This simple penny trick will keep wasps away from your BBQ

Social media is buzzing with this cheap and novel way to stop wasps and other flying insects in their tracks

person cooking meant and vegetables on a large egg-style BBQ
(Image credit: 10'000Hours/Getty Images)

Put down that swatter. If you’re fed up of wasps invading your barbecue, it might be worth investing in the latest trick, which experts and alfresco eating fans claim will send them on their way. And the good news is that it won’t cost you anything - if you have some spare change lying around the house.

The latest hack to be taking social media by storm involves nothing more than dropping some pennies in a glass of water and placing them near your best BBQ, which it's claimed can keep these pesky pests away from you and your food. 

So how does this simple penny trick work, and is it any good as a method for how to get rid of wasps?

mini burgers at BBQ

(Image credit: Charlie Richards/Future)

Penny trick to deter wasps from your BBQ

'There's nothing worse than when you're having a nice BBQ party with friends and family and there are bugs flying about,' says Chris Bonnett, founder of Gardening Express (opens in new tab).

'They can be a real pain but there are a few inexpensive ways to keep them away. One popular and cost-effective way of keeping bugs at bay is to use glasses of water with pennies in – this confuses the insects by using light reflection.

'All you need to do is fill up a few glasses of water and drop three pennies into each one. Place near your barbecue, and the flies should steer clear of you and your food.'

jar containing a collection of coins on a kitchen worktop

Simply raid your collection of loose change to try this easy hack

(Image credit: Ekapat Suwanmanee/EyeEm/Gatty Images)

The fans of cleaning whizz Mrs Hinch (opens in new tab) are all over this penny trick as a method for deterring wasps and other insects, and many claim it works too. Her social media is a-buzz with fans sharing their own take on the trend.

One woman recommends using a sandwich bag instead, half-filling it with water and dropping a few coins inside. She said: 'A clear plastic bag half filled with water with a few coins in it. Hang on windows/doors and you won’t see a fly in your house. They think it’s a hive and won’t go near it.'

wasp on a plate of food outdoors

(Image credit: Linda Cooke/Alamy Stock Photo)

Wasp psychology 

Gardening guru David Domoney (opens in new tab) has also been sharing his own tips to get rid of garden pests and when it comes to wasps, he agrees that the most important thing is to understand their motivations and act accordingly. 

'Their lifecycle determines the type of behaviour they exhibit at different times of the year. At the beginning of summer, wasps are busy collecting materials to build their nests and this makes them hungry for protein.

'If you have a BBQ, a picnic or an alfresco sandwich, quickly clear away anything with meat on it, such as a used grill or leftover food. Towards the end of summer, wasps tend to switch their attention to anything sweet. Worker wasps binge on sweet food before they die.'

We're off to collect our loose change and try this wasp prevention trick in our BBQ area immediately. 

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning freelance gardening, homes and property writer who writes about everything from swimming ponds to skyscraper apartments, for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. Awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021, she has a degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford and a lifelong love of homes, interiors and gardens. Her first memories include planting potatoes with her grandfather and drawing houses. Her own garden - her fourth - at home in a 1920s house in Yorkshire, is south-facing and on the side of a valley. It’s a constant challenge