Friday, July 12, 2013

Good Idea Friday - Lemon and Clove to Scare off Wasps

"A way to get rid of wasps! Lemon with 10 cloves or put out a saucer with cloves in it. Wasps hate the scent!"

Lemon and Cloves : Warsztat Mamy

This is a pin that I thought would be easy enough to research and instead has taken me weeks of research and emails to people to collect data on, only to I realized I was focused on the wrong part of the pin. 

You see, I was honestly really skeptical about this. How often do we see natural remedies or pest control ideas on Pinterest (like garlic for mosquitoes) that just aren't effective. Having grown up in a very rural part of the country myself, I have seen the way wasps especially flock towards any fruit (you learn real quick as a kid not to run barefoot near the apple trees) Wasps like the scent of fruits and meat, so I wasn't too sure if a fruit like lemon would really drive them away. I spent some time on google trying to find if wasps really didn't care for the scent of lemon and was unable to find anything regarding it. I decided to go straight to the source. If there is one person who would know if wasps like lemons, it would be the owner of a lemon orchard. 

I sent out a couple of emails and Karen from Lemon Ladies Orchard in California was kind enough to reply. She keeps bee hives next to her orchard (great for pollination) but hasn't noticed any wasps. Is that due to the lemons, or the bees? She sent my question on to other lemon growing friends of her. Susan Burchiel of Birch-Hill Organics replied and said she hasn't seen wasps in the orchards, but does have yellow jackets. Interesting, I started wondering if the honey bees and yellow jackets were chasing off the wasps or if really was the scent of lemons. Yellow Jackets are actually a class of wasps themselves, so I was starting to think maybe this wasn't a true remedy to deter wasps. 

And then I decided to start looking at the clove aspect of the pin and that's where I became surprised. You see, a lot of bugs really do hate the scent of the cloves. In fact, it's one of the most popular form of natural pesticide and is used in even commercial products. (source) It's called eugenol oil, and is found in cloves, cinnamon, basil, and bay leaves. Now eugenol oil despite being natural does come with it's own host of dangers, mainly that in large amounts it can kill you if ingested. (source) But it works, and since this idea uses cloves in their natural form it's probably a far safer method than using just pure eugenol oil or other pesticides. 

So if you're looking for a natural way of combating pesky wasps and other bugs at the picnic table, this is a pin I would suggest trying. 


  1. Anonymous26/7/13

    I wonder if the purpose of the lemon is as a cheap and easy source of acid to extract the oil from the cloves? Just speculation.

  2. Anonymous19/8/13

    I saw this natural pest control on facebook and decided to try it while camping this weekend! And yes it deters wasps and other bugs. Even the racoons didn't bother with them!!

  3. Anonymous26/3/14

    This is probably going to save my life this summer.
    I wonder if the wasps would stay away from me if I wore a satchel of cloves as a necklace.

  4. I just came across your blog after checking pinterest and looking for some craft ideas. I stumbled across a pin that talked about warding off wasps with lemon and clove. As my son is getting married this year at Lake Tahoe I was happy to read this because there are aggressive meat bees there. But after searching the pinned site for the information and having trouble finding it there I googled lemons and cloves and found your site! I love it... I have been looking thru past posts and have enjoyed it very much. Thank you for your comments and posts on these various things!

  5. Anonymous12/6/14

    I saw a post on fb this morning that said to use lime and cloves to ward off mosquitoes. What do you think?

    1. absolutely... lemon and lime alone they dislike even just sprayed yard with lime juice water mix and havent gotten bitten tonight yet

  6. Anonymous16/6/14

    to the poster of "This is probably going to save my life this summer.
    I wonder if the wasps would stay away from me if I wore a satchel of cloves as a necklace"...I had the same thought, I actually tie a bounce dryer sheet into my hair if I have to be outside, it seems to work well for me...I am petrified of bees/wasps/etc.

  7. Anonymous18/7/14

    I wonder if the lemon is to deter the wasps as a colour combo close to bees/other wasps? they might see the colours and not walk to go near?

  8. Anonymous19/8/14

    They use this in Greece. To keep wasps away

  9. Anonymous2/5/15

    This is a scam, tested, doesn't work at all.

  10. Anonymous2/5/15

    Me tested too, instead of going away the mosquitoes started party in the room.

  11. Anonymous25/5/15

    I have trouble every spring with carpenter bees on my front porch. I've never used lemon, but I sprinkle powdered cloves on my porch and the bees will not come near.

  12. Thank you for you and your research! I have been fighting off wasps from my balcony all day. When it's nice outdoors, I love to sit on my balcony and get my work done (I own a Virtual Assistant service) and a gang of wasps are constantly trying to run me away. I have tried fighting them off with vinegar, flying insect spray and other things because I didn't have the time to get to the store to buy more wasp spray. I almost gave up until I ran across your article. I ran into the house, cut a lemon and shoved some cloves in it. For the past 30 minutes since I put it out, I have not seen those pesky wasps. Thank you, thank you, thank you! God Bless you!