Airborne Attack II: The Mintening
A dozen wasps were rebuilding this morning, in the balcony light socket. I had read that mint oil repelled wasps, so I put several drops of peppermint oil on the window washer pad, and daubed it on the area of ceiling around the light. The wasps vacated.
More were hovering under the eaves, where I had seen some before. I discovered a fourth nest there, and scraped it down. I daubed more peppermint oil under the eaves and on the other former nest sites. They would not fly directly there and land any more. Instead, they would swoop in and back off, or walk around the areas in pairs.
I dripped peppermint oil on the bases of two compact fluorescent flood lights, and installed them. The wasps avoided these as well.
Gradually, the wasps returned. Each former nest site bore a black mark that would not easily scrape off, and the wasps made a beeline for them. I shooed them away with the makeshift mint dauber. I then used a paint scraper to remove the black resinous marks, right down to the composition siding. These spots I rubbed with mint oil directly. Several minutes later, the wasps were avoiding these spots, and flying around or perching near them. I needed a more effective way to apply the mint than a 1-ounce dropper.
I Googled (is Google-Scholared a verb yet?) and found that some research had been done on essential oils and wasps, horets, and yellowjackets. Margaret R. Grahn Marisi patented a formula of water, vinegar, essential oil in 1996: Full Text. Other groups invented methods of application, and extensively tested different oils, for Woodstream Corporation in 2003 and Bugaway Brands in 2007. Woodstream sells several products, including Poison Free Wasp and Hornet Killer 1, 2. I did not find a product or company website matching "Bugaway Brands."