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Will Water Ward Off Wasps?

Will Water Ward Off Wasps?

Q. I was at a child’s birthday party and wasps and bees were flying all over while the food was out. Someone said to get self-sealing plastic bags (sandwich size is fine), fill them with water and put them on the table. The wasps disappeared. If I hadn’t seen this with my own eyes I never would have believed it.

I went to another party and the host had put plastic bags of water all along her deck and anywhere people were sitting. There were no bees or wasps and she lives out in the country.

Apparently the light reflecting on the bags of water hurts their eyes. This is a cheap way to keep the stinging bugs away without the use of chemicals.

A. Thanks so much for this fascinating tip. We could find no scientific studies to support this approach, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work.

Some folks say that the same trick (with partially filled gallon-sized zippered plastic bags) may work to keep flies away, while others maintain it is an urban legend. Since it is really cheap and risk free, we see no problem in giving this approach a try.

Photograph note: The setup in the photograph did not keep wasps and yellowjackets away from the hummingbird feeder.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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