There are more than 75,000 kinds of wasps in the world. Nearly all of them are not only harmless, but also highly beneficial because they prey on other insects, including disease-carrying mosquitoes and almost every crop-destroying garden pest you can name. But, zowie! Their stings really pack a punch. So place containers filled with any of this trio of repelling plants wherever you want to keep wasps away:
Citronella. This is most potent when you crush the leaves and rub them onto your skin (or use citronella oil, available in health-food stores). But dense groupings of the real deal also discourage wasp visits.
Mint. Both the oil and live plants repel wasps. If you plant it in your garden (rather than in a container), you’ll need to clip it back frequently — otherwise, it’ll take over your whole yard before you know it!
Wormwood. This silvery-gray perennial is highly drought resistant. On the downside, the same aromatic chemicals that repel wasps (and scads of other insects) make wormwood poisonous to people and animals — so don’t plant it if you have small children or pets on the scene.
If you find yourself at the wrong end of a wasp’s stinger, here are two easy ways to control inflammation and ease the pain:
1. Dissolve two effervescent antacid tablets in a glass of water. Then moisten a soft cloth with the solution, and hold it on the bite for 20 minutes.
2. Wet the site, and rub an uncoated aspirin tablet over it.
Whichever remedy you choose, if the culprit was a bee instead of a wasp, remove the stinger before you proceed.