How do I get rid of wasps and asps from a shade tree in my yard?

by Laura

Probably at least 14 years ago, my husband planted an oak tree that my father gave us. He watered it in the summer and was very proud of it. I've been enthused as well, of how it shot up, and certainly welcome the shade in the Texas sun; but since then, it has become a scourge. Somehow, the tree has come to collect all of the following: paper wasps, red wasps, some type of very large yellow & black striped hornets, yellow jackets (in the ground), and I'm pretty sure I saw some of those church members who protest at people's funerals hanging out in there. One day, our house badly needed some airing out, but we don't have a screen door. When I walked to the living room, I saw what looked to be a living geometry problem, slithering down a single web. I'm pretty certain it threw an e=mc2 in there, which is the only way I can recognize Physics. I knew it was an asp, and I found one more alive, and one dead..that I came across. Everything that I've read about asps, says that where you see one, there are many others; and that if you try poisoning them, it causes an explosion in population. "Manual removal", they say, but I'm handicapped (also, a wimp), and asking my husband to go try and manually remove asps, is like asking him to peek his head into hell, and ask ol' scratch himself, to 'pretty please' turn down his Rob Zombie concert. Potentially disastrous. There *has* to be a way, other than burning the tree, or cutting it down..a sacrifice I'm willing to make.. But would come at a small cost of infuriating my family. Any assistance would be so welcome!

  9 answers
  • Ella Goebel Ella Goebel on Feb 19, 2019

    check around your community to see if there's a gardening store that uses 'natural' products. In the spring there are small tags with eggs that hatch into some kind of bug. You nail the tag to the tree and they keep the wasps away when they hatch. They may know about more things for some of the other pests. Hate for you to have to cut down a tree!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Feb 19, 2019

    Hello, Have you considered a Faux Wasp Nest you hang from a tree. If wasps see this they don't go anywhere near another nest. Available online and maybe elsewhere. Other way is wasp traps Bottle with honey and water or cider in bottom. (they tend to get in - get drunk and cant find there way out and die.

    • Laura Laura on Feb 19, 2019

      Thank you so much for the possible solution to our problem. I have tried the traps, and mostly, they ended up full of beetles, despite the thriving and integrative wasp community! Best wishes to you!

  • Suzette Suzette on Feb 19, 2019

    Hi Laura, First, I have to say I love your humor! I would sh#% my pants if I saw snakes in the house! Here's a link that may help with wasps:

    And, here's a link for snake traps!

    And here's a video you REALLY need to watch!!

    Good luck!

  • Laura Laura on Feb 19, 2019

    How intriguing! I haven't heard of these "magical tree tags" before. I am enthused, and hopeful.

    Also grateful, that you would take some time out of your day to teach me something useful!

    I hope you have a great day, and week to follow.

  • Well Laura, reading your post gave me the giggles! Sorry! Very eloquent in your dismay of these horrid little creatures. I had no idea what they were until my first trip to Texas and I thought they were pulling my leg when they told me they sting. (Also my first introduction to flying cockroaches, yee gads! I could sit on my hair at that time and proved to be problematic. Up it went under a hat!) There was no internet, no computers, cell phones or gadgets like we have today. So I went to the good old library and looked them up, the old fashioned way. I looked in a book - great story there too. Here are some sites to help you out.

    Too bad I am not in Texas, as I fear nothing and would gladly hunt them down and dispose for you. Absent that, my vote is to call in an arborist and or a pest control company. I would go for the arborist first. Will your family come out and help you? They gave you the tree!

  • Lynn Sorrell Lynn Sorrell on Feb 19, 2019

    Cheapest effective way is get screen door installed(fresh air no bugs) Please don't cut your tree. Mature trees are getting more & more sparse everywhere in our world & no tree/shade in Texas.All the critters you mentioned are needed to keep Mother Nature working the way she needs too including the pesky church members. Asps do not use webs they are a caterpillar/moth; the caterpillars(poisonous) are often in oak trees, rose bushes and ivy,nest underground and likely stayed underground longer due to the heavy rains/flooding, which means they had a longer breeding season. here's way to be rid of them get them online Use the help of natural predators. Parasitic wasps (Braconid wasps), predator tachnid flies, stink bugs and lacewings are just as effective against venomous caterpillars as they are against non-venomous ones. Release Beneficial Insects into your growing area early in the season to reduce caterpillar numbers. The following insects may be useful depending on your growing conditions - Trichogramma Moth Egg Parasites, Green Lacewing and Ladybugs. Spray Horticultural Oils to smother eggs when conditions permit and remove detritus/fallen leaf matter from when present. This is especially important between growing seasons.Traditionally, venomous creatures bite, sting or stab you to do their damage, while you have bite or touch poisonous critters to feel their effects. That means venomous organisms need a way in, like fangs or teeth. Heck that's half the fun of living in the Southwest all the critters here that are Venomous & Poisonous; just have to seal the house/get good screens so they aren't actually living in your house with you.

    • Laura Laura on Feb 19, 2019

      Thank you..many thank yous, for taking the time to teach me, and pass along helpful links. How very kind.

  • Jewellmartin Jewellmartin on Feb 19, 2019

    What a pleasure that your dad gave you an ash tree that asps seem to love. I’m surprised that the wasps and asps haven’t eradicated each other. I would go for chemical warfare against both of them. I would think any plant nursery or farm store would have the poison you need, and easy to use poison pumps that you or your husband can use. Any family member who objects should be given a canvas bag to take home a sampling of all your little friends. Hometalk usually doesn’t approve of sarcasm, but I hop this is seen as my honest reply to your question. Good luck.

    • Laura Laura on Feb 19, 2019

      JewellMartin - I rather had a big grin on my face at the visual of putting little bags together for everyone!!

      Thanks for that, and your kind help, Ms. Jewell.

  • DesertRose DesertRose on Feb 19, 2019

    A friend of mine got rid of wasps and other hornets by filling a paper bag with papers wadded and hanging it from her eaves front and back. You might try the same technique and hang it from the tree where the rain won't drench it. They think it is the territory of another wasp and leave the area. It worked great for my friend, hope this helps.

  • Laura Laura on Feb 19, 2019

    DesertRose - Thank you so much for the ingenious idea! I am grateful for your taking a moment to post!