Yellow Jackets: how to deal with them
If you ask an experienced swimming pool owner what the worst part about owning a pool is, there is a good chance they will list insects as their chief frustration. When it comes to how to get rid of yellow jackets, we are unquestionably referring to one of the most frustrating poolside pests around. There are a number of different bugs that can get into your water, which is particularly true when pools are not properly maintained. At the same time, and perhaps even more frustrating, are the insects who will come to your pool as a massive source of water.
Why are these insects, particularly bees, wasps, and yellow jackets, more frustrating? Because you may not even be able to find the nest! Bugs that live in swimming pools will stay there, laying eggs, building nests, and so forth. Again, simple maintenance will likely keep such a circumstance from ever actually occurring. You can also easily enough eliminate the problem right at the source.
With something like yellow jackets, the challenge of elimination is considerably greater. You may not ever be able to locate the source of a yellow jacket nest if these stinging, troublesome insects make their way to your swimming pool. What can be done?
Thankfully, there are a number of ways to keep these stingy pests away. The same can be said for bees, wasps, and similar irritants. Don’t let these guys keep you from enjoying everything your swimming pool has to offer!
Why Are Yellow Jackets Bugging Me At My Pool?!
This is a very easy question to answer. Simply put, what is any animal doing at your swimming pool? Chances are, they are compelled by the possibility of a massive water source. Imagine how your swimming pool must seem to something like a wasp or yellow jacket. As far as such insects are concerned, they have hit the motherlode of water supplies! It isn’t as though they are there to ruin your good time. Yet their irritating presence can certainly make it difficult to relax in your swimming pool as you would like to.
The issue is made worse by the fact that we are talking about stinging insects. Bees are less problematic in this regard, as they tend to only sting when they feel threatened. Bees are considerably less aggressive by and large than wasps/yellow jackets, so they can be easier to ignore. Still, you may not like them constantly buzzing around, causing a distraction at best, and an opportunity to run into the house to deal with a sting at worst. If you have someone who is particularly allergic to stings, your instinct might be to keep them away from the pool altogether.
You really don’t have to go that far. As we indicated before, there are a number of safe, simple ways to keep yellow jackets and similar pests from causing disruptions. In fact, there are even things you can do which will avoid having to kill them at all. You can certainly spray or swat them if you want, but we would actually advise against this whenever possible. This is due to the fact that such insects can be tremendously useful at eating even more annoying pests, such as flies and centipedes. They’re not really even interested in you specifically, so it’s best to at least attempt to simply dissuade or distract them.
Thankfully, on that front, you will find several different possibilities available to you.
Keeping Yellow Jackets And More Away From Your Swimming Pool
There are in fact several useful and viable methods for keeping yellow jackets away from your swimming pool. These can work for similar insects, but you may have to try different things to get the best results.
We will also discuss traps that do indeed kill them if that’s your preference:
- Wormwood: You may not know this, but yellow jackets have an extreme aversion to wormwood. You can easily plant these shrubs around your pool/patio area, which has an excellent chance of keeping them from ever coming to the vicinity in the first place. Just keep in mind that this plant contains the substance known as absinthe. Highly toxic on its own, this plant should not be established near other plants. Under no circumstances should you consume this plant in any form or fashion.
- Fresh Cucumber: This one may strike you as strange, but it’s true! Simply purchase your fresh cucumber, cut it into as many slices as possible, and arrange them in a single layer on a dish covered in aluminum. The cucumber will react with the aluminum, which in turn will give off a distinctive chemical odor. You won’t notice this odor, but yellow jackets will make it a point to stay far away!
- Spearmint: The good knows is that spearmint is a remarkably simple plant that you can establish just about anywhere. Among other things, it has been known to keep yellow jackets away. The bad news is that it can also be a rather invasive plant. You can offset that second part by cutting the bottom away from your pot, planting your spearmint inside, and setting the pot inside the ground.
- DIY Traps: This is an option for those who want to eradicate yellow jackets and similar insects who show up in and around your pool area. Yellowjackets specifically first appear during early spring, hanging around until sometime in the fall. For this suggestion, as well as others, you should try to set things up as early into the season as possible. Create a simple trap using an old two-liter soda bottle. All you need is a stapler, a bit of raw meat, and some water, and then a sweet-smelling beverage like juice or soda. The idea with this trap is that the yellow jackets, or whatever the case may be, will be attracted by the meat and liquid. The trap will then keep them stuck inside the bottle, and they will proceed to simply fly around, until they tire themselves out, drop into the liquid, and drown. These traps should be spaced apart from one another (around 20 feet), and you should try to keep them at least 30-40 feet away from your swimming pool area. Make sure to dispose of them daily. There are tons of other DIY wasp and yellow jacket traps to be found online.
- Fake Nests: Establishing fake nests a reasonable distance from your pool may work as a deterrent from yellow jackets and/or wasps bothering you in the actual swimming pool area.
- Thyme: This is another perennial that’s easy to plant just about anywhere. It doesn’t require much in the way of maintenance either. You can plant these as a powerful means of keeping away the yellow jackets, as well. Best of all, should you so desire, the plants can be used in a wide variety of recipes?
- Raw Meat: We mentioned using this in a DIY yellow jacket trap earlier. However, raw meat can be used entirely on its own to keep the yellow jackets away during the swimming pool season. Simply leaving a very small amount away from your pool can work wonders. However, you don’t want to use too much or leave the meat outside overnight. Frankly, this is an option that really only works if you have no other option at that given moment.
These are just a few solutions that you can keep in mind. At the end of the day, you can also opt to call in professional pest control. There is nothing wrong with this measure, but keep in mind you are going to have to spend some money to figure out where they might be to begin with. Your pest control professional will also probably make prevention suggestions along the lines of what we’ve covered here!
A Few More Things To Keep In Mind With Yellow Jackets
With everything mentioned above, you should be able to get your yellow jacket situation under control. There are obviously a few more things you can do, particularly if you don’t have time to implement some of the suggestions we’ve covered.
For example, if you’re serving guests food near the pool, try to do that right before they are ready to eat. Leftovers should be removed from the patio/pool area immediately after everyone is done. Any scraps and trash should be placed indoors, or at least in a garbage can that will include a tight-fitting lid. You can also try to eliminate as much standing water on your property as you can, although your swimming pool will obviously remain the big bullseye for these insects.
Obviously, you don’t want your pool season to be ruined by insects. Whether we are talking about yellow jackets or insects that are notorious for getting into the water to sting and annoy, you will find there are a variety of solutions to suit a wide range of demands. The options above can keep you from having to use dangerous chemicals or sprays in an area in which your friends and family will frequent.