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Old 04-16-2010, 10:55 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Chicago Area
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Wasp and Yellow Jacket Repellent

I like to do some of my woodworking outside on hot days. I don't get much of a breeze when I'm in my garage. But warm days also bring out wasps and yellow jackets. Besides, unless I close all the doors of the garage, they come in there, too.

I don't want to kill them or trap them or anything like that. I just want them to leave me the hell alone. But it never fails that as soon as I start cutting, here come the yellow jackets buzzing around my ears and around my saws and drills. I think there is something about the smell of cut wood that attracts them.

I've searched the web, but there is a lot of differing info on repellents and a majority of the websites advocate a total annihilation mentality. Some things I've found:
Citronella
Permethrin
Blue Cypress Essential Oil
Tea Tree Oil
Deet

Has anyone found anything that works? I'm in the Chicago area and would rather not buy all of the above items just to see which works the best.
Old 04-16-2010, 11:17 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: N Texas
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I make no claims about the following, but I'll pass it on 'cause it's cheap.

An outdoor, lakeside restaurant I frequent uses plastic bags full of water. The owner hangs gallon-sized glad-bags full of water all around the balcony. Approx one for each table. He claims the wasps don't like the weird visual effects they get when they fly past them and the water refracts the background.

I'm dubious, but I have to admit we're rarely bothered by wasps or yellowjackets when we eat there. We're also not bothered by elephants, so I'm not sure that things would be any different without the baggies full of water.

Sounds goofy, but it doesn't cost anything to hang a few in your doorway.
Old 04-16-2010, 11:20 AM
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Location: Chicago Area
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That was another thing I read about. Clear plastic bags with water and a penny in them. Apparently, they are supposed to mimic a spider web in an insect's eyes and the penny is supposed to look like a spider.

I also read something about fake hornets' nests as well. Don't know how well they work. One site suggested that I inflate a brown lunch bag, close off the end and hang it upside down. I guess I looks enough like a hornets' nest that they leave the area.
Old 04-16-2010, 11:24 AM
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Can you get your hands on a Pym particle neutralizer?
Old 04-16-2010, 11:49 AM
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Why not trap them? A nearby trap with a scent that they find more appealing than your wood will lure them away and keep them from buzzing back to you.
Old 04-16-2010, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
Why not trap them? A nearby trap with a scent that they find more appealing than your wood will lure them away and keep them from buzzing back to you.

I've done the trapping thing before, and it gets a little nasty. Just a bunch of floating carcasses. So I have to empty them every couple of days and put new bait and such in. That's more work than I want to do.

Besides, it does nothing to really keep them away from me. They may eventually make it over to the trap, but they might be buzzing around me first.
Old 04-16-2010, 12:48 PM
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Location: Again, Titletown
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I've never seen anything that repels bees, wasps, or yellow jackets. As someone who is allergic to bee stings, it is of interest to me. My solution is to ignore them and carry an epi-pen, that seems to work best.

I don't think any of things you listed are effective against bees/wasps/YJs.
Old 04-16-2010, 01:31 PM
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In certain parts of Georgia, a large "How 'bout them 'Dawgs" sign or bumper sticker will probably reduce the number of yellow jackets that visit.....



Closed captioning for non-football fans and other godless commies--Georgia Tech's teams are the Yellow Jackets. University of Georgia teams are the Bulldogs, pronounced "DAWGS". The teams are arch-rivals.
Old 04-16-2010, 11:36 PM
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We had a real problem with wasps under our front porch - it was like a little wasp airport, with a new wasp coming in or out every 30 seconds or so.

I got a fake wasp nest from Canadian Tire, hung it up near the hole under the porch, and that was it - no more wasps, chemical free.

If you can find these, why not hang them right by your open door into your wood-working shop?

Ditto that the wasp traps are nasty - if you don't clean them out regularly, they stink to high heaven.

Last edited by Northern Piper; 04-16-2010 at 11:40 PM.
Old 04-17-2010, 08:32 PM
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Location: Atlanta, Ga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakminster View Post
In certain parts of Georgia, a large "How 'bout them 'Dawgs" sign or bumper sticker will probably reduce the number of yellow jackets that visit.....



Closed captioning for non-football fans and other godless commies--Georgia Tech's teams are the Yellow Jackets. University of Georgia teams are the Bulldogs, pronounced "DAWGS". The teams are arch-rivals.


"To Hell With Georgia!"

Last edited by Eugene of Sandwich; 04-17-2010 at 08:34 PM.
Old 04-17-2010, 11:44 PM
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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To the best of my knowledge, there is no chemical (whether natural or synthetic) that will effectively keep wasps from buzzing around you. DEET (on you) might well keep them from landing (which they will tend to do from time to time, not just to be mean but because the salts in your perspiration are a nutrient to some insects).

I never heard of the fake-nest technique, but it's not totally out of the question that it might work. The bag-of-water technique sounds unlikely to my entomological background.

I realize that you prefer not to trap, but if you should be reduced to that awful extreme, here's a design that costs nothing and works better than commercial wasp traps.

If indeed they are being attracted to the scent of cut wood, that might indicate solitary wood wasps (if you're in a wooded area) rather than social yellowjackets. And wood wasps can't sting. In any case, why not set up a large fan and waft the attractive scent away from you? Even if you can't repel them, you can at least not attract them...
Old 04-19-2010, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene of Sandwich View Post
"To Hell With Georgia!"
Ditto and *iss on 'em


Class of '83
Old 04-20-2010, 09:26 AM
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I'm also in the Chicago area, and one thing I've read but never tried is aggressive trapping early in the spring. Relatively few hornets/etc. overwinter, so if you can knock out a large share of them early, it will limit the number of successive generations.

Yes, I realize others can fly in from your neighbors, but I've wondered how much this could help. Never tried it myself because they don't bother me that much personally.
Old 04-20-2010, 10:53 AM
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If you're getting a lot of them wandering in when you're workin' yer wood out in the garage, there's a chance they've got a hive/nest nearby. See if you can find it and knock it out. You'll still get the occasional scout wandering in, but as Dinsdale notes, getting rid of the ones that are living nearby can make a big difference.

I do a lot of TIG-welding in my garage, and every now and then some bug (often a yellowjacket) will cruise by and go "WOW, that light is REALLY bright, I think I'll fly towards it!" By the time they realize it's actually an earthbound 11,000-degree arc of plasma instead of the sun, it's too late, and they are seared to death.
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