When Pests Invade

What Attracts Wasps: the Guide to Understanding Wasp Behavior


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Did you know that a single wasp can sting multiple times, unlike bees that can only sting once?

Wasps can be more than just a nuisance; they can be a real buzzkill, especially when they decide to make your home their home. Understanding what attracts wasps can help you keep these stinging insects at bay. In this guide, we’ll delve into the various factors that draw wasps to your house, traps, and even to you.

What Attracts Wasps to My House?

Why do wasps love your home? Understanding what lures wasps into your living space is the first step in effective wasp management. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just your weekend barbeque in the yard that’s inviting them over. Here’s a deeper look into what really attracts wasps to your house or garden.

Food Sources

Wasps have a varied diet that includes both protein and sugary foods, making your home a potential paradise for them.

  • Protein: During the spring and early summer, wasps hunt for protein-rich foods like insects and meat scraps. So, if you’re grilling outdoors or have pet food lying around, you’re essentially rolling out the welcome mat for them.
  • Sugary Foods: As the season progresses towards late summer and fall, wasps shift their focus to sugary foods. Open soda cans, fruit slices, and even some flowering plants can attract a swarm of wasps.


Wasps are architects in their own right, always on the lookout for the perfect place to build their nests. Your home offers several such spots:

  • Eaves and Lofts: The undersides of eaves and lofts provide a sheltered, undisturbed area for wasps to build their nests.
  • Wall Cavities: These are another favorite. The insulation keeps the nest warm, and the cavity provides protection from predators and the elements.
  • Garden Sheds and Garages: These structures often go unchecked for long periods, making them an ideal nesting spot.

Water Sources

Just like any other living being, wasps need water to survive. In hot weather, they are particularly attracted to:

  • Dripping Outdoor Faucets: A leaky faucet can become a regular watering hole for wasps.
  • Pet Water Bowls: If you leave water out for your pets, chances are you’re also providing a drink for wasps.
  • Ponds and Birdbaths: These can serve as communal gathering spots for wasps, especially during dry spells when water is scarce.

What Attracts Wasps to a Trap?

Trapping wasps can be an effective way to manage a minor infestation, but the success of your trap largely depends on two factors: the bait you use and where you place the trap. Here’s a more detailed look at each.

Types of Bait

Choosing the right bait can significantly increase the effectiveness of your wasp trap. Wasps are attracted to different types of food at different times of the year, so your bait choice should reflect this.

  • Sweet Liquids: Fruit juices, soda, and even wine can be highly effective, especially during late summer and fall when wasps are seeking out sugary substances.
  • Meat: In the spring and early summer, wasps are more interested in protein. Small pieces of cooked meat can be irresistible to them during this period.
  • DIY Mixtures: Some people have found success using a mixture of water, sugar, and a drop of dish soap. The sugar attracts the wasps, while the soap acts as a surfactant, making it difficult for them to escape.

Location of the Trap

The placement of your trap can be just as important as the bait inside it. Here are some tips for optimal trap placement:

  • Away from Gathering Areas: It’s best to place the trap at a distance from areas where people congregate to avoid attracting wasps towards human activity.
  • Near Wasp Hotspots: If you’ve noticed a particular area where wasps tend to gather, placing a trap nearby can be highly effective.
  • Height Matters: Wasps often fly at a height of around 3 to 6 feet off the ground, so placing your trap within this range can increase its effectiveness.
  • Shaded Areas: Wasps prefer shaded areas, especially during hot days. Placing your trap in a shaded location can make it more appealing to them.

What Color Attracts Wasps?

The color of your clothing, garden furniture, or even your picnic blanket can play a surprising role in attracting or repelling wasps. Here’s a more nuanced look at how color influences wasp behavior.

Bright Colors

Bright colors like red, yellow, and orange can attract wasps. These colors are often associated with flowers, which are a natural food source for wasps. If you’re planning an outdoor activity, it’s best to avoid these colors.

White and Light Colors

Wearing white or light-colored clothing can make you less appealing to wasps. These colors are less likely to attract them as they do not resemble their natural food sources or nesting materials.

Patterns and Prints

Interestingly, floral or intricate patterns can also attract wasps, as they can mistake them for actual flowers. If you’re trying to avoid wasps, it’s advisable to stick to solid, light colors.

Practical Tips

  • Consider the color of your outdoor furniture and accessories. Opt for neutral or light colors to make your outdoor space less inviting to wasps.
  • If you’re going camping or picnicking, choose gear and clothing that are less likely to attract wasps.

What Attracts Wasps to Humans?

