Don’t miss out on barbecue fun despite wasps

Grilling is a lot of fun, but unfortunately, there are some pesky annoyances in nature that can quickly turn a barbecue gathering into a chaotic frenzy: wasps. These small insects are equipped with a sting that both adults and children fear. While it’s possible to repel wasps, it’s important to know what is effective. Since we can’t entirely avoid wasps while grilling, we’ve gathered information and incorporated our own experiences to help you out. There are methods and strategies to repel wasps while grilling without causing harm, which is actually prohibited. There are several measures that can be taken in advance to repel or avoid attracting wasps. Wasps not only love sweets but also enjoy feasting on meat and sausage. It’s always important to be cautious when children are participating in grilling. They may not always check if a wasp is swimming in their drink or sitting on their ice cream. It’s especially important to repel and keep wasps away from children. We hope to help you ensure that wasps don’t deter you from grilling in the garden, on the balcony, or on the terrace.

Effectively repelling wasps while grilling – What can be done in advance?

You can’t repel all wasps, but there are some measures that can be supportive. There are several things that can be done in advance to prevent a wasp invasion.

Preventing nest construction

Make sure wasps don’t choose a place to build a nest directly on your property near the house, as grilling will be problematic all summer long. It’s important to make everything that seems attractive to them unattractive. This includes checking all the roller shutter boxes around your house. Wasps can quickly find hiding places here and then settle in with their queen and colony for the whole summer – not enjoyable for you! Check around your house or balcony and terrace for any cavities that would encourage nest construction. If these are present, be sure to seal them securely and permanently.

Avoiding preferred scents and colors of wasps
Wasps are particularly attracted to the scent of perfume, hairsprays, and other cosmetic products. Repelling wasps is difficult when guests are enveloped in a pleasant scent of perfume and other products. So, it’s better to avoid using aftershave, perfume, and fragrant products while grilling. If you’ve just used wood care products outdoors, this scent is also very appealing to wasps. If the products contain wax, they are particularly attractive to wasps. Therefore, avoid applying these products a few days before grilling, as wasps are magically attracted to the scent and ingredients. Clove and tea tree oil, as well as citronella, are also said to have a repelling effect on wasps. Even coffee is used by many people to repel wasps while grilling. It’s ignited in a heat-resistant container, and its burnt scent is not liked by wasps. The scent of fresh garlic cloves and tomato and basil plants also helps to keep wasps at bay. You can place freshly cut orange or lemon slices on a plate as decoration on the table while grilling. Then, add cloves to them, and with luck, your wasps may not like this scent either.

But it’s not just scent that attracts wasps; colors are also said to attract them. So, it’s better to dress modestly and avoid bright and flashy colors when grilling.

Dispose of overripe fruit
If there are fruit trees on the property that are currently blooming or bearing fruit, it’s unavoidable to have wasps in the vicinity. However, what you can do is collect and dispose of fallen fruit. Overripe fruit lying half-rotten on the ground attracts them in large numbers, and you’ll have to repel wasps because of it.

Rules of conduct when dealing with wasps while grilling

Beverages and foods with a high sugar content should be avoided as much as possible. This includes sweet sodas, ice cream, fruit, and cake.
Be sure to fill drinks in sealed or transparent glasses.
Cover all food, and as soon as it’s no longer needed, remove it.
Keep the table clean. If drinks are spilled or food residue is on the table, they must be wiped off with a damp cloth. Also, hands must be washed regularly because remnants of drinks and food are enticing to wasps.
Under no circumstances should you hit wasps, as it makes them even more aggressive. Try not to appear panicked and hysterical in the presence of children, as this frightens them and they mimic improper behavior when dealing with wasps!

Repelling wasps with a diversionary tactic

Wasps are creatures of habit; they remember where there’s something tasty for them to eat. A good tactic is therefore also a diversionary tactic away from the grill and dining table. Many grillers swear by this tactic! In this case, food is placed on a plate to attract wasps at a further distance from the grill and dining table. Ripe fruit, such as ripe grapes, leftover sausage and meat, and other sweet foods, often help to ward off the wasp plague.

Buying wasp protection

If you don’t want to rely solely on natural protective measures, we have a few buying tips for you. The perfect protection usually involves a combination of several measures and products. You can easily find these products for purchase online

The gazebo as wasp protection while grilling
It’s ideal if wasps can’t even get close to the grill food and drinks while grilling. This can be prevented very well with a garden gazebo. This, combined with insect protection nets, really ensures that you’ll have peace from the stinging pests while grilling. Other advantages include protection from the sun and also from mosquitoes, which can become real pests on summer evenings.

