I would like to not die a horrible death from wasp stings
July 23, 2014 4:19 PM   Subscribe

On my deck, right out my back door, is a small square bench that until recently had a flower pot sitting on it. The flower pot was recently tossed (about a week ago) and last evening, I noticed there were quite a few bees? wasps? in that area of of the deck. Today, it became clear they have MOVED IN.

I think they are building a hive on the underside of the bench. I went down to the ground, and looked up at it, and I can see something sticky and grey and blobby looking, although very small, stuck to the bottom, crawling with wasps. I would say there are 10? 15? 20? I'm not sure. TOO MANY.

How do I get rid of this thing, safely, and fast? It's moveable, but I'm scared to move it. I have guests coming Friday night. The guests will bring two very small children who need to be able to enjoy the deck and the yard, so speed is important.

Can I do this myself? Do I need to call some kind of exterminator super fast? If I pick up the hose, set it on JET, walk a distance away, and spray the crap out of my bench, and then run the hell away, will they know who to turn on?

Maybe there's some kind of poison? We have three cats, and they go outdoors in the evenings. I don't want to do anything that would endanger them, or any other neighborhood cats.

I need them all gone, super fast. How do I do this without immense amounts of pain? Will it require me to set the bench on fire? (my house mate is against this, she likes the bench as seating)
posted by instead of three wishes to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The usual recommendation for non-toxic wasp killer is dish soap + water (e.g.). You need to do this in the evening and stand well away from the nest.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:25 PM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Gray and blobby means wasps, not bees. And I would recommend a professional; wasps are mean in a way bees aren't.
posted by Specklet at 4:26 PM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


I had so much fun committing insect genocide.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:27 PM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

My first choice would be to call someone else to deal with it but if that were impossible I guess I would probably try to submerge the bench in a kiddie pool of soapy water? Or maybe spray it with a foam fire extinguisher? Or some other kind of foamy nontoxic thing that would trap and smother them?

I would just burn the whole house down and move far away to start anew, that is the truth.
posted by elizardbits at 4:29 PM on July 23, 2014 [6 favorites]

Best answer: You can buy a wasp spray. its high powered so you can shoot the nest from a distance, and its very directed so it won't pose a threat to local anamals.
posted by nalyd at 4:54 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have used whatever that wasp-killing spray is that Raid sells, and it has successfully killed many a wasp nest, leaving pets entirely unharmed. Once the wasps are all dead -- I like to spray it regularly, just in case, but it usually happens in 24-48 hours -- you can just destroy the nest.

(I have a wooden door on my balcony that has a hole in it, and wasps consistently make new nests in it every spring, but don't come back after I spray in the year. It is horrifying.)
posted by jeather at 4:56 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would be disinclined to deal with a wasp nest on my own. Wasps are very aggressive, and if you've never been stung before, you don't know if you'll have a bad reaction. A hive of angry wasps is not to be trifled with. They will come after you.

Since the whole hive is exposed, though, you can try one of the long-range sprays; but spray late in the day, when the wasps are "at home." And stay well away.

We called an exterminator last week when we found too many wasps flying into our siding. It cost an arm and a leg, but wasps ain't nuthing ta fuck wit.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:57 PM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Someone has already alluded to this, but please, please don't do anything until it is at least dusk. Wasps are much less active when it is dark and less likely to swarm out to sting you to oblivion.
posted by Diagonalize at 5:11 PM on July 23, 2014

I can't recall the name of it, but I used a mint oil-based spray to deal with wasp nests. It kills them (my understanding is that it is a neurotoxin for them) and doesn't have the kind of chemicals that the Raid sprays have.

Diagonalize has it right. It's best to take action only when it is cool outside. IANAE (entomologist) but I've heard that they can't really fly when it's below about 50F/10C, and that was my experience when I used the mint spray. I did it around 6am, when it was still quite cool. They started walking out of the hive as soon as I started spraying, but none of them got airborne, even though at least some of them definitely would have had time to do so before I sprayed them.
posted by number9dream at 5:41 PM on July 23, 2014

Dude, you could die from too many stings, wasps and hornets are just...yeah, that's not good.

Call a pro, they have the gear you need to do this correctly.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:41 PM on July 23, 2014

Best answer: Does it look like this (beginnings of a small nest, open)? Or this (big closed nest)?

If it's the former, I routinely deal with those myself with the Raid spray everyone is mentioning. It works great and you can stand very far away. The problem is that if it's under a bench, it doesn't sound like it is easily accessible to do the spraying unless you tip the bench over to expose the nest. I would not recommend tipping the wasp bench over, so it's probably best to just call a professional.

If it's the latter, I would run away screaming and DEFINITELY call a professional.
posted by gatorae at 5:52 PM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: For speed you want Raid or a similar product. Raid wasp killer will spray an impressive distance so you can stay a safe distance away and hose them down with the stuff, and if they get angry you can retreat for a few minutes. Set aside half an hour just in case it takes a few rounds of retreating. If you want you could use it a little and then move on to the home remedies mentioned, but if you to want to be sure (for the sake of the kids) you should use the product generously one night and move the nest the next day. Or use it early in the morning and move the nest that evening.

I did some quick reading on the active ingredients in Raid. Read up on them yourself, don't take my word for it, but it seems they're all toxic to insects and not really toxic to mammals. I wouldn't want to expose my pets to them frequently or in large doses, but keep them away for a few hours and you'll be set. Most of them degrade readily so it's not like the area will be a permanent biohazard.

Once you've killed all the wasps you can find, put on gloves and long sleeves and drown the nest in water to be sure it's done.
posted by Tehhund at 5:56 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The nest looked a lot like gatorae's first photo. It was just the beginning of a nest.

The genocide went down as follows:

1. Dusk
2. A can of long distance spraying RAID as many people here recommended
3. An incredibly brave and much more wasp savvy neighbor with long arms to pull the trigger
4. Me standing at a safe distance yelling encouragement and stuff.

I owe that man a pie.

We washed the deck down after to get rid of the little wasp corpses and the larvae (ew ew ew ew) and hurled the bench down the yard to air out, and so the wasps who weren't home don't try to return. Hopefully it will rain tonight like the weathermen keep saying it will, and that will be the end of it for now.

Plan B was to sell the house and move.

Thanks everyone!
posted by instead of three wishes at 6:11 PM on July 23, 2014 [17 favorites]

If it's the latter, I would run away screaming and DEFINITELY call a professional.

Gatorae, it was the former. If it looked like the latter, she'd be looking for a new housemate.

posted by kythuen at 6:13 PM on July 23, 2014

Glad it worked. Really, wasps have very predictable behavior and will want to attack something that is poking at the nest or hitting it or what not, but shooting liquid from 15-20 ft is mostly out of their range and gives you plenty of time to retreat. The main thing is to wait till dusk when they are less active and (if your timing is right) all actually in the nest, so you don't have stragglers coming back to the general area the next day.

We had wasps coming out of the window trim by our back door one year, and my uncle did a pitch-perfect rendition of a cartoon character whipping away at them while standing still. It was one of the first signs to us that this automotive engineer (two of the big three, as well as Cummins) was losing some of his rational abilities, and indeed he eventually died of dementia.

I grew up in the era where people still routinely climbed ladders and thwacked nests with brooms, so the ease and safety of a good waspicide is very welcome.
posted by dhartung at 10:21 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I had so much fun committing insect genocide.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:27 PM on July 23 [2 favorites −] [!]

Every time I think I am So Smart, I read a comment like this and marvel at those so much smarter than me.
posted by 4ster at 1:17 PM on July 25, 2014

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