No one wants to get stung and wasps are bloody annoying! Come spring they are out in droves building their paper nests. Then all summer long they just become the worst pests around. I really do not like to use insecticides, but I will if I see a wasp nest.
A few years back my neighbor had this odd looking thing hanging above her door. I thought it was some kind of ugly patio lantern! I inquired what it was and she told me all about these fake wasp nests you can buy at the hardware store. They are supposed to deter wasps from making their nests around your home as wasps are quite territorial.
Ha, I was all over that one. I could not get to the hardware store fast enough! Every spring since then, I grab a bunch of these, I hang them all around the house under the eaves. I find they help immensely.
But here is my problem with these. They are so flimsy they fall apart in the first few weeks of hanging them or the first bad windstorm.
Here is how they look just after a couple weeks or just a couple days of really windy weather.
I have absolutely no idea where the rest of that one is in the second photo. Probably hanging in one of my neighbors trees.
So what is my usual solution?
I intended to make one. This may come as no surprise to anyone who knows me. I find inspiration to make stuff from the weirdest things. This one came as I was turning the outdoor water hose on. It is around the side of my house that I stash anything I do not want to see. There it was laying in the corner by the fence. A sad looking piece of chicken wire. Too small to really do anything with but too big to throw out.
I scooped that wire up and immediately started squishing it into the shape I needed. Well after poking myself and bleeding I thought it might be smarter to get things ready and grab my work gloves. Here are a couple things you will need to get you started.
Get your chicken wire, work gloves and some tin snips. If you do not have tin snips just use some wire cutters. I find tin snips make the job easier and quicker. My chicken wire was approximately 3’X3′. Then just squish it into shape. Turn all the sharp protruding wires in so it secures itself as you go. Once you have it into a shape you like, attach some kind of wire to the top so there will be something to hang it with. You want to do it now before you start on the next stage.
It kinda looks good at this stage, but in order for this to work you need to do some additional steps. Have you ever done paper mache? Well this is what you will be doing. But we are not using paper. We are using cotton fabric! We will call it “cloth mache”. I want this to be strong and withstand hurricane like wind.
I went into my stash of scrap material and found some cotton. One piece was from an old pillow case and the other a white sheet. Both of these I cut into strips of 3″X6″.
For the first layer I do not care what color I use. But for the second layer I wanted white as it will make it easier to paint when the glue has dried.
Once all the cotton had been cut I made up a large bowl of the glue I will be using. For this I used a full bottle of all purpose white glue bought at the hardware store. You want to get it from the hardware store as it will be cheaper and you can get the larger size bottles as opposed to the small craft glue sizes. Thin it out a bit with some water so it will be easier to work with. I didn’t measure but I would guess one part water to 3 parts glue.
The next step is to grab some of your cotton strips and get them into the bowl making sure they are soaked in the glue mixture. Then one piece at a time squeeze off the excess glue between your fingers or on the side of the bowl and start applying the strips to cover the chicken wire. Do not worry about being to fussy at this stage. You just want to get the chicken wire covered. I used a crisscross type pattern so every strip will be covering another strip. You might also have to do this in sections, letting one area dry for awhile. I tried doing it all at the same time and when I hung it up to dry, the bottom half all fell off and I had to start again. Also I set the whole thing in a small pot while working on it so it would be stable and not roll around. When that is done it should look something like this.
See that spiral section at the tip near the bottom. I am trying an experiment and you do not need to do that, just get the wire covered. You will see what I am doing in the next photo. I kinda got all artsy with this. I googled images of real wasp nests and seen something I liked. But for any normal person you do not need to do this.
This is the image I found that intrigued me. I wanted to create something like this, but without the wasps!
Wasps must have some great engineers designing those nests. It really is beautiful from an artistic point of view.
This is how my fake wasp nest is coming along. For each of the white strips of cotton I folded the one edge over about a 1/4″ before laying it down. Each strip was soaked in glue before folding. Then I just kept going around and around till it was covered. This layer stays on better as it is adhering to the first layer of cloth, not the chicken wire.
Once this is completely dry I get to paint it. I plan to spray it with a can of grey primer paint.
While making the new fake wasp nest we had a fantastic thunderstorm roll in one evening. The next morning my son came in laughing and said we lost the other fake wasp nest and that I better go see where it ended up. Sure enough, after following the wire trail, there it was, over the fence in my neighbors cedar hedge on the other side of the fence.
Now you see why I hate spending money on these things. All it takes is a good storm and they end up like my monthly bills in the shredder.
Back to my project. Once everything was dried I picked up a can of the grey primer paint. I did not go with the regular grey spray paint as it was too dark. The primer grey has just the right shade I was going for, plus it was very matte. I gave it 3 coats of the paint. Then I used some craft paint to give it a more realistic look. The object here is too fool those damn wasps. Seriously though I have no idea why I am going to all this trouble. I read where some lady just puts up a brown paper bag with wire wrapped around the top. If you believe the internet she swears buy it. But I think a paper bag would just look ugly!
Here is the nest all painted up using the grey primer spray paint, plus I added some highlights using acrylic craft paint.
After the paint dried I felt it just wasn’t sturdy enough so I then covered it with 2 more coats of the white glue and water to stiffen it up. This took away the matte finish I wanted but sacrifices must be made to get the durability I wanted from this. I did give it several coats of clear indoor outdoor matte finish.
Here is the finished Fake Wasp Nest. I will keep it inside till next spring and will do an update on how this worked for me.
Hopefully it will fool all the wasps into thinking this territory has been taken and they will move on to some other house to build their nest, just not mine.