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Ohhhhh rats! I mean … wasps!

This just appeared on a corner of my house. Seemingly overnight.


I don’t have any wasp killer or any way to get some in the next day or two. Don’t have a weed-sprayer attachment for the hose, either, which I understand you can use to deliver either pesticides or detergent water. I want these ugly little suckers gone.

Wonder what would happen if I went out at dawn or twilight when they’re less active and — from a respectable distance — directed a hard jet of water at them from the hose?

Would I end up regretting that?


  1. Ellendra
    Ellendra July 6, 2015 4:48 pm

    I kept wasps out of their favorite porch for a few years just by hanging whole bay leaves from the rafters. Bugs don’t like the smell.

    They also tend to avoid smoke, could you set up a grill so the smoke drifts toward them?

    They can’t see in the dark, so if you’re planning any open attacks, wait for full night instead of twilight.

    Good luck!

  2. WillyT
    WillyT July 6, 2015 4:50 pm

    WD-40 and then run like hell!

  3. Claire
    Claire July 6, 2015 5:26 pm

    WillyT — WD-40? Really? I have TONS of WD-40. I already consider it one of the four essential substances holding the universe together. But killing wasps? Never thunk it.

    Ellendra — Smoke. Hm. Only grill-like thing I have is the Pyromid (now EcoQue), which is pretty small. Would smoke really make them go away, do you suppose? Or just change their mood?

  4. Joel
    Joel July 6, 2015 5:28 pm

    Would I end up regretting that?

    Oh, yes. No half measures. If I’m gonna be chased by wasps, I want to know I deserved it real good, and that the pursuers have no home to go back to. Water won’t do it.

    Wow, that is one scary looking nest and it won’t get smaller. Nuclear option, ASAP. Screwing around with water hoses will only piss them off, it won’t hurt them.

  5. RustyGunner
    RustyGunner July 6, 2015 5:30 pm

    Nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  6. Claire
    Claire July 6, 2015 5:58 pm

    “Nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

    Oh, that’s really, really, really encouraging, thank you (NOT!), RustyGunner and Joel. FWIW, a neighbor just offered me a ride to town tomorrow. I think I can talk her into going a little farther to the hardware store for that wasp spray. (Usually I keep a couple of cans around, but they all got used up during construction projects. Wasps in the walls, there were, but not entire civilizations of them like on the house today.)

  7. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal July 6, 2015 6:29 pm

    If it weren’t attached to a house I assume you want to keep, I would say make your own flame thrower with a squirt bottle, a lighter, and rubbing alcohol- and torch them at night.

    But do make the flame thrower anyway, just for fun.

  8. jed
    jed July 6, 2015 7:09 pm

    YouTube will show you many examples of fail in the process of removing wasp / hornet nests.

  9. Joel
    Joel July 6, 2015 7:12 pm

    (Usually I keep a couple of cans around, but they all got used up during construction projects. Wasps in the walls, there were, but not entire civilizations of them like on the house today.)

    Y’know, usually I’m the one with the ‘surrounded by dangerous loathsome creatures’ gig. It’s kind of my thing, and I’ll thank you not to poach on it. Do I paint pictures of ladies on tables? 🙂

    Seriously, good luck. And put on your running shoes (can you run yet?) Or better yet, go all girly and get the neighborhood kids to do it while you watch from inside your hermetically-sealed house.

  10. Claire
    Claire July 6, 2015 7:58 pm

    Oh, you guys are SOOOOOO encouraging.

    And jed — What about all the YouTube videos of wild successes at getting rid of wasps’ nests? Huh? That’s what I want to see.

    Joel — You are welcome to take up painting ladies on tables any time you wish, as long as you come up and deal with these loathsome creatures.

    Ron Johnson — I’ve heard of that remedy, but since I have neither the pesticide nor the little tank to put on the hose, when I can get to the hardware store, I’m going straight to the “maximum death spray” aisle.

    Nukes and flamethrowers, oh my. As big as this nest it, I’m tempted. Believe me. I’d even go gather up the neighbor boys and hand the spray cans to them. But given that they’re all between 8 and 11 years old, I don’t think their mother would appreciate me offering them all the “fun.”

  11. Claire
    Claire July 6, 2015 8:02 pm

    Oh yeah. And the “run like hell” thing. I’m up to a “speedy limp” now, if the ground is level. Which it isn’t. Drat. Kent might just be onto something with that flamethrower idea.

    In fact, I even have a sort of flamethrower thingy that came with a propane tank. I’ve never tried throwing any actual flames with it. It was just on the tank when I found it at a garage sale.

    Anyhow … naw. Better just practice my “running like hell.”

