How to get at this wasp's nest?
July 4, 2020 2:39 PM   Subscribe

We've got a wasp's nest inside our car- it's on the car door frame between the front and back seat (on the non-hinge side, kind of on the inside). Help?

My partner does not want to spray it- there's no good angle to hit it without being in the car, so close proximity to the wasps (he's already gotten stung twice) and he's concerned about chemicals, especially with our toddler.

We could just... get a long stick and knock it off? Is there a way to do that that'll minimize stings/attacks? Like, should we do it... when the wasps are sleepy? Do wasps get sleepy? Should we just try to hit it with the spray? If so, should we let it air out for a bit before using the car? (We do have 2nd car to use in the meantime).
posted by damayanti to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
The one time I had wasps I googled for "Bee control" and a guy came and took care of it and they never came back. I think it was like $50 or something reasonable. If you leave a check out for them it sounds like someone can just come take care of this for you and leave with no contact needed. You can let them know over the phone you're concerned about the chemicals around your toddler and they can let you know what your options are.
posted by bleep at 2:42 PM on July 4, 2020

We dealt with a yellowjacket nest ("paper", about 5 inches in diameter) inside our bike shed just above the doors. We used the following method.

Get a Wet-Dry Vac and put a good 8 inches of water in the inside of it, with a good squirt of dish soap, and mix it up. This is to remove surface tension to better drown the wasps. Attach the wand attachments to the vacuum hose to make it as long as possible.

We did it at night when the wasps were less active (but still active enough to be woken up and come outside of the nest). One person operated the vacuum, wearing a head-lamp. Said hero wore goggles, rubber gloves, and long sleeves/pants, but I don't think this wound up being really necessary. The wasps were interested in the end of the vacuum wand where the noise was coming from and didn't seem to notice the operator.

Tap on the frame with the end of the vacuum wand until a wasp comes out, then suck it up. Repeat until no more wasps come out. AVOID GETTING THE WASP NEST STUCK ON THE END OF THE VACUUM WAND AT ALL COSTS!

Rubber-band a plastic bag/few layers of plastic wrap/etc over the end of the vacuum wand to prevent anyone from crawling back out (this may have been unnecessary). Leave the wet-dry vac untouched for several months (this may also have been unnecessary).
posted by heatherlogan at 3:09 PM on July 4, 2020 [7 favorites]

I’ve had good luck using dish soap in a spray bottle (~2 Tbsp per half cup of water). Doesn’t solve the problem of having to get in the car, but at least there’s no insecticide. The soap forms a film over their breathing apparatus and they go down very quickly.
posted by doctord at 3:13 PM on July 4, 2020

You can distract the wasps with smoke, perhaps a wad of smoldering newsprint. Hold it under the nest, as soon as any wasps get a whiff, they bug out, temporarily. When they're gone, knock off the nest quickly and get rid of it. The wasps will soon be back. You can block off access to the spot where the nest was, if possible, and they'll give up in a day or so. You can also shop vac them one by one as they return. The vacuum seems to kill them enough.

I do this several times a year, and have never been stung.
posted by 2N2222 at 3:19 PM on July 4, 2020

When I removed a small nest from an outdoor shower they came back and started again. The second time I stuffed a bundle of fresh peppermint (forget where I read that) in the spot and they investigated but abandoned the area.
posted by Botanizer at 3:24 PM on July 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

I find literal ten-foot-poles, in my case, with pool cleaning brushes attached, to be very effective at knocking nests down. My wasps tend to be less aggressive varieties, though, and build fully reachable nests. I might try this method with a car door if I could reach it that way and get all of the nest off in one or two swipes. Another useful, non-chemical tool is a plain old hose squirting water, although that takes longer than the pole-poke-and-scrape method. I have never been stung, but I do depart from areas where I have removed nests with alacrity, and kept clear of them for several hours.

You will have the problem of angry wasps lingering in the car interior, though.
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 4:31 PM on July 4, 2020

There used to be a company in Seattle that would come out and spray wasps' nests with liquid nitrogen, which effectively eliminates the problem of toxic residues.
posted by jamjam at 5:25 PM on July 4, 2020

Update: what we ended up doing was:

Placed a pan of soapy water under the door. Prepped other bucket of soapy water. Open door, splash nest, knock nest with stick into soapy water below. Peppermint shoved into door frame. Partner is unstung!
posted by damayanti at 12:22 PM on July 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh also toddler desperately wants to play with soap bubbles now
posted by damayanti at 12:23 PM on July 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

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