Wasps love settling in and around our houses. Insects which are both useful (because they also feed on pest insects) and are seriously harmful for our health. Unlike bees, wasps and yellow jackets are perfect assassins. They don’t leave their stinger in the victim’s body, that means they can go on and on stinging until there is no more venom left. The latter is a true chemical weapon which has a dozen ingredients mixed in. How to get rid of wasps? And how do you fight their siblings, the hornets? How to get rid of wasp nest?
We know the answers to these questions. We’ve found out the best methods and products on the market. You can choose traps, poison or non-toxic freeze spray, repellents and deterrents like false hives to get rid of wasps for sure. But before you start hunting wasps, let’s take a closer look at these beautiful, yet dangerous insects.
- Best Wasp Traps. How To Catch and Kill Yellow Jackets
- 3 Best Wasp Spray Killers and a Dust
- Being Humane: How to Repel Wasps?
- Best Natural Wasp Repellent is a Fake Hive
Most often you encounter such social wasps as Vespula vulgaris species and Vespa Crabro specias from Vespidae family. Simply put, they are wasps called common yellow jackets, and hornets. The first are a bit smaller (about ½ inch long), their color is paler and their stinging is less painful. The hornets are longer, bigger, and more dangerous than the wasps. They are actually larger than wasps with yellow and brown spots on their body. They love settling in enclosed spaces, such as the hollows of old trees, attics and dark barns. The biggest hornets’ stings are extremely painful.
Their behavior and life is very similar to that of other yellow jackets. Here are some facts about wasps which you need to know:
1. Most often the wasps settle in colonies. There could be thousands of these insects in the same nest. They all are subordinate to the queen, who is the head of the nest. The queen is the only member of the colony that survives the winter – that is proven by many scientists including Jeff Hahn, Laura Jesse and Patrick Liesch from the University of Minnesota. So killing all the workers, but leaving the queen alive means working in vain. Another disadvantage of such sociality is the ability of wasps and hornets to attack as a team. The smell of their congeners’ venom excites them and makes them join the attack on the victim.
2. It’s best to fight the wasps and the hornets in spring or in autumn. In autumn, yellow jackets lose their enthusiasm and aggression, become drowsy, and slowly retire. It’s extremely easy to access and destroy the hive at that time. By springtime, the queen will have spawned lots of defenders for herself and will be too busy building a nest. You’ll suffer throughout the whole summer if you don’t take your chance at that moment.
3. Wasps go nuts in summer. They reproduce actively and protect their offspring. The hot weather impacts them greatly and these insects sting anything that moves and – most importantly – smells nice.
4. Vivid, artificial, sweet smells and alcohol are to wasps like a red rag is to a bull. They feel these odors miles away and are eager to taste those who carry them. Fragrances and colognes especially excite the yellow jackets. The worker wasps are also attracted by puddled water – get rid of leakages in the backyard.
5. Mind that the wasps can sting not only with the sting itself. These guys are so insolent that they also use their mandibles, as well. They rip the victim’s skin as they would with teeth, and it hurts very, very much.
Of course, saying that wasps are of no use to humans at all is unfair. Gardeners value them highly, as the yellow jackets act as parasitoids. They feed on smaller insects and feed them to their young, as well, thus saving the crops. However, in case you are a mere tourist or outside relaxation fan and not a professional gardener, then the wasps will bring you only pain and suffering. What harm do they do to people?
1. Wasps consume berries and fruit. Unfortunately, they eat not only the parasites, but they love everything sweet and sour and may finish a whole lemon or an orange within an hour. And it takes only a few seconds for them to munch on some grapes, raspberries or strawberries. Also they like meat – be ready to protect your food at barbecue party.
2. Wasps carry dangerous viruses. Quite often they find themselves in garbage bins and junk yards, they may even land on the decomposing animal corpses when looking for food. And then they’ll fly over to your dining table.
3. They ruin your house. A wasp nest is not necessarily a cellulosic sphere. Yellow jackets may settle in layered cardboard, cracked wood, in the rubble of rags, etc. These insects often fill the space between the ceiling and the roof; they gnaw the passages through the insulation or the sealing. As a result, your house comes into decay and ruin.
