rubbing down the walls with soapy water. As the soap dries, it will leave a residue on the shed that helps keep wasps away. Soap down your shed regularly in summer, when wasps are at their most active.
3. Install a Fake Wasp Nest
European wasps live in colonies, which compete with each other for food and other resources. Hanging a fake wasp nest from the eaves of your shed can send out the message that the building is already occupied, which can deter wasps from checking it out as a potential location for their new home. Many hardware stores and garden centres sell fake wasp nests, or you can contact a pest control company to ask about buying and installing one.
4. Call in Pest Control
If you notice a lot of wasps hanging around your garden shed, you may already be dealing with an infestation. Rather than searching for the nest yourself, which risks disturbing the wasps and making them turn aggressive, it's best to call in the experts. Pest control professionals have protective gear that allows them to locate and remove wasp nests without being stung.