  12. FishOrMan
    FishOrMan July 6, 2015 8:32 pm

    That’s a job for the good stuff, (the longer the jet the better!!!). And keep spraying at the opening as it looks big enough they could send out a pretty good size swarm to attack. Cooler weather is suppose to be coming, (Thursday?) …you may want to resist the desire to punish those suckers for every wrong that has ever fallen upon you from this cruel universe… for just a couple of days??? Also resist the desire to wash it all away. That stuff, once sprayed, will keep them from attempting a nearby rebuild. I finished off leftover can from last year and another to almost completely rid myself of seeing those nasties in my backyard. I’ve decided to even travel with a can of the stuff. Got to be the BF hero during a swim party at a friend’s, (even hitting a bald-faced nest trying to establish itself 20 feet from kid’s play area).

  13. jed
    jed July 6, 2015 9:18 pm

    What about all the YouTube videos of wild successes at getting rid of wasps’ nests? Huh? That’s what I want to see.

    Those are no fun!

    In cases such as this, I’m pretty firmly in the camp of a big can of pyrethroid with a long reach, as late in the evening as you can make it.

  14. Kurt
    Kurt July 6, 2015 9:27 pm

    Agree with those who preach caution, especially since you’re not in shape for serious ducking and dodging and running. This is no time for skimping on chemical death for these nasties. Getting swarmed is not a joke, and can be lethal, depending on your sensitivities.

    I’m not saying you should leave it to professionals, because that’s overkill. But, get the right stuff, and apply it liberally, after sunset if you can, but before full dark. A good, strong flashlight that you can set down and make point at the nest for your aiming might be a decent idea, too.


  15. KiA
    KiA July 6, 2015 9:30 pm

    why is the first urge to kill them? are they liberals? islamists? illegal immigrants? what would happen if you let them be (or is it let them wasp)?

  16. A.G.
    A.G. July 6, 2015 10:01 pm

    What Kurt said two posts up.
    If you can afford it, get a couple of extra cans and add them to your prep stash.
    The pros just use the same over the counter wasp spray as everyone else.

  17. A.G.
    A.G. July 6, 2015 10:04 pm

    Wearing a long sleeved shirt, trousers, a hat, and bandito bandana would be prudent measures. Bees hone in on the carbon we exhale, and I assume wasps do as well.

  18. A.G.
    A.G. July 6, 2015 10:06 pm

    I said shirt, but really a jacket is in order.

    Posting selfies or vid clips of your adventure is strictly optional, but highly encouraged. 😉

  19. Pat
    Pat July 7, 2015 5:13 am

    Add a pair of goggles to protect the eyes.

    I’ve read that a CO2 fire extinguisher works on wasps – it freezes them. But that seems too close for comfort.

  20. Claire
    Claire July 7, 2015 6:19 am

    Ah, now we’re getting past the nukes and flamethrowers. I shall do as FishOrMan suggests — plus as much full coverage gear as I can don. Definitely no skimping on the Chemical Stream of Death. I love the idea of putting a flashlight somewhere away from me as a target for the waspies to get mad at and the idea of wearing a face-bandanna against both carbon exhalations and face stings.

    I’ll probably try it tonight or at dawn tomorrow. It looks as if the weather may cloud up a bit later in the week, but I don’t see it getting much cooler. So might as well destroy that wasp civilization before it grows much bigger.

  21. MJR
    MJR July 7, 2015 8:28 am

    One of the most effective ways of getting rid of wasps is to get a ladder, acquire a 5 pound Co2. Then after sunset when all the little critters are at home go up the ladder and empty the extinguisher into the nest. This will freeze the whole colony. I did this years ago during a stint in the military as a fire fighter.

    You may be able to borrow a Co2 extinguisher from your local FD and if you ask real nice they may just wave the recharging fee. Explain it to then from the environmental stand point, there are no harsh chemicals, pesticides or other poisons to deal with.

    One thing, whatever you are going to do do it at night when all the hive is at home and wear PPE as in heavy clothes that cover everything.

  22. Ellendra
    Ellendra July 7, 2015 8:47 am

    I need to drop by here more often than once or twice a day!

    “Would smoke really make them go away, do you suppose? Or just change their mood?”

    If it’s enough smoke, and over a period of time instead of all at once, it would make them leave.

    Smoke is said to calm bees (and wasps) down, but what it actually does is get them panicked over a different threat. They get so focused preparing to escape the fire, that they really can’t be bothered over anything else. Much like people who know the fires are getting closer, there’s that time when the car is packed and the kids are being kept near the house, but it’s just not time yet to get in and drive.

    Convince them it’s time to get in and drive.

    That said, the spray is probably easier.


  23. Claire
    Claire July 7, 2015 9:13 am

    Ellendra — Interesting. I had no idea! Hm. I might get out the Pyromid and keep that burning under them all day to see if it has any effect before I attack them (and rile them) with the spray.

