Many websites state that basic foods or household materials can repel wasps. For example:

Do these substances work as wasp repellents?

  • 1
    What exactly constitutes "unnatural"? Dark Matter? Unobtanium?
    – JasonR
    Feb 25, 2016 at 21:14
  • 1
    I've changed the title to be more clear. I was trying to reflect the ambiguity of the term with the scare-quotes, but that was probably a bad idea. Feb 25, 2016 at 21:21
  • 2
    I was just having fun at your expense. "natural" is just a term that bugs me as much as "chemical-free". :)
    – JasonR
    Feb 25, 2016 at 21:29
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    Let's limit this question to a reasonable claim.
    – Sklivvz
    Feb 25, 2016 at 21:51

1 Answer 1


Research by Zhang QH et.al. in 2013 shows that for a category of wasps called yellow jackets, essential oils such as clove and peppermint showed significant repellency.

Of the 21 essential oils tested, 17 showed significant repellency on yellowjackets [mainly Vespula pensylvanica (Saussure)] and paper wasps [mainly Polistes dominulus (Christ)]: clove, pennyroyal, lemongrass, ylang ylang, spearmint, wintergreen, sage, rosemary, lavender, geranium, patchouli, citronella, Roman chamomile, thyme, fennel seed, anise and peppermint.

For another category of wasps named vespid, two essential oil mixtures such as 3EO-mix (clove, geranium and lemongrass) and 4EO-mix (clove, geranium, lemongrass and rosemary) had significant repellency.

Two essential oil mixtures - 3EO-mix (clove, geranium and lemongrass) and 4EO-mix (clove, geranium, lemongrass and rosemary) - totally blocked the attraction of vespid workers. Twenty-nine vespid antennally active compounds were identified from solid-phase microextraction (SPME) samples of 11 strongly repellent essential oils by GC-EAD/MS techniques. Among the synthetic EAD-active compounds field tested, eugenol, P/I-menthone, pulegone, α/β-thujone, l-carvone, E/Z-citral, citronellal, methyl benzoate, benzyl acetate, methyl salicylate and 3-octanol showed a significant repellency on vespid workers.

Description of the wasp categories mentioned above can be found here.

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