How to Repel Yellow Jacket Wasps

Wasps including yellow jackets serve as valuable pollinators and scavengers when at a safe distance from human activity. When they cross paths with people trying to enjoy the outdoors though, the result can be multiple painful stings. Your control actions can include efforts to repel these creatures.

Spilled sweet drinks can attract yellow jackets.
  1. Wear light or tan clothes rather than light blues, bright pinks, reds and oranges, advises the University of Idaho Extension. Wear close-fitting clothes to avoid the risk of having wasps accidentally trapped against your skin.

  2. Keep food and sweet drinks indoors in the late summer and early fall, when yellow jackets become extremely aggressive. Or cover serving dishes at picnics and clean spills. Move food garbage away from patios.

  3. Seal outdoor trashcans tightly. Yellow jackets will show up in huge numbers if your trashcans are open. They smell food, and food drives them.

  4. Avoid wearing perfume, especially floral scents, as well as soaps, colognes or scented body lotions.

  5. Eliminate drips from faucets and sprinklers to avoid attracting worker wasps.

  6. Clean up rotting fruit that falls from trees, such as apples and peaches, and pick berries before they become overripe.

  7. Tip

    Yellow jackets die out when cold weather arrives.


    If a yellow jacket is bothering you, don't swat it or kill it. The squashed wasp releases an attractant that brings more yellow jackets to the area. Flick the yellow jacket with a fingernail and go inside.