    MJR and Pat — The fire extinguisher idea is interesting, but yes, too close. Nearly every set of wasp-exorcising instructions I’ve found have said, “DON’T get up on a ladder” because of the chance of flying off it backwards if the critters swarm you. I’m heeding that advice, though it seems awkward not to be a little more elevated.

  24. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau July 7, 2015 10:22 am

    You would regret it. Yellow jackets can fly at night and find a target.

    I have used a shop vacuum to suck them up but that mostly works in the ground nests (and it never gets all of them). I have also used a shotgun which does the job but can mess up the building some.

    That nest took a while to build up. If they are out of the way, leave them there and just wait for the winter rains to handle them.

  25. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau July 7, 2015 10:25 am

    BTW those wasps look large. Are they the big black and white kind, or the smaller yellow jackets? The black-and-whites make the yellow jackets seem mild…

  26. WillyT
    WillyT July 7, 2015 10:52 am

    Hi Claire, yes wd-40 smothers them. I thought about your injury being as I’m a crippled er disabled old biker. 2nd option for me would be starting fluid as it has a long and strong stream but doesn’t act as fast.

  27. Claire
    Claire July 7, 2015 11:08 am

    Paul — The nest is about as far as it gets from being out of the way. I’m not getting close enough to say for sure, but these don’t look like yellowjackets.

    Also, they’re located where they could work their way right into my sunroom if they find small gaps — which they will.

  28. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau July 7, 2015 11:26 am

    Did you have removable roof tiles in that sunroom? Can you shoot some thing out through those same small gaps from the safety of being inside? Or caulk those gaps?

    One thing I have noticed with hornets is that they key off of movement. When I use the shop vac (with a bee suit on, mind you!) they go after the tip of the rigid hose – then get sucked into it. I suspect if you got a very good brass nozzle, the kind that shoots very far like maybe that kind for sweeping driveways and such, stood as far out as you could in the shade if possible, and didn’t move much, you would be able to soak the nest without too much risk. Their eyes are very primitive, not like ours.

    It’s funny, with all those home-brewed ways of dealing with hornets, I never tried a can of Raid. I have to say the shotgun (using bird shot) is the most satisfying method

  29. Claire
    Claire July 7, 2015 11:30 am

    Paul — I know of no human-perceptible gaps in the sunroom that would let wasps get in or let me blast anything out at them. I’m more concerned they’ll find their ways into the inner walls and emerge elsewhere — which would make them a job for an out-of-town exterminator. I want to get them before they find their way in.

    I do have one of those hose nozzles, but my kind neighbor just took me alllll the way over to the next town, where I scored enough wasp spray to get through Armageddon. The local hardware store was out of it, saying this is a terrible year for wasps and they can’t keep a supply in.

    Shotgun … about as likely as the flamethrower or the nuke, I think. Given where the nest’s located.

  30. Scott
    Scott July 7, 2015 11:54 am

    WD-40, kerosene, penetrating oil,-or any generic WD-40 clone. Spray, then run-repeat if necessary. Kerosene just drops them. I’ve put it in a dish detergent bottle and squirted them with it before. It works as well as any insecticide. Beprepared to run, though.

  31. Emily
    Emily July 7, 2015 2:45 pm

    We had a huge nest like this a few years back. They were hornets and we all lived in harmony until the first frost killed them all. We were careful not to make eye contact when we passed by the nest. They never bothered us.

  32. Claire
    Claire July 7, 2015 2:58 pm

    Emily — I’m glad you and your hornets were able to peacefully coexist. I’d be willing to do that with these critters if they were in a tree or on a shed. Were your “visitors” attached to the junction of your walls and ceiling?

  33. Bob Adkinson
    Bob Adkinson July 7, 2015 3:01 pm

    Whatever you decide, film it. OK? Please? 🙂

  34. LarryA
    LarryA July 7, 2015 7:57 pm

    You may be able to borrow a Co2 extinguisher from your local FD and if you ask real nice they may just wave the recharging fee.

    Um, no. Firefighters have hard copies of the FirstResponder gene, particularly if it’s a volunteer department. Unless there’s a real fire for them to worry about, and right now there are several around that part of the country, they will insist on bringing the extinguisher. Along with sundry other equipment, probably with flashylights going. To “help the little lady” of course. (Although these days a couple of them may be ladies.)

    If they know what they’re doing, fine. If not, the 8 and 11 year-olds will at least not do anything you can’t repair.

  35. Claire
    Claire July 7, 2015 8:29 pm

    “If they know what they’re doing, fine. If not, the 8 and 11 year-olds will at least not do anything you can’t repair.”

    I was more worried about wasps doing something to 8-to-11-year-olds that their parents would think not easily repaired.

  36. Dan
    Dan July 9, 2015 8:17 am

    I would add a mosquito head net to my armor.

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