Drakenstein Municipality shares advice amid paper wasp infestation

European paper wasps have the potential to become a serious pest and annoyance to humans. Picture: City of Cape Town Supplied

European paper wasps have the potential to become a serious pest and annoyance to humans. Picture: City of Cape Town Supplied

Published Jan 17, 2024


A surge in the number of paper wasps has been observed in the Drakenstein municipal area.

Drakenstein Municipality has urged residents to practise caution when dealing with nests on their property.

“We urge all our residents to exercise caution, as paper wasps are territorial and will sting anyone who approaches their nest. Furthermore, they may invade your property and establish multiple nests. This poses a threat to residents and local ecosystems, particularly our honeybee colonies. While it is the prerogative of each Drakenstein resident to attend to the presence of paper wasps on their respective properties, the municipality would like to share suggestions,” a post by the municipality read.

Keep these important local wasp removal contacts close at hand in case of emergency:

• Eduanne Niemand: 082 380 1987

• Johan Rautenbach: 083 412 3406

Tips and advice:

1. Seal possible entry points with silicone caulk, and expandable foam (or newspaper, if in a pinch). You can get sealants are your local hardware store.

It’s important to inspect all entry points to your home. If there are wasps indoors, check eaves, brick mortar, garage beams, washing lines, and vent areas for nests. Wasps often build nests in these locations, using even the smallest cracks to enter.

2. Keep trash bins closed. Wasps are attracted to food sources like exposed garbage, recycling bins, and composting food.

That’s why you should make sure your garbage bins are tightly closed – if you don't have a bin with a secure locking lid, you can use a bungee cord or rope.

Stinging insects such as wasps are attracted to sugary beverages, so if you’re having a braai outside, consider pouring your drinks into cups with a closed lid. Wasps are known to climb into cans and sting when someone takes a sip.

3. Get rid of food scraps.

Don’t dump food waste straight into your wheelie bin but rather place it in plastic bags, compostable liners or refuse bags (this will also contain bad odours).

Try not to let your kitchen waste sit in your kitchen bin for too long. Aim to take food waste out to your main bin regularly.

You will also keep wasps away when you clean your inside and outside bins with disinfectant and hot water weekly.

If you have fruit trees, make sure you collect the fallen fruit quickly, bag it and dispose of it in a sealed wheelie bin.

4. Scatter citrus peels outdoors. Wasps dislike the smell of citrus, so scatter them around your outdoor areas, near entry points to your home, or when you go out to enjoy a picnic.

5. Spray dishwasher soap and water solution on small hanging nests.

Mix two tablespoons of dish soap in a spray bottle filled with water and spray directly on the wasp nests. This kills the insects.

Vinegar can also be used to kill wasps, so you can also make a wasp trap. Mix apple cider vinegar, sugar, and water together in a bowl. Stir and leave your trap near the wasp nest – it will lure them in and cause them to drown.

6. Grow wasp-repellent plants such as mint, basil or citronella.

Other wasp-repellent plants include mint/spearmint, thyme, marigolds, geranium and lemongrass. Paper wasps tend to avoid these strong-smelling plants.

You may also mix a solution of water and essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil. Spray this mixture around your home to repel paper wasps.

Cape Times