It is worth noting, however, that sometimes it might not be necessary to know how to kill wasps. Sometimes, it’s actually in your benefit to let them live. Wasps feed on other insects that damage crops, trees, and they also eat flies (and who doesn’t hate flies?).
But you are probably here because some wasps have been getting too close for comfort and they simple need to be eliminated. So here we go.
How to Kill Wasps. Step One: Identifying the Species
In order to learn how to kill wasps the right way, you need to make sure you know what type of critter you are dealing with. The most common wasps that hang out around residential homes are hornets, yellow jackets, paper wasps, and ground wasps. (We will also cover how to kill red wasps and how to kill cicada killer wasps.) See chart below:
HORNETS: They are a common target for people learning how to kill wasps. The easiest way to identify a hornet is by its nest. They create football-shaped nests that hang from trees (often seen in the movies and cartoons). They are sometimes found in flowerbeds as well. Hornets are the largest common wasp and can be distinguished by a very large vertex.
YELLOW JACKETS: This one is easy, and it is probably the second most common target for those wanting to know how to kill wasps. These wasps are covered in lots and lots of yellow. Yellow jackets have either yellow-black striping patterns or yellow-white. They are small, travel in colonies, and have a side-to-side flight pattern.
PAPER WASPS: These guys are about an inch long, usually have yellow stripes, and make honeycomb-shaped nests that they often attach to a roof or other tall stationary objects. This “How to Kill Wasps” post would not be complete without adding in these common household nuisances.
GROUND WASP: There are many types of ground wasps, and the term “ground wasp” does not necessarily categorize any one in particular. They can easily be identified by their solitary nature (they travel alone) and their ground nesting.
REP WASP: They are covered in different shades of red depending on the exact species. These are actually in the paper wasp category and have the same nesting habits. They have a tendency to get into homes, and a lot of people learn how to kill wasps specifically because of red wasps.
CICADA KILLER WASP: These guys are ground-mining, solitary wasps which generally keep to themselves. They have a bit of yellow, they are up to 2 inches long, and have rusty colored wings.
Note: If you want to learn how to kill hornets or how to kill yellow jackets, then click on the attached link. For continuing to discover how to kill wasps, then read on below:
How to Kill Wasps. Step 2: General Tips–Murder’s Row
The second step of figuring out how to kill wasps is to find the nest. If you can’t do that then you are not going to solve the long-term problem. Almost all wasps are less active during the evening and nighttime, making it an ideal time to plan your attack.
Wasps can’t see the color red. So if you take a flashlight and cover it with a thin red cloth, you will be able to shine the red light at the wasp nest without them even noticing. If you do this without the red covering, they might be attracted to the light and attack you.
With any strategy you read in this “How to Kill Wasps” post, make sure to cover up. Wasps stings can be very painful and sometimes deadly. Wear long sleeve shirts and pants, put gloves on, and even wear a mask if possible. I would even go as far as putting cloth (perhaps a scarf) around your neck. Bottom line: cover all skin possible.
When using professional grade products, make sure to read the label. (I’ll get into the specifics of this later.) But just be careful. OK, let’s get into specific techniques of how to kill wasps of specific breeds!
How to Kill Paper Wasps
Paper wasps are commonly seen around residential homes and can be very aggressive at times. It’s not very comforting to have these guys hanging around the porch area especially. For learning how to kill wasps of the paper variety, there are three approaches:
(1) Find the nest, which will be a honeycomb-type nest that is likely resting under an overhang on the roof. Then take a broom and sweep the nest onto the ground and smash it. I don’t personally care for this method because it is dangerous, but some people do it.
(2) Apply a high pressure nozzle on your hose and blast the nest with water. Once the nest is down, switch to wider stream of water so you can blast the wasps out of the air.
(3) Use a wasp aerosol spray (a pesticide product found at Home Depot or probably even Wal-Mart) and spray the nest. Again, remember to do this in the evening and cover up. The great thing about these sprays is it kills wasps on contact and leaves a residue on the nest that will kill any wasps that return later. This is the best option in my opinion and the first thing I suggest when someone asks me how to kill wasps.
How to Kill Ground Wasps
Ground wasps usually don’t pose much of a threat. They are solitary wasps, which means they aren’t very territorial and usually have no reason to attack humans, which is why it rarely happens. But nonetheless, some people are bothered by them and don’t want them in their yard. So, this is how you kill wasps of the ground variety:
You have to find their nest. This is a bit trickier because it’s just a small hole in the ground. Look in dirt areas by gardens and mud. Purchase some white plastic knives from the store and place one by each hole you find during the day. Then come back during the night and do one of the following:
(1) Take some ammonia in the evening (if you want to be extra safe, then do this after 10pm) and pour it all around where your plastic white knives are. This will generally kill every wasp. Sometimes a wasp will get away and you can search out his new mine the next day, place a a knife by it, and then use the ammonia again the next day.