The main threat of wasps is a possible attack on humans. Hundreds of people worldwide die of yellow jacket stings annually. And millions become their victims and aren’t too happy either. As for USA, scientists from the University of Idaho Extension claim that “Systemic “(whole-body) allergic reactions to sting venoms occur in 1 to 3 percent of the population and cause about 50 deaths annually in the United States”. Despite of these, it is really a slim chance to die from a wasp bite you should know some important things about wasp sting symptoms and allergies:
1. Wasp sting symptoms. The wasps’ stings are venomous. Once in the human body, the venom of the insect makes the cells exude histamine in the blood which is a substance that causes rashes, local swelling and itching around the sting site. Multiple stings can lead to an especially harmful skin inflammation. In addition, it’s the chemicals which make up the venom that make the sting hurt more than that of a bee, as the venomous substance which is found in the sting contains not only peptides, serotonin, histamine, and amino acids, but also acetylcholine, which causes much pain.
3. Wasp stings may lead to the serious allergic reactions, including the angioneurotic edema,which can be identified by suffocation, blood pressure surges and other symptoms. Besides, the angioneurotic edema, hypersensitive allergic people should also beware of other reactions such as myocardial ischemia, vascular collapse, hemiparesis, Henoch-Schonlein syndrome, central nervous system failure, bronchospasm, paralysis of a certain body part. The list of allergies diagnosed by the doctors after a couple of wasp stings can go on and on! Typically, the victims have dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, and blood pressures surges.
Finally the scientists from the University of Idaho Extension recommend to seek a doctor immediately in such cases when a victim:
- Is stung around the head and neck or inside the mouth.
- Is stung several times or already has been stung during the previous week.
- Is very young or very old.
- Cannot breathe easily, has difficulty swallowing, or feels dizzy.
- Has a very large swollen welt.
- Has a known hypersensitivity to stings.
Now you know why wasps are dangerous. Luckily, humans learned how to fight yellow jackets a long time ago. Don’t you wonder what advice would the fans of traditional methods would give you?
Humanity has been fighting with wasps for such a long time, that it has actually made certain progress. Many traditional methods, though, are temporary, as they eliminate the effect of the problem and not its cause.
We’ll elaborate on some of the traditional ways of fighting off the wasps, but we do advise you to rely on modern technology instead. Some of these natural methods are dangerous. For those who are willing to try we here at SPI ask you to remember to take every caution to stay safe. Doctors might tell you how often they have patients with wasp-related issues. So, please, be careful.
1. Making sweet and smelly traps. This is the most popular method for those who want to substantially decrease the amount of yellow jackets around them. Place a plate, bowl or narrow bottle near the wasps’ nest and fill it with a sweet and savory viscous mixture (this smell is particularly attractive for the insects). Optionally, you can add some beer and a few drops of detergent (fermented smell is also attractive for the wasps, and the detergent will make the mixture more pasty). As a result, your enemies will easily land on the mixture, but won’t be able to take off from there.
2. Use mint as a repellent – It’s believed that mint oil repels yellow jackets and people still use this plant or mint-based products to keep wasps away. But there is no research data available to support these idea. So you may try to use this plant but don’t be disappointed if there are no results.
3. Drowning the wasps. This is the most popular way in Internet to fighting the land wasps. I would call it a “boiled water method”. First, you have to observe the wasps’ behavior for a few days: You need to find the most used entrances and exits from the underground hive. Then, at night (AND AT NIGHT ONLY, WHEN THE WASPS ARE ASLEEP) you pour boiled water down there. The control shot will be pouring kerosene afterwards into the nest and setting it ablaze. It is recommended to fill the flooded and burnt nest with some soil and ram it in. This is an effective yet dangerous measure – you’d better wear layered clothing and be ready to repel a sudden wasp attack, as even the sleeping wasps can retaliate on those who disturb them.
