When I saw an article on getting rid of wasps without poisoning them, I was elated. The Mason bees which have been visiting our home each spring started visiting their nest(s) in May this year and the wasps arrived with them. As this is in an area we use daily, we were not happy about the wasps. So began my first part of an experiment and here's the rest of the story ... and I bought potted flowering marigolds for starters ...
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces,~ Dr Martin Luther King, Jr
I would still plant my apple tree [today].”
Flowers & Herb List to repel Wasps
In past years I have not planted marigolds as the slugs and bugs usually ate most of them before they grew. I potted the largest I could buy and put them very close to the Mason bees nest. I also planted them in the garden and another pot on the outside patio table where we eat. Here is my short list of a few other herbs to grow to repel wasps, even though the Mason Bees have been and gone for another year.
Herbs: Mint, Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme and Sage are herbs that are grown throughout my gardens. All these fragrant herbs keep wasps away. Sage, lavender and rosemary can live through a mild winter and are flourishing and flowering as I write. The sage is my favourite as the blossoms are a huge native bee attractant so will propagate some more this year as well as the lavender. Mint is grown in a large pot in the garden and smaller pots which overwinter in the greenhouse. I move the small mint pots around as needed. Mint is dormant in our cold season and if left to grow unrestrained will take over any garden.
“It is ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray.”~Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
More on Flowers ... & Eucalyptus
I spend a lot of time in the vegetable patch during Spring & Summer and am happy to let perennial flowers and herbs survive on their own. If you are a "flower" gardener here are a few flowers that may repel insects in your gardens:
Marigold and lavender top my list. The list continues with tansy, petunias, geraniums, lemongrass, chamomile and nasturtiums
I could not help but note that eucalyptus oil was on the "strong scent repel wasp" list. I use this oil often but it is much too expensive to use in the garden. An alternative I am going to try is hanging branches of eucalyptus tree when I find wasps in the yard and see if that helps. This is only useful if you have access to a eucalyptus tree of course!
Notes on Wasps
- Note #1: According to a local pest control firm, there was an "invasion" of stink bugs last Fall. Here is another interesting article I found for a method of Insect Control from University of Maryland
- Note #2: Just could not resist adding this final link: "Plant Flowers to Encourage Beneficial Insects" from the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Note #3: The idea is to repel (not kill) the wasps which can be a beneficial insect in the garden. "Wasps are a gardener's friend" from University of Minnesota (2023)
- Note #4: One of my favourite fruit - the fig - is pollinated by very small wasps of the family Agaonidae. USDA "Link "Fig Wasps"
- A personal note: I disturbed a small "nest" of wasps in the garden a few years ago and was stung at least 5 times in the same area of my arm. It was extremely painful for some hours and quite swollen for a few days. If you are allergic ensure you always carry your Epipen (auto-injectable device that delivers the drug epinephrine) when outside especially gardening. It may very well save your life.
I admit that I have learnt a lot about stinging wasps while writing this article. The marigolds helped as we did not (& do not) have the wasps near the back area of the house or gardens. As well, we did not have the large number that usually visit the gardens each year. So I am going to be planting more permanent herbs, such as perennial lavender and will be propagating lots of new sage. And yes, during Mason Bee season next Spring I will make a point of having lots of marigolds to plant and pot.
Enjoy the fragrance and colour of your garden this Summer - Best wishes ~ Liz
PS: The idea is to repel the wasps which can be a beneficial insect in the garden
The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another's, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.~ Leo Buscaglia
Links & References:
- CAP: 'Pest Alert: Marmorated Stink Bug in BC' (2020) if you would like more information on the 'stink bug
- CAP: And here's a few ideas how to get along with bigger "critters" in your veggie patch 'Raccoons, Deer & Other Critters in Your Veggie Garden' (2020)
- CAP: 'Plants to Attract Bees to Your Garden' (2014)