About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How Do I Keep Wasps from Building Nests in my Birdhouses?

Bees and wasps usually use unoccupied houses, but it’s best not to spray the house with any poisons. If you have one of our Wild Birds Unlimited easy clean out houses, I would leave the door open so there is a lot of light in the box. If there is no easy clean out you can plug the hole for a couple days until they get the idea.

If they have already established a nest it is best to let them be and not take any active measures to exterminate them. Instead, wait to clean them out in the fall when the weather is cooler and their activity has halted.
To stop this from happening again, rub a thin layer of bar soap on the inside surface of the roof. The slippery surface prevents the insects from attaching the nest to the wood. Don’t use any oils like Crisco which could melt and get on bird feathers. A little Ivory Bar Soap rubbed on the inside of the birdhouse roof doesn’t hurt the birds and deters any insects from attaching a nest inside. Good luck!


Vetsy said...

Thank you for posting this tip... I had no idea that something as simple as a bar of soap could help me with these pest.

I usually just leave it until they leave.. but now I can take back my birdhouse with Ivory Soap! Yay! and thanks for the link on the basic birdhouse tips.

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

I'm glad I could help. I don't remember where I heard about the soap idea but I've been passing out this information for years and have had lots of positive feedback.

Anonymous said...

I have also read that attaching some tin foil to the inside of the roof deters them also. Make sure you staple it to the inside of the roof so it doesn't fall down and disturb the bird nest.

Anonymous said...

is it the soap smell or the slick surface that inhibits the building? can i use an ivory soap solution in a sprayer to use under exposed decks, etc.? Thanks in advance

Anonymous said...

I had a birdhouse that used to get birds every spring, but it broke. I replaced it with a new one, but so far all I got was a wasps nest which I cleaned out and used the Ivory soap method. Is it possible that birds will nest in that house next spring? Or will the wasps just return?