4. Ruining the nest. Wasps are afraid of water. The nest will be ruined and the yellow jackets will be dead after only a couple of minutes in a bucket full of any liquid. But how do you put them in that bucket? Some experienced gardeners recommend to take the nest off at night, preferably in the spring when it is half-empty and the insects are not very aggressive.
Wait it out? According to the IPM Program of the University of California, you won’t even have to destroy the nest early in the spring as the queen will take the hint and leave for a better place to live. In addtition Howard Russel from Michigan University claims that there’s no need to eliminate a wasp nest if it is located in the out-of-the-way site. This location means that wasps who live there “are going to die out later in the year”.
Removal. The “clean-up team” should wear protective multi-layered suits and mosquito net masks. You put a few plastic bags around the bottom of the round hive, then you saw off the leg that attaches the nest to its support. Then you can do anything you want with the wasps. The most important thing is to mind the possibility of an attack from their relatives, which haven’t yet returned to the hive and are on their way back home.
5. Turning on the vacuum cleaner. There are a few funny videos online where insect fighters literally suck the yellow jackets from their nest with the help of a vacuum cleaner. All you have to do is find an exit from the hive and then you place the vacuum cleaner hose there. This method, though, has two serious drawbacks. First, other wasps will ruthlessly sting those who are with the vacuum cleaner. Second, this measure is also temporary and soon new insects will flood the nest.
Traditional methods are cool, of course, but you can only be sure of the result of your work when you use the products which were designed by professionals. Wasp and hornet traps will be the first ones on the list of means of getting rid of the yellow jackets.
Rescue TSW-BB6 Visilure TrapStik for Wasps
This is a nicely-designed trap. It is a bright vertical stick which looks like a sky lantern or a garden lamp. It can actually even be used as a decoration of your residence. But what is more important is that the TSW-BB6 is a great success with the customers.
The stick is aimed to eliminate the wasps without any pesticides or sharp smells which would ruin your time in the yard. TSW-BB6 TrapStickis able to trap not only the workers, but also the queens from spring to late autumn. It’s important that it traps the yellow jackets even when it’s hot, when the glue on other traps would dry off. Such a device works in a very simple manner a neon green trap is shaped like an insect nest. Attracted by the bright color and expecting to get home, the insects fly in and find an adhesive band inside and consequently, a slow and painful death. The best place to put this trap is on a wall or an outer ledge of the house.
It’s essential that this product is made in the USA and has been tested by multiple customers before you. By the way, this is effective for trapping not only wasps, but also bees and dung flies.
Price: Check current price
Aspectek Wasp Trap – Traps Wasps
This is another popular wasp trap, and it is also American. It is a bright yellow plastic trap which looks like a children’s pacifier, but this trap knows how to get rid of wasps. The customer is supposed to fill this trap with a liquid mixture of sugar and water, the recipe of which is supplied with the product. From there on, everything is pretty straightforward. The wasps fly into one of many entrances and can’t get out.
It’s better to hang Aspectek Wasp Trap on a long thread somewhere in the garden. The consumers recommend placing the device at least 20 meters away from the house; otherwise, you might be stung.
The advantage of this product is that it’s reusable, and that you’ll always have the recipe of the sweet mixture at your hand. Cleaning out this trap from the poor insects isn’t pleasant work to do, though. It’s neck is way too tight, so it’s actually easier to throw it out, instead.
Price: (for 2 traps) Check current price
Rescue YJTD-DB12-W Disposable Yellow Jacket Trap
This is a good option for picnicking outside. With the help of this trap, you won’t be able to trap a whole colony, but you certainly will be able to get rid of the wasp which follow you when you’re outside barbecuing.
Rescue Yellow Jacket Trap is the only trap on your list that is supplied with a lure a soluble aroma mixture. You only have to add some water or apple juice to it and hang it 20 meters away from where you’ve settled. The wasps will fly into the layered plastic bag with a weird neck and won’t be able to get out. All you’ll have to do is seal the bag and throw it away in the nearest trash. This is perfect for those who are disgusted by the idea of cleaning out reusable traps. Not all the users enjoy dealing with a soluble lure; that’s why this product is not as popular is its analogs. By the way, this is one of the cheapest wasp traps on the market.
