Articles and Buying Guides

How to Safely Use Wasp and Hornet Spray

Wasps Nest
Wasp Spray Cans

Wasps and hornets pollinate plants and flowers, and catch insects to feed their young. Although both of these functions are beneficial, aggressive wasps that have built a nest on or near your house often need to be exterminated. For that job, you'll need some wasp and hornet killer. But before you pick up a can and start wantonly firing a stream into the air like you're Harold Ramis in Ghostbusters, you'll need to know these important safety tips.

Hide and Seek

Do some sleuthing

The nest may not be immediately visible - you may have to do some sleuthing. Follow the insects to see if they're all heading to the same place. If you don't see a nest, see if you can find a loose edge or hole where they're coming in and out. Nests are often hidden in out-of-the-way places for protection.

The Great Outdoors

Swat indoor pests

Every once in awhile, your winged enemies figure out how to get inside. Usually it's a hole in a window screen, or a door inadvertently left open. Your first instinct might be to grab the can of wasp and hornet killer and fire away, but DON'T do this! These insecticides are only meant for outside use. If a wasp is inside the house, just use a flyswatter (or any other available bludgeon you can find in your near-panicked state). If you discover a nest in your wall or attic, call a professional exterminator.

Don't Sleep In

Early morning

Because of the danger of being swarmed and stung multiple times, you should not engage wasps or hornets when they are active. Wait until the early morning or after dark - the times when they are largely motionless.

Dress for Success

Wear protective clothing

Protective clothing is important when exterminating potentially angry flying insects that have venom and the ability to sting multiple times. Long sleeves, pants, and shoes that cover your entire foot are wise choices. Obviously, a beekeeper's hat/veil is a great option if you have access to one.

Far and Away

Stand a safe distance away

You've found the nest and are dressed to kill. However, even if you have the urge to be a sadistic fiend, don't get up close and personal. Plan to attack from a safe distance. These sprays usually propel their insecticide about 20 feet, with some traveling as far as 29 feet. That means there is no good reason to be too close. And never stand directly underneath what you're spraying.

Simply Shocking

Be aware of electricity cautions

Most wasp sprays won't conduct electricity, but you'll want to check the label for that reassurance before aiming the stream towards circuit breaker boxes, outlets, or power lines. (Imagine causing a short circuit that makes all the outdoor lights go out, right when you've just angered a bunch of hornets! Yikes!)

It's a Dog's Life

Keep away from pets and fish

Although insecticides are formulated to be deadly to their target insects, they can be poisonous to other creatures as well. To be safe, protect your pets by keeping dogs and cats out of the area you'll be spraying in. It's also important to note that wasp and hornet killer is especially toxic to fish and other aquatic animals, so don't use it on or near water.

Blowing in the Wind

Watch the wind

Although sprays focus the stream at pressure to shoot from a distance, there will still be overspray and mist that will drift out from the main stream. Because of this, make sure the wind is at your back when you spray, not blowing towards your face. Where ever that mist goes, ensure that it doesn't get onto barbecue grills and utensils, patio tables, or any exposed eating surface.

Be a Super-soaker

Wasp nest cells

When you've determined that your location, direction, and distance are safe, spray the nest until it is fully saturated. A wasp's nest is made of tough, paper-like wood fibers that have been formed into combs with many cells, so soak it well to ensure that you've gotten the killer to every pest inside of it.

Don't Stick Around

Leave immediately

When a wasp feels threatened, it releases a pheromone that alarms the rest of the colony. This can lead to an agitated swarm attacking you, the threatening troublemaker. Because of this, it is best to immediately leave the area after spraying a nest. Resist the urge to inspect your destructive handiwork right away, and wait at least 24 hours before removing the nest.

Get into Hot Water

Wash your hands

Even if you think none of the overspray has reached you, make sure to wash your hands immediately after using the killer. After all, even a -little- poison will ruin a good breakfast or piece of gum. If you know the spray got on your hands or skin, you'll need to thoroughly rinse with water. How thoroughly? Raid recommends 15-20 minutes.

Seriously, Be Careful

Be extremely careful when using

Most of all, be extremely cautious! Wasp and hornet spray is POISON. It can be extremely toxic to people and animals, so take extra care when using it. If it gets in your eyes or mouth, call Poison Control immediately at 800-222-1222. If there is an emergency, make sure to bring the can with you so medical personnel know exactly what they're dealing with.

As you've no doubt realized, using wasp and hornet spray is serious business. But if you take care to follow the guidance in this article as well as the instructions and warnings on the can, you can safely rid your home of dangerous and aggressive pests. Pick up a can of wasp and hornet killer in store or on our website.