If you're like most bird lovers, you want to create the safest, sweetest place for local birds to nest and rest. (We get that!) Unfortunately, paper wasps and other insects love birdhouses just as much as your neighborhood birds do. In this article, we'll offer you 5 great tips to keep insects like wasps (and their eggs) out of your bird houses.
Before we get started, let's discuss exactly how wasps build nests in birdhouses. And why they keep building nests in your beloved birdhouses!
How do wasps build nests in birdhouses?
Wasps build quite complex, umbrella-shaped nests in all sorts of places—including your beloved birdhouses. The biggest threat to nesting birds is the paper wasp. The paper wasp creates nests that look like they're made up of paper mache. But the nests are really made from wasp saliva and other natural fibers from plants and woodwork.
The crux of the issue: timing. Wasps like to build nests in the spring—the same time that local birds start looking for a birdhouse to call home.
Sometimes, wasps will build a nest in a birdhouse that already has bird eggs in it. This is really bad news. Sometimes, a mother bird will even abandon her eggs before they have a chance to hatch! That's why avoiding wasps nests in the first place is so critical.
Now, here's how to keep wasps out of your birdhouse and away from your birds' eggs.
1. Try soap
Nobody's totally sure why, but wasps do not like soap. If a birdhouse is empty, you can stick a bar of soap in a birdhouse, and keep most wasps at bay.
If birds have already nested in the house, things get a little trickier. You can melt the soap a little in your kitchen, then paint soap onto the birdhouse walls. This soapy coat makes it impossible for wasps' nesting materials to stick the walls.
A couple warnings: First of all, don't use soap that could threaten birds. And second of all, don't soap the entrance hole or anything below it. Birds rely on that hole to get in and out.
2. Pass on other materials
While you might read about using other materials to keep wasps away from your beloved bluebird nest, please don't. Most professionals agree that aside from soap, other surface-coating options aren't effective. And they aren't always safe, either.
Wax, for example, welcomes a bee swarm. (We love bees, but not when they're bothering our birds!)
Vaseline or petroleum jelly will melt in the sun, and could harm birds' feathers.
Oh, and rabbit fur... expensive, strange, and hard to source. (Plus, how would you attach that, anyway?)
3. Get professional help
If there's already a wasp nest in your birdhouse, your options might be limited. You may need to call a pest control service to move an already-established nest.
Sometimes, the best bet is to wait it out. If you have a wasp infestation, call a professional, and take note for next year. You can even ask the pest control professional for tips and tricks that work best in your climate.
4. Observe the offseason
If you keep your birdhouses up year-round, you're welcoming insects and other predators to make themselves a home. Listen, we love a cute birdhouse as much as anyone. (We literally sell them). Still, it's best to put out a (clean, safe) birdhouse just as bird nesting season begins in early spring.
5. Pick a better birdhouse
Looking for a gorgeous birdhouse to safely welcome birds to your backyard space? At Happy Gardens, we have an Oprah-approved selection of handcrafted, unique birdhouses for you to choose from.
Best of all, every bird house is easy to clean, care for, and store. This makes ensuring you can offer nesting birds a secure, safe place away from paper wasps that much easier.
Nearly all birds—young or old, and regardless of species—need a roof over their heads. Why not provide them with a safe, adorable place to nest, rest and enjoy their spring—away from dangerous paper wasps.
About Happy Gardens
Happy Gardens offers a unique online collection of garden decor and merchandise. From birdhouse to wind chimes to rain chains, our website has got it all. Looking for a bird feeder or bird bath? We also have those in stock! Better yet, everything we sell has been carefully handcrafted and is backed by our Happy Gardens guarantee.
Our unique collections include a remarkable variety of top-rated, beloved products, including unique garden ornaments and statues, eye-catching spinners, artistic rain gauges, and more to decorate your outdoor rooms. You can also check out our new line of merchandise, offering fun and exciting gifts readily available throughout the year. Find the best coffee mugs, wine glasses, and tote bags for the garden enthusiasts in your life.
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