Killing Wasps

A Look At Ways For Killing Wasps

For many, killing wasps is almost like going on a sacred mission. Many who were first stung by a wasp at an early age, still remember it, as some wasp stings, the yellow jacket's for example, can be very painful, and for a very young person, frightening as well. The fact that wasps are among the most beneficial insects we can have around isn't going to influence anyone who has been badly stung. As far as wasps are concerned, it's a matter of "I'll respect your territory if you respect mine". Unfortunately, either side tends to break that agreement from time to time.

Before going on a campaign of killing wasps, it would be worthwhile to understand just who the enemy is and why. There are several different kinds of wasps. All are beneficial in that they prey on garden pests. It's just that some of these beneficial insects can be a bit mean at times, and treat us as is we were one of the pests, which we of course can find painful.

Good Wasps - Lets start with two types of wasps which we should probably leave alone, unless they become a nuisance, or they happen to have a nest nearby and someone in the household is allergic to wasp stings. The paper wasp is a fairly docile wasp which generally does not bother humans. It is usually smaller than a yellow jacket or hornet and not particularly colorful. One can often tell if there are paper wasps in the vicinity by their nests, which resemble an unfinished bee's or wasp's nest. The honeycomb structure is there, but there is no outer shell. If you find one of these nests a fair distance from your house or garden, it's probably safe just to leave it, and the paper wasps, alone.

A second type of wasp, while quite docile, is more fierce looking. This is the solitary wasp, the larger wasp with the long thin abdomen. This is the guy who really looks like a wasp and one that means business. Unlike the yellow jacket or hornet, the solitary wasp is not particularly territorial, and will usually leave a person alone if you leave it alone. This wasp has a definite live and let live attitude, and unless one becomes just a bit to intimate, it can safely be left alone.

Bad Wasps - Next we get to a couple of the bad guys, the bald faced hornet, actually a wasp, and the yellow jacket Both are territorial, and both tend to be aggressive, particularly the yellow jacket The bald-faced hornet's nest are very often found hanging from a branch or a structure. The yellow jackets often nest in the ground or behind boards, and in cracks and crevices. As far as killing wasps is concerned, most people consider these two types fair game.

Search And Destroy - A wasp's nest can usually be located by observing several wasps entering and exiting from a specific location, unless of course the nest is in plain sight. You can kill the wasps in the nest with one of the projectile sprays, effective to around 20', or a lemon oil based spray, which kills wasps upon contact. Pouring a solution of soap and water over the nest will also work, as soap and water will kill the insects, but not immediately, so have an exit plan in mind if you're trying that approach.

Protect Yourself - Put on your official wasp-killing uniform, which can consist of a heavy sweatshirt, two layers is even better, long pants, a cap or hat, and even tight fitting goggles if handy. Also be wearing shoes you can run in, should running be required. Approach the nest in the evening or, with a flashlight after dark, and do your duty. The evening is best because the wasps will have returned to the nest, plus if the temperature is below 50 degrees, they cannot fly well. Look the nest over the next day and see if there are any survivors. Often there are, especially if they all were not in the nest at the time you sprayed it. You may have to repeat the process once or twice more. When activity has ceased you can remove and destroy the nest.

It probably goes without saying that you should not attack a wasp's nest at high noon on a hot day, wearing a swimsuit and flip-flops. You'll make a wonderful target. Wasps are curious, some are aggressive, especially when it comes to defending their nest, and they see quite well in the day time, at least to a distance of 15' or so.



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