Learn more: Yellow jacket traps.
Price: Check current price
For sure, there is no deficiency of supply on the wasp poison market. We’ll describe the most popular sprays to you, which customers vote for.
Scientists from the University of New Hampshire gives you a useful piece of advice concerning sprays: Buy a pressurized can of wasp and hornet jet spray. The brand you choose is not important, but be sure to buy the kind that sprays a solid stream of insecticide spray that will reach 10 feet or more, rather than a fine mist that will only go a foot or so. Such products usually are called JET sprays. Treat at night when most all the workers will be in the nest, and inactive. Don’t give a quick shot; spray for several seconds to make sure the spray penetrates deep into the nest.
Wasp & Hornet Spray Killer Hot Shot
This product kills both the wasps and large hornets. Moreover, it is effective against scorpions and all kinds of caterpillars. At least, the manufacturer claims this. This information can be trusted since Hot Shot is a well-known brand on the insecticide market.
Hot Shot kills the inhabitants of the nest, the wasps which fly out of it and even those insects which would return in the poisoned nest later on. The chemical compound is water-based and therefore won’t leave any oily and yellowish stains on the walls or on your clothes. Though, it’s better to spray it out wearing a special suit. The spray itself is not large, but its jet can reach 27 feet.
It’s got dozens of positive reviews. it is inexpensive and very effective.
Price: (pack of 2) Check current price
Black Flag HG-11089 Foaming Wasp & Hornet Killer Aerosol Spray, 14 oz
The Black Flag brand proved to be reliable, and it manufacturers many various insecticides. The company has especially designed this product to banish wasps and hornets. Black Flag Wasp Spray functions pretty much like the previous spray: the 29 feet long jet kills the wasps even in the nests which are out of reach. It contains a bit more of the chemical compound than the Hot Shot product, but it weighs less. What a paradox we’ve got!
Please read the manual before using this product. The jet of the Black Flag spray is very strong, and someone unprepared might drop the bottle or direct it the wrong way! There’s nothing bad about this feature, as the length of the poisonous jet is provided by the high pressure inside the bottle. This spray is also relatively safe for people and pets: There were few complaints regarding the problems with the cats who got some spray on them among customer reviews.
Like all such sprays, this one is best to use at night when the wasps are asleep or during the day if the nest is small. In this case you’ll have a chance of killing all of the protectors of the nest who fly to the nest they literally die of this poison within seconds.
What do the users post about this spray? They mainly say that this product kills ants, caterpillars, and some types of scorpions. Moreover, the spray contaminates the soil for a long period of time and so, any insect which touches the poisonous area in the future will die immediately.
Many consumers are amazed by the design of an aerosol release button, which is a trigger. Black Flag makes its customers feel like true hunters.
Price: Check current price
Crucial Tip from Entomologists of the University of Kentucky: Treatment should be performed late at night after all yellowjackets, wasps and hornets are in the nest and less active. Approach the nest slowly and do not shine the beam of the flashlight directly into the nest entrance as this may startle the wasps; instead, cast the beam to the side to illuminate the nest indirectly and place the light on the ground rather than in your hand. Similar to hornets, yellowjackets are extremely aggressive when the nest is disturbed.
Bee and Wasp Spray: Professional Freeze – Non-Toxic Wasp Killer
Sprays not only poison the wasps, they also freeze them. Here is a Non-Toxic Wasp Killer.
How does the Bee and Wasp Spray work? Have you ever seen the doctors freeze the muscles of the athletes who had an injury or got a bruise during a sports match? The doctors run to the field, sprinkle the leg or shoulder of a football player with a cooling spray, and a perfect happy athlete goes on playing the game. Well, these vacuum bottles have 50-500 milliliters of chemical refrigerants inside. They are typically safe for humans and are hypoallergenic (unless you spray it for over 10 seconds or direct the aerosol on open wounds or eyes). The wasps, on the other hand, are absolutely freeze-intolerant and they instantly die when they come in contact with the chemical refrigerators.
Sprays not only poison the wasps, they also freeze them. Here is a Non-Toxic Wasp Killer.
