Picture it: you’re getting ready to do your regular garden maintenance, and you’ve moved on to trimming the bushes. Everything seems normal and- ugh! Your bushes are full of wasps. Frankly, I could think of a few things that are as exasperating as when wasps have taken home in your beloved bushes. So let’s take a few steps back and go over the best methods on how to how to trim bushes with wasps.
What Are The Deal With Wasps?
Sometimes, it might not feel like it, but wasps can be your friend in the garden. Wasps are predatory insects; they feed off the bad guys that attack your crops. Unfortunately, wasps are easily agitated and prone to attack if approached.
Wasps enjoy making their homes out of natural resources where they feel protected. Hence, many people tend to find them housed in their bushes. Wasps can be either solitary or social and live in a colony. Either way, finding them in your bush is terrible news if you’re looking to do some landscaping.
Wasps are very aggressive if they see another creature coming to ruin their good time. Their stings pack a powerful punch, and they can deliver multiple stings at once. The best-case scenario is you walk away with a painful sting, and the worst case is you suffer from a nasty allergic reaction.
What Are Your Options?
As you’ve probably figured out by now, handling a wasp situation has the potential to be gravely dangerous. Unfortunately, this leaves you with few options.
If you’d prefer to take the humanitarian approach and let bygones be bygones, you can leave the wasp nest unharmed. Now, do keep in mind you’ll have to skip trimming that bush altogether for the year. You can check back on the wasp nest to see if they’ve all died off during the winter freeze.
If you’re genuinely dead-set on trimming those bushes, the safest option is to remove the wasps’ nest. This could be a hard decision, especially with the benefits wasps provide. But safety is above everything else, and wasps aren’t safe, especially with young kids or pets in the household.
With careful consideration, you can successfully rid your bushes of wasps. Here are some tips on how to exterminate an infestation of wasps.
Examining the Nest
It is recommended to sit back and first observe the situation in the affected bush. Then, you should focus on where the wasps are flying in and out to get a general idea of where the nest is. Try checking it out during the middle of the day, when the wasps are actively zipping about.
Suppose you’re brave enough for a closer look. In that case, I can’t stress enough the importance of timing. Wasps are typically resting in the hive late at night and early in the morning. At this time, they are less active and less aggressive. Though fair warning: If you do anything to wake up the wasps, they can and will attack. During these calmer hours, you can get a better look at where the nest’s opening is. Do not take any action against the hive until you know where the nest’s opening is, as it will be your gateway to expelling the wasps.
Preparing for Battle
Those wasps aren’t going down without a fight, so you need to come into the battlefield fully protected. Gloves, goggles, boots, and a bee veil will help ensure your most vulnerable areas are protected from any retaliation from the wasps. Also, wear thick, long-sleeved clothes and tuck the insides of your pants into your socks. The key here is to make sure there’s no entry point for the wasps to touch your skin. It is also recommended to line the insides of your pants with paper bags to add a second layer of protection.
Keep your distance; if wasps sense you’re nearby and a threat, they’ll go into an absolute frenzy. You should be standing at least 15 feet away from the target with the wind behind you. Using a pesticide spray allows you to spray from that far a distance.
Prepare a mixture of pyrethrin insect spray. Pyrethrin is the ideal choice when exterminating a wasp nest in a bush. It is made of entirely natural ingredients (pyrethrin is derived from daisies) and, therefore, will not cause damage to your bushes, unlike other pesticides. You should mix 3 to 5 tablespoons of pyrethrin for every 1 gallon of water.
Exterminating the Nest!
Now that you are fully prepared to tackle this nest, it’s time to go in for the kill. Aim your pesticide sprayer directly at the entrance of the wasps’ nest. Spray pesticide into the entrance and keep spraying until the nest is entirely saturated with pesticide.
Leave the nest alone for the next 24 hours. Then, if you still see wasps flying around, give the nest another spray. The second spray should be enough to finish off the nest once and for all.
And please (I cannot stress this enough), if you feel like the nest is too big for you to handle, there’s no shame in calling professional help. Exterminators are trained professionals with the tools and resources to handle difficult situations such as a wasp nest. Remember- your safety is the top priority!
Help! I Got Stung, What Do I Do?
Ouch! Accidents do happen, and sometimes wasps can get the better of you. If you are allergic to wasp stings, I recommend seeking medical attention immediately. Depending on the severity of your allergic reaction, seek emergency services.
Even if you aren’t allergic, wasp stings are painful! Check out these tips on how to alleviate the pain and treat stings.
You might notice the afflicted area has swollen up. This doesn’t cause an emergency unless the wasp has stung you in the mouth, nose, or throat; these areas can cause difficulty breathing when swollen.
First, you should cleanse the area with warm water and soap. Cleaning the affected sting washes off any residual bacteria and venom the wasp might have been carrying.
Apply a cold compress to the area. Do this in 10-minute intervals for 30 minutes to an hour. This helps bring down the initial swelling from the sting.
Taking an anti-inflammatory pill such as ibuprofen aids in reducing swelling and acts as a painkiller. In addition to an anti-inflammatory medicine, applying an antihistamine cream can also significantly reduce pain and swelling.
While the initial sting can be excruciating, this pain only lasts a day or two. However, if you notice redness and swelling are still persistent, I recommend you seek medical help, as this is a sign of infection.
Now that you’ve tackled the wasp nest head-on, you can finally move on with trimming your bushes. Unfortunately, the wasps needed to be removed to landscape, but it’s a safety measure. While wasps are beneficial insects, they can be incredibly dangerous and a huge liability to live in your bushes. In addition, their aggressive, temperamental attitude can cause severe complications for unsuspecting humans, cats, and dogs.
Thankfully, now with the right tools and knowledge, you’ll know how to calmly (and safely) handle a wasp infestation in your bushes if the problem ever arises again!
“Dealing with Wasp Nests in Bushes & Shrubs.” Pest Ideas. https://pestideas.com/wasp-nest-in-bushes/
Dyer, M.H. “How to Get Rid of Wasps in Bushes.” SF Gate. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/rid-wasps-bushes-75770.html
Schalau, Jeff. “Wasps and Yellow Jackets.” The University of Arizona Extension. https://cals.arizona.edu/yavapai/anr/hort/byg/archive/waspsandyellowjackets.htmled.”
Agronomy Department of Purdue University https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/Tassels.html
WebMD Editorial Contributors. “Remedies for Wasp Stings.” https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/remedies-wasp-sting