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Things that Attract Stinging Insects

Spending time outside is great until the stinging insects show up. Even though people try to avoid wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets, they may be inviting them into their yard. Insects seek out places with food, water, and shelter, but there are other things that make them feel at home. We’ve made a list of things that could be attracting stinging insects to your yard.



Plant nectar is the main food source for stinging insects. However, they can get their meals from other sources. Like us, stinging insects like protein and sweet treats. The meals you eat outside could be attracting these bugs to your yard. After enjoying a meal in your yard, make sure to clean up trash and any food residue. To keep them from invading your picnic, keep your food and drinks covered. It’s also important to regularly remove trash and to keep your trash cans tightly sealed.


Perfume Fragrance

Since stinging insects are attracted to sweet food sources, it’s no surprise that they also like sweet scents. When spending time outside, avoid wearing perfumes with a sweet fragrance. Wearing stronger scents can attract them as well. Sunscreen is usually a staple for a day outside, but you’ll want to choose one that isn’t scented. Flowers are great for brightening up your yard, but some of their fragrances can attract stinging insects. Keeping them further away from your home can reduce the likelihood of being stung.


Light bulb

While most stinging insects spend nights in their nests, some of them are attracted to light. European worker hornets are active at night and are known for being attracted to exterior lights. Sometimes they even fly into closed windows because they see interior lights. There are parasitic wasps that are active at night. These wasps are drawn to lights and rely on them when searching for hosts. One way to reduce their presence is to use yellow light bulbs instead of cool, white light bulbs. Insects aren’t as attracted to warmer light sources so this will help keep them away.


Dog drinking from pet bowl

Water is important to the survival of insects. Places that provide access to moisture are on their radar. One of the best things you can do to make your yard less inviting to stinging insects is to reduce moisture. If you have bird baths or keep a water bowl outside for your pets, you’ll want to change the water regularly. Empty any buckets or containers that are filled with water. Make sure your gutters are working properly and not holding water.



The presence of other pests can attract stinging insects. Pests, like spiders and ants, serve as a food source for stinging insect larvae. To prevent stinging insects from hanging out in your yard, you’ll want to keep other pests away. Clear your yard of leaf litter, woodpiles, and other yard debris that acts as shelter to bugs. Many of the things that attract stinging insects, will attract other bugs as well. Working to prevent one pest problem can help to eliminate others.

Shelter and Nest Material

Woman Raking

Stinging insects like to keep their nests in hidden or sheltered locations. If your yard has ideal nesting spots, they could be attracting these insects. Keeping your shrubs and trees trimmed will reduce where nests can be built. Some stinging insects, like yellow jackets, construct nests underground. Fill in any ground holes to keep them from building a nest and establishing a colony. Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets make nests from wood material and saliva, and carpenter bees burrow into wood. Painting or sealing any untreated wood will make it less attractive to them.

Things that Attract Stinging Insects Infographic

No one wants to have to worry about stinging insects taking over their yard. Knowing what attracts them can help you prevent an infestation. If these insects are giving you a fit, we want to help! Our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Wasp & Hornet Killer spray is a more environmentally and family-friendly solution.

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