Safely drinking while grilling
It’s really dangerous if a wasp is unnoticed in a drink and you swallow it while drinking. Especially with beverage cans, you have no insight into what’s inside the can, so there’s a very big source of danger here. Drink glasses equipped with a lid and straw are safe and practical. You can find them in plastic and glass varieties online.

Keeping wasps away from the grill food
If you don’t have the option to keep wasps away from the dining area, you should at least protect all food from them. Cover hoods are very practical and functional for this purpose.

These come in very different shapes and price ranges. They are usually hemispherical, functioning like an umbrella when folded, and made of mesh fabric. You can also use these cover hoods for picnics and even indoors.

Repelling wasps with scent while grilling
In the battle against wasps, as well as against mosquitoes and flies, scents have also proven effective. Citronella candles and spirals are popular, but they are not a guarantee against the flying pests. However, since one candle is not enough, several candles must be lit simultaneously depending on the seating area and the number of people. However, the scent can only work if all people are sitting in the middle of the scent cloud. This is really not pleasant for everyone. For some people, the scent can even make them feel nauseous. For this reason, these options are not unconditionally recommended as wasp protection.

Repelling wasps with wind power
A small stiff breeze works wonders against wasps and their annoying intrusiveness. You can achieve the necessary wind with fans. However, do not aim them at the glowing charcoal due to the risk of sparks. Unfortunately, not everyone likes the constant wind movement from the fan; some people react to the constant draft with a stuffy nose and neck pain.

Not recommended
Often, you’ll also find wasp traps and electric fly swatters recommended in stores. However, there are legal requirements that definitively prohibit recommendations through the latest laws. More on this from us later. Less recommendable are also insect sprays, as they are true chemical weapons that are neither beneficial for the environment nor for health.

First aid for wasp stings

If repelling wasps didn’t work and despite all measures, you’ve been stung by a wasp, it’s important to know how to help quickly and effectively. We’ve listed the most common methods for you:

Often, half an onion is placed on the sting. This helps against inflammation, cools, and relieves itching.
Ice cubes and cooling pads are also recommended. They cool, provide pain relief, and relieve itching.
You can get special suction stamps, gels, and ointments for wasp stings at the pharmacy. However, you should already have ointments and gels for wasp stings in your medicine cabinet as a precaution. Also, inquire about repellent insect protection.
Saliva mixed with sugar also has a positive effect on the sting.
Sting heaters from the pharmacy are also trending. Consult with a pharmacist for advice on this.

Help with allergic shock
The situation becomes problematic if there’s an allergy to wasp venom and the affected person hasn’t brought along an emergency kit. However, some people don’t even know until they’ve been stung that they react allergically. Symptoms include fainting, heart problems, dizziness, shortness of breath, and vomiting. These symptoms can have fatal consequences if left untreated, so call emergency services at 112 immediately. Stings in the throat and pharynx are also dangerous because swelling can lead to suffocation.

Up to €50,000 fine for killing wasps

Wasps find hardly any food in our cultivated landscape, and two species of wasp, the common wasp and the German wasp, then help themselves to human food, mainly because of the sugar. It’s no secret that there’s a dramatic decline in insects in Germany, which also applies to wasps. Many people who feel annoyed by wasps won’t consider the decline of wasps to be a problem. But they perform important tasks in our ecosystem and are indeed useful animals. Therefore, they are now also protected species, as extinction is feared in many parts of Germany. According to § 39 I No. 1 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG), it’s strictly prohibited to willfully disturb and injure or kill wild animals without a valid reason. This also includes wasps. Violations can result in fines of up to €10,000, sometimes even up to €50,000. For example, if you want to remove an entire wasp nest from your garden, you are only allowed to do so through trained and authorized persons and also need a permit for it. Therefore, decide wisely how you want to repel wasps.

Exception: Allergies
Generally, wasps are not aggressive or dangerous. A wasp sting is only dangerous if it occurs in the throat. But there’s an exception. Some people are allergic to wasp stings and are more vulnerable to wasps than other individuals. They are allowed to kill wasps early if there is an acute danger.


We won’t let wasps spoil our fun while grilling. Repelling wasps is not as difficult as you might think with our advice and information. However, our experience shows that one measure alone is not enough. Simply try out what is feasible and works well for you as wasp protection.