Wasps are swarming already. How do you deal with them?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Mar 1, 2011
St. Bernard Parish
We have hundreds and hundreds of wasps throughout the spring and summer. Our grand-children get stung repeatedly if we don't keep the numbers under control. The easiest and cheapest solution for us, so far, has been that gold-colored "Lantern Oil". This lantern-oil is not the same as Coleman fuel.

We apply it using a 1-gallon pump-up bug sprayer. We don't usually fill the sprayer up. A quart or two is usually enough for us to kill all of the wasps in one pass around the property. If we can get right up to them, we use a very short blast on a narrow spray pattern. If we must shoot from far away, we use a straight stream and, that will reach 15 feet high!

The oil kills the larvae inside the nests. And, any wasps that were off the nests when we sprayed, abandon the oil-soaked nests. As soon as the spray hits the wasps, they drop like they've been pole-axed! They don't flap a rotten little wing.

If a little oily residue bothers you, a quick blast with the hose rinses it off. However, I leave the residue in most places because they don't rebuild a nest where the residue lingers.

No beneficial "bees" are harmed using this method.
Interesting! I'm guessing you're using oil for outdoor lamps, if it's gold colored it may have citronella in it, which is a nice smell.

I'm surprised, I've seen zero wasps around here. Found a few old nests on/in this trailer when I moved in but I took 'em down.

From the sound of it, you could probably spray 'em with extra virgin olive oil and it'd work - bugs don't deal with oil well at all. It pretty much puts them out of commission. So, lamp oil, food oil, just about any oil, would do the job and be kind to the environment.

Sounds like you came up with a very good solution to your wasp problem.

(BTW Coleman fuel is interesting stuff. Like lighter fluid but cleaner. I use a little Coleman stove for heat and sometimes cooking too, although I have a propane stove here also. Coleman fuel, if spilled, will evaporate with no residue.)
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I haven't seen any wasps yet, nasty buggers, hate them, but a girl I work with lives in a deep timber and she told me they have honey bees all over the place. I think that is very unusual, because our weather has been the pits lately, and yesterday was the first decent day with SUN we have had in days on end. For HB's to be out so early makes me worry about why they are out so early. I might be breeding a scab where isn't anything, and maybe that is an indication of an early Spring, which would be absolutely wonderful after the winter we had . . .but just thought that was unusual.
I hate any stinging thing, I know they have a job to do..guess me being allergic..to some..I freak out

And already freaking about them making homesnin the coops

Good luck to ya too
I just get a couple cans of the wasp and hornet killer. search very good for any nest, this time of the year its only the queen that will be on the nest. having wintered somewhere warm they come out and start building nest and laying eggs. if you kill these queens you will not have any more wasp. I do this every year as soon as the wasp start flying. still find some every now and then but most are gone. I don't kill every nest, if they are in a place where they will not bother us, I just leave them alone. wasp do provide a service, they kill other bad bugs.
I leave them alone unless they're in a really unpleasant spot. Last year, we had some nest in the picnic table tubing. When the kids sat at the table, wasps flew out and stung legs. Those got a shot of wasp & hornet spray. But the rest of them, I invite to stick around. They are beneficial predators (one variety is the best defense going against tomato horn worms!)
Someone told me that 90% of them are from your own property, but I live in the city so I'm not trying to control 5 acres. I use a mix of 4 parts paint thinner and 1 part lacquer thinner, in the common plastic spray bottle. I've still got a foot of snow in my yard, and if winter stays around much longer, the yellow jackets (as we call them) won't be bad this year. Something to do with a wet Spring
I mix up water and lemon scented Joy in a small hand pump up sprayer I got at wally world....spray the eaves of everything, which seems to be their favorite spots around here. They don't like the stuff and won't build their nests there. And if they do happen to build one, I just spray their nests, them on it or not and they don't come back. I do kill some of them in the process too. Safe and chemical free.

Soap sprays and oil sprays have been used traditionally and still are, to combat a lot of different insects. I can see where that would help a lot.

We hang a wren house in a couple of the areas that we don't want them to build a nest, like on the coop, by our front door and out by the back patio. There was an old built in gas grill on the patio when we moved in. Before we removed it, yellow jackets started a nest in there. We were going to spray it on the weekend, to get rid of them. Before that, wrens showed up. I saw them going in and out of the opening at the end of the grill. Pretty soon the yellow jackets were gone and the wrens were building a nest in there. After that, we started hanging a few more wren houses in strategic areas and it's kept the yellow jackets out of those areas. I've never heard of this as a strategy before, but it works for us.

In the past, we've also used the water traps. They were very effective. If we get a year where they're starting to be a problem, we still pop one of those up. They look like a fly trap, with a clear jar, but the lid is yellow, instead of red. They also use a different bait, that isn't stinky like the fly trap bait.
I blast them with anything I've got. Usually its a bottle of spic n' span spray cleaner from Dollar store. Seems like any kind of "soapy" product kills them fast. I patrol all their favorite spots (that I can reach) and usually spot them just when they start a nest. the best time to persuade them to go elsewhere. They love to dwell just above the doors so they can get you as you come and go. When I take care of them they are usually trying again an inch or two away before the week is over. Sometimes they have to move 3 or 4 times till they get the message.

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