(2) Do the exact same thing as step one, except use some wasp spray from Home Depot or Wal-Mart. I prefer professional pesticides as opposed to natural homemade remedies like ammonia, but they both work. And if you want to know how to kill wasps naturally, then head down to the bottom of this post.
Also, if you can’t find the holes, you can try soaking the entire area in water and this will sometimes drown out the wasp or force him to find a new home. If this doesn’t do the trick then you can get a bit more aggressive and sandblast a large dirt area that you suspect might be harboring the nest of ground wasps. If you do this, however, make sure to keep pets and kids away for a few days and then wash everything down with water after a day or two, because the goal is to learn how to kill wasps not our pets!
How to Kill Red Wasps
Red wasps are a type of paper wasps and can be treated essentially the same way. As with all social wasps, you have to destroy the nest. I will add, however, that there seems to be large amount of people that have success with the Spectracide Wasp Killer aerosol spray in particular when figuring out how to kill red wasps.
Also, a good trick for getting rid of red wasps and paper wasps is to use the trick below under “How to kill Wasps Naturally.”
How to Kill Wasps Naturally
In order to know how to kill wasps naturally, start by taking a 2 liter bottle of soda, empty it out, and then cut the top of it off (right as it starts to curve upwards). Then fill the bottom part of the bottle with a mixture of either sugar and water, or honey and water (wasps are attracted to sweet things).
Now take the top part of the bottle that you cut off, flip it upside down, and tape it onto the bottom part. The wasps will fly in to get the sugar/honey and will not be able to get out.
Most people have success with this method by placing lots of these natural traps around the home. Put some in the porch, back patio, on the window panes, and close to where the wasp nest is. If you are determined to know how to kill wasps naturally instead of just figuring out how to kill wasps with any method, then make sure you have an abundance of these traps set up because natural methods always take more patience and more product.
How to Kill Cicada Killer Wasps
The cicada killer wasps is a class of ground wasps and can be treated the exact same way as the other ground wasps above. It is important to remember that the cicada killer is very passive, meaning they rarely sting (the males can’t even sting, as a matter of fact; only the females can).
These wasps are have a life cycle during June and July and are active during the day with less activity in the evenings and early in the morning. Use the amnonia trick above and that will do the job just fine.
Bonus: How to Kill a Wasp Nest
It depends on the type of nest you are dealing with. There are honeycomb-shaped nests (the ones the paper wasps make), football-shaped nests (hornets make these), and ground nests.
The best method for learning how to kill a wasp nest in the ground is to put a chemical or ammonia directly in its hole. Do this in the evening or early in the morning. And with all of these tactics make sure to cover your skin with clothing because wasps generally don’t like it when you destroy their nest!
For football-shaped nests, I would recommend using some Spectracide Wasp Killer and just drenching the thing in the pesticide. This kills wasps on the spot and has a nice residual effect. Keep pest and children away from the yard for a few days to be safe, because remember, we are trying to understand how to kill wasps not children!
For the paper/honeycomb nests you can use the same product, or you can use the natural method of killing the wasps above. Once the paper/red wasps are destroyed, then you can just take a broom and smash down the paper nest if you don’t want it in your yard. The best part about learning how to kill a wasp is when you finally get rid of the nest–it’s a tremendous victory.
Last Bonus: How to Kill a Wasp in Your House
Learning how to kill a wasp in your house is an interesting endeavor. It’s amazing where these little buggers can place nests. You are usually going to be dealing with paper wasps if they are you in your home, which means the nest can be pretty much anywhere and it will be around the size of 6 square inches.
Your first job is to locate the nest. Until you do that, you will never win the long term battle. It’s common for paper wasps to plant nests in attacks, basements, garages, and chimneys.
If it is in a hard to reach an area, I would personally just call a local pest control company. Prices for this service vary widely, so call around and get three bids. Usually the local guys are cheaper than Orkin and Terminex and they do just as good a job, so I would personally go with one of them. Pest control guys learned how to kill wasps at your house a long time ago and it’s easy for them.
If you feel comfortable going after the nest yourself then try a natural solution first of water mixed with 50% ammonia. Put this in an empty spray bottle and blast the nest. Make sure you are covering every area of your body with clothing because you will likely be attacked in the process.
If the natural solution doesn’t work, then buy some Spectracide Wasp Killer and sandblast the nest with that. This is a pesticide product and is not desirable to use in the home, but sometimes it has to be done. If you do go this route I would try to open up some windows and doors so the fumes to consolidate in the house.
And once you can tell the wasps are dead, then get the nest out of the house as soon as possible. Most people that ask for my opinion are trying to figure out how to kