What can I do about wasps in my petunias? #258866 - Ask Extension

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What can I do about wasps in my petunias? #258866

Asked July 02, 2015, 5:17 PM EDT

I have 8 pots full of petunias on my front patio. There is no grass, just concrete and landscape rocks. A family of wasps have moved in. There is no nest nearby that I can see. Will a wasp trap be effective? This is the second year of them being there although there wasn't so many last year.

Multnomah County Oregon

Expert Response

If you are certain that you have wasps, traps or lures in the area may bring you some rest from the male wasps (drones). Different products will work for different wasps (for example, yellowjackets are meat-eaters). The nest is likely not far away and may be underground (we had one last year in the base of the neighbors pampas grass). But the good news is that the male wasps (drones) will die off in the fall. It is only the queen that survives the winter. Wasps are unlikely to nest in the same spot again next year.
Here is some more information from our Extension Service and a link to help with identification:
http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/wasps-vacate-nests-fall
http://www.pesticide.org/bees_wasps

Hilary Hutler Replied July 07, 2015, 11:44 AM EDT
The wasps prevent me from getting near the pots to dead-head or even to water. I can't wait for the drones to die off. Will wasp/hornet spray damage the blooms of the petunias.
 
Thanks for the quick response!
The Question Asker Replied July 08, 2015, 3:28 AM EDT
Oh dear! Is there a way to run a sprinkler in the area for a bit for water (not the most efficient way to water), but perhaps it would allow the wasp activity to die down a bit and then you could get in there and deadhead. Maybe even with the sprinkler running on low? It might also allow you to find a specimen for identification, which would help you choose the right type or method of trap. I wouldn't recommend spraying - it could definitely damage your plants. A better choice is to identify the pest using the article I posted above. If you have doubts, feel free to bring a sample in to one of our offices. Our Multnomah Co. office is at 2701 NW Vaughn St., Suite 450, Portland, OR 97210. We are open 10-2 M-F.
Hilary Hutler Replied July 08, 2015, 9:07 AM EDT

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