The manufacturers of the Freeze claim that the spray’s cold jet may reach 15 feet and kill multiple wasps simultaneously. One bottle, can kill about 30-50 species. The great advantage of this product over any poison, even the strongest one is its acting speed. If the poisoning occurs within a few seconds, when a predator might manage to bite the attacker, physical freeze paralyzes the wasp’s wings on the fly. Theoretically, being out in the cold is the fastest death for a wasp.
The users of such freezes agree with this idea completely. They claim that the wasps don’t even have any time to reach you. The spray is used up fairly quickly, though, and some of the dead unfreeze after some time. However, mass usage of several freeze bottles ensures killing the entire nest. We advise you to read more in order to understand whether you need this Freeze Spray.
Price: Check current price
Essential reading: How to get rid of carpenter bees?
Dust Wasp Insecticide
According to the University of Minnesota, The most effective treatment is with an application of a dust, e.g. containing deltamethrin. Unfortunately, there are not many products like this available to the general public that are registered for use in buildings.
We found for you one Dust Pest Insecticide, containing deltamethrin.
Delta Dust Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide is a multi-purpose insecticide that promises to get rid of wasps and other pest insects indoors. You have to apply it in all cracks, niches, in the attic and wasps’ nest – all the places where the wasps were seen. Use a hand sprayer such as Pest Pistol Mini Duster for a Check current price or an ordinary paint brush to do this.
Price: Check current price
When talking about poison, we shouldn’t overlook repellents either. After all, not everyone has to exterminate a whole hive of wasps: some simply want to protect their apartment or car from them. Here’s a typical wasp repellent.
Hot Shot 5580 No Pest Strip Unscented Hanging Vapor Insect Repellent
Hot Shot 5580 will guard your apartment, garage, attic, or yacht without attracting any attention. It doesn’t give off any strong smells and doesn’t take up much space. One hung box will be enough to repel the wasps in a 10×13 meters area. The height of the ceiling doesn’t matter in this case at all.
Hot Shot product which is a very competitive price for a mass segment repellent. One pack will last about 4 months. You’ll have to air the room thoroughly though after using this device for a long period of time. But this is a slight inconvenience in comparison with being stung by dozens of wasps or mosquitoes!
Price: Check current price
Remember the traps which resemble the shape of a wasp nest? There’s a similar device without any glue or sweet mixture. It’s not even technically a trap; it is more of a yellow jacket repellent. We’ve got a 100% fake cellulose hive.
Get Lost Wasp Bee Free Natural & Non-Toxic Wasp Deterrent
It’s low price (Check current price for two pieces) and environmentally-friendly approach to the problem make this product popular.
The manufacturers of this hive were inspired by science. They found out that the wasps don’t settle closer than 200 meters to an existing hive, and so they proposed to deter these social insects with fake nests of other wasps. The manufacturers assure you that if you hang Non-Toxic Wasp Deterrent in spring near your house, the queen wasp will never build a nest there. You’d better hang the device in a visible place protected from rain and strong winds, though. Otherwise, you risk the device’s melting or falling on your head at the first opportunity.
The feedback is also quite optimistic. Although some customers found in this fake hive some real wasps, which settled there! Of course, those weren’t real colonies; they were only groups of 30-40 wasps. In this case, you’ll be able to use the product as a trap. The customers also state that the Wasp Deterrent is not rain or tornado-proof. The manufacturer has warned about this, so there’s no reason to complain.
Price: (pack of 4) Check current price
Read our review about what is more effective: A Wasp Spray, a Dust Wasp Killer or a Wasp Freeze?
We have introduced some proven ways of eliminating wasps. Of course, you shouldn’t declare the war on these species without a particular need, as they are an important part of the ecosystem and are useful for humans. But if they were the first to declare war, then you have to nobly accept the challenge. Treatment of wasps, hornets, and yellowjackets is best performed at night. Most wasp and hornet sprays cause insects to drop instantly when they come into contact with the insecticide. Standing directly below a nest increases one’s risk of being stung, warns entomologists from the University of Kentucky.