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How to Keep Wasps Away at a BBQ

Do you decline outdoor invitations because you don’t know how to keep wasps away? Maybe you’d like to host a BBQ at your house but your own fear of wasps is making you overthink it?

Of all the overthinking that follows an invitation to a BBQ, my fear of bees and wasps is certainly high on the list.

How do you keep wasps away from a BBQ? There are ways to help deter wasps from your home or from yourself at an outdoor gathering. By avoiding perfume, bright colors, staying calm, removing food promptly, and hanging decoy wasps nests, you can help keep bees and wasps away from your BBQ.

Wasp on a white surface.

As with most things in nature, the actions of wasps are out of our control. As it should be, we need to respect the different creatures of the world.

However, there are some things we can do to help keep wasps away while we enjoy our family and friends at an outdoor event.

Related post: Ways to keep bugs away during an outdoor run.

How to keep wasps away from your yard

If you are hosting the BBQ, here are some things you can do to help keep bees and wasps away from the party.

Know what attracts wasps

What are wasps attracted to? Human fear. Just kidding. That’s what my mind thinks wasps are attracted to. More likely, though, wasps will seek out sweet smells and any type of food.

Be sure to cover all garbage cans tightly and keep them away from your BBQ area. Pick up any dog food or fruit that falls from your fruit trees right away.

Wasps are known to remember where they find food. So, if they sniff out Fluffy’s kibble one day, they may check back to see what else is on the menu.

Check for wasp nests

Do a perimeter check for wasp nests well before a BBQ. Check the obvious spots like under the deck, in between fence posts, and on your shed.

Also check any holes in the ground, bird feeders, bird houses, loose pieces of gutter or siding on your house, or any other things with holes.

We have an old metal clothesline in the yard. It was once capped at the end, but now it’s open and the perfect spot for nests.

If you see a wasp in your yard, try to carefully follow it to locate the nest.

I like to check for nests early and often so they don’t get too big to tackle. Use extreme caution, and possibly hire an expert, to remove any nests.

Spray a wasp deterrent

It’s important to use natural wasp deterrents instead of harsh chemicals that harm other living things and the environment. Find an easy blend of oils to use in this article here.

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Hang wasp nest decoys

Wasps are territorial and will seek out a nest-free area to build their own. Hanging fake wasp nests around your yard is the kindest and safest way to help deter wasps. No chemicals, no killing, and no fuss to place a few decoy nests around your yard.

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Remove food right away

Eliminate temptation by disposing of food right after you eat. If you are setting out food ahead of time for a gathering, be sure to cover it.

If possible, set up an area right inside your house to easily grab what you need when you need it to prevent food items from sitting outside.

How to attend a BBQ if you are afraid of wasps

Want to say YES to that BBQ invitation but a fear of wasps holding you back? Here are some things you can do to make yourself less attractive to stinging creatures.

Avoid perfume

A common sense approach to avoid attracting bees and wasps is to not smell like a flower. Skip the sweet and floral body lotions and perfumes if you plan to hit up a BBQ.

Instead, dab some peppermint or eucalptus oil on your wrists and neck. You will still smell fresh and clean while wearing a scent many insects hate. Bonus — both of those oils are known to be calming as well.

Wear certain colors

While you don’t want to smell like a flower, you also don’t want to look like one. Avoid bright colors and floral patterns. You may also want to put some extra social distancing between any other people who look or smell like a giant flower.

Eat inside

If your fear of wasps interferes with your meal, ask the host if there’s any way you can eat inside. If not, at least pick a seat far from the garbage can or other areas that may attract wasps.

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Watch your drink

For the love of everything, don’t set your pop can down outside and come back to it later. I am always floored when people do this until I remember not everyone has a paralyzing fear of wasps.

If you drink from a pop (or soda) can outside, bring a cover or protector with you. Insects love the sweet smell of sugary drinks. They will hop right in and take a sip. If you don’t see the wasp hanging out inside your can, it’s a great way to get stung in the mouth. (HORROR)

Examine your fear

Digging deep on why you are afraid of something can help gain a bit of control over the fear. At least, for me, I find that dissecting my fears helps. What’s the worst that can happen if you do get stung by a wasp at a BBQ?

An allergy? If you have a known allergy to bees or wasps, of course, that is a legitimate fear. What is the solution to that fear? Being prepared. Bring what you need to treat an allergy should you get stung.

Pain? If it’s pain of a wasp sting that you fear, again, that’s valid. However, when you think about it, how bad can the pain actually be? Bring a little kit of supplies to help treat the pain of a sting.

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I realize fears don’t have to make sense. There comes a time when you have to weigh the fears against the regret of skipping an event. If it means a lot to you to attend, try to make it happen. You’ll feel empowered once you tackle your fear of wasps and show up!

Stay calm

We’ve probably all been told not to swat at bees and wasps, but that’s easier said than done when you are afraid of them. I don’t even mean to swat them, it’s more like I’m going to scream and run for my life and that results in flailing around.

It’s more embarrassing than anything at this point, but it also causes the wasp to release pheromones to alert its buddies. Try to remember that panicking when an insect buzzes by only makes things worse.

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Educate yourself

Sometimes learning more about what you are afraid of can help. Learning about bees completely switched my mindset about them. They went from horrifying to cute all from me taking the time to read more about them.

I still struggle with wasps because they seem extra murderous and angry. Of course, that’s not true, and they actually have a purpose on the planet. Without wasps, many other insects would take over our gardens and crops.

Wasp on a white surface.

Hopefully, some of this info helps you feel more prepared to tackle your fear of wasps at a BBQ. Spend more time focusing on the people instead of the insects at your next outdoor gathering!