If you’ve ever been the unfortunate target of a wasp’s attention, you might have wondered, “Why me?” The answer often lies in a combination of scents, colors, and movements. Let’s break it down:


Wasps have an acute sense of smell, which they use to locate food and navigate their environment.

  • Perfumes and Scented Lotions: Floral or fruity fragrances can make you smell like a giant flower to a wasp, attracting them to you. If you’re planning to spend time outdoors, it might be best to skip the perfume.
  • Food and Drink: If you’re eating or drinking something sweet, the scent can attract wasps. Be cautious when having picnics or barbecues.


As we’ve discussed earlier, wasps are attracted to certain colors. When it comes to humans, the same rules apply.

  • Bright Colors: Wearing bright colors like red, yellow, or orange can make you a wasp magnet. These colors resemble flowers, which are a natural food source for wasps.
  • Patterns: Floral prints can also attract wasps for the same reason. Stick to neutral or light colors to be less appealing to them.


Wasps are sensitive to rapid movements, which can make them feel threatened.

  • Swatting: While it might be your first instinct to swat at a wasp buzzing around you, this can provoke it and make it more likely to sting.
  • Running: Similarly, running away can trigger a chase response in wasps. If a wasp is near you, try to move slowly and calmly away from it. If you do get stung here are some tips to help with the pain.

What Attracts Hornets and Wasps?

Though hornets and wasps belong to the same family, their preferences when it comes to food, shelter, and water can differ. Understanding these nuances can help you manage both types of insects more effectively.


Both hornets and wasps are attracted to some of the same basic necessities.

  • Food: Sugary substances and proteins are attractive to both hornets and wasps. This includes fruits, nectar, and small insects.
  • Shelter: Both types of insects seek out sheltered spots for nesting, such as eaves, lofts, and tree branches.
  • Water: Just like wasps, hornets also need water for survival, especially during hot weather. They are attracted to ponds, birdbaths, and even dripping faucets.


While they share some similarities, hornets and wasps have distinct preferences that set them apart.

  • Preference for Insects: Hornets are more predatory compared to wasps and are generally less attracted to human food. They prefer hunting insects, making them less likely to invade your picnic.
  • Nesting Material: Hornets often build their nests from chewed wood pulp, making them more likely to be found in wooded areas. Wasps, on the other hand, use a variety of materials, including mud and plant matter.
  • Aggressiveness: Hornets are generally less aggressive than wasps unless they feel threatened. Understanding this behavior can help you take appropriate precautions when you encounter either insect.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can wasps recognize human faces?

A: While there’s no definitive evidence to suggest that wasps can recognize human faces, they are known to be more aggressive when they feel their nest is threatened. It’s best to keep a safe distance.

Q: What time of day are wasps most active?

A: Wasps are generally most active during the daytime, particularly in the late morning and early afternoon when temperatures are warmer.

Q: Can wasps smell fear?

A: There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that wasps can smell fear. However, they are attracted to scents like perfumes and food, so it’s best to avoid these when spending time outdoors.

Q: How long do wasps live?

A: The lifespan of a wasp can vary depending on the species, but most common wasps live for about 12-22 days.

Q: Are all wasps aggressive?

A: Not all wasps are aggressive. Some species are more docile unless provoked. Always exercise caution when you encounter any type of wasp.

Q: What should I do if I get stung by a wasp?

A: If you’re stung by a wasp, it’s important to clean the area with soap and water and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. If you experience severe symptoms like difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately. Find more tips here


Understanding what attracts wasps to your home, traps, and even to you is crucial for effective wasp management. From the types of food that lure them in, to the ideal nesting spots around your home, and even the colors and scents that can make you a wasp magnet, being aware of these factors can help you take proactive measures to keep these stinging insects at bay.

We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights into the world of wasps and how to coexist with them more peacefully. If you’ve had your own experiences with managing wasps or have tips that could benefit others, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Remember, knowledge is the first step to peaceful coexistence. Stay informed, stay safe!

Recommended Products for Wasp Control

Managing a wasp problem can be challenging, but the right products can make a world of difference. Here are some highly recommended items that can help you keep wasps at bay:

Reusable Wasp Trap

This eco-friendly trap can be used multiple times and is effective for capturing a variety of wasp species.

Disposable Wasp Trap

Ideal for one-time use, this trap comes pre-baited and is easy to set up.

Natural Wasp Spray

Made from organic ingredients, this spray is safe for pets and children. (when used as prescribed)

Wasp Repellent Candles

These candles contain natural oils that deter wasps and can be used outdoors.

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