Nadine Walder , 5 July 2024


Essential oils against wasps: Natural defence for a wasp-free summer

Summer, sunshine, barbecues – the perfect time to relax outside and really enjoy life. But just when we're getting cosy on the patio or in the garden, they turn up: Wasps. These little pests can quickly spoil your good mood. Fortunately, there are natural ways to keep wasps away without having to resort to chemicals. Essential oils such as lavender or lemon oil are real secret weapons in the fight against annoying insects. Find out how these oils work, how you can use them and what other home remedies there are to keep wasps at bay.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Read on to find out: 

  1. Wasps and their role in the ecosystem
  2. Why are essential oils effective against wasps?
  3. Which essential oils are effective against wasps? 
  4. Use of essential oils against wasps 
  5. Further tips and household remedies against wasps 

Wasps and their role in the ecosystem

For us humans, wasps are usually nothing more than annoying, but in nature they fulfil important tasks. That's why you shouldn't use chemicals to control or even kill wasps. Wasps are effective pest controllers as they hunt and eat numerous insects such as aphids and flies. They are considered the health police among animals as they utilise dead insects, among other things. In addition, wasps, like other animals, contribute to the pollination of plants. 

Wasps are particularly abundant in late summer, which is linked to their way of life. In spring and early summer, wasps concentrate on building nests and rearing their brood. Towards the end of the summer, when brood care is complete and the nests dissolve, the wasps set off in search of food – sugary and protein-rich foods are particularly favoured.

Why are essential oils effective against wasps?

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant essences that contain a variety of active ingredients. Many of these substances have a deterrent effect on insects. Wasps are particularly sensitive to certain fragrances contained in essential oils. The reason for this is that the odour molecules overload their sensory system and thus deter them. Many essential oils contain natural repellents that deter insects. Repellents are substances that serve to deter and keep away insects or pests through their odour or taste. The repellents, such as linalool and citronellal, disrupt the odour receptors of wasps, which disorientates them and keeps them away from the source. The odour of these substances is unpleasant to unbearable for wasps, so they avoid environments with such scents.

Which essential oils are effective against wasps?

  • Lavender oilLavender oil is known for its pleasant scent and calming effect for humans. For wasps, however, the intense odour is anything but inviting. The active ingredients it contains, deter wasps without harming them. 
  • Citrus oils: Citrus oils such as lemon balm oil, lemongrass oil, lemon oil and orange oil are also effective at keeping wasps away. The fresh, lemony scent of these oils is unpleasant for wasps and keeps them at bay. The active ingredients in these oils have a threatening effect on insects. 
  • Citronella oil: Citronella oil is known for its strong repellent effect on a variety of insects, including wasps. The main ingredient citronella overloads the odour sensors of wasps, which keeps them away.
  • Peppermint oil: This oil has an intense, fresh scent that wasps avoid. The menthol compounds it contains have a strong deterrent effect. 
  • Eucalyptus oil: This is also an effective remedy against wasps. Its strong, aromatic scent deters the insects. The eucalyptols contained in eucalyptus oil overload the wasps' odour sensors, which disorientates them. 
  • Tea tree oil: This oil has a characteristic spicy, fresh and slightly earthy fragrance that wasps do not like. The terpenes it contains, have a strong deterrent effect. 
  • Clove oil: This oil has a spicy odour that is avoided by wasps. The fragrance of the eugenol compounds it contains, is perceived as unpleasant by wasps.

Use of essential oils against wasps

When using essential oils, the correct dosage and mixture is crucial. In general, just a few drops of essential oil are sufficient to achieve a deterrent effect. An overdose is also unpleasant for us humans and can lead to skin irritation. When applied directly to the skin, essential oils should always be diluted in a carrier oil or in water to avoid irritation. 

Sprays are easy to make by mixing 5 to 15 drops (depending on the desired intensity) of essential oil in 100 ml of water and pouring into a spray bottle. The bottle should be shaken well before each use. Alternatively, you can use an aroma diffuser or fragrance lamps to continuously diffuse the fragrance. Soaked cloths placed near areas that should remain wasp-free are another practical option. 

Always test essential oils on a small area of skin before use to ensure that no allergic reactions occur. In consultation with a doctor or pharmacist, essential oils can also be applied to the skin. This should always be applied in diluted form to avoid irritation. If babies and small children are present, special care should be taken and essential oils should be used with caution, in low concentrations and in consultation with medical professionals. Certain oils such as eucalyptus and thyme should be avoided.

Further tips and household remedies against wasps

In addition to essential oils, there are other household remedies that can help keep wasps away naturally: 

  • Put a few cloves in half a lemon or orange and place them on the table. 
  • Planting basil on the balcony or terrace is also recommended, as wasps hate the smell. 
  • Planting lavender is also suitable for repelling wasps. 
  • Some people also swear by burning coffee powder or spreading copper coins on the table to keep wasps away. 

In addition to these household remedies, there are practical tips to avoid wasps from the outset. Cover food and drinks outdoors to avoid attracting insects. Avoid strongly scented perfumes and lotions, as these can also attract wasps. 

Essential oils such as lavender, citronella or tea tree oil are effective and natural ways to keep wasps away. By using these oils correctly, you can enjoy your time outdoors without being disturbed by the pesky little creatures. In addition to essential oils, there are the tips mentioned above to help keep wasps at bay. With these easy-to-implement measures, nothing stands in the way of a relaxed and wasp-free summer. 

Do you know any other tips to keep wasps away? Please let us know via e-mail!

Would you like to learn more about how aromatherapy works and how it can help you feel better and improve your mood?

More about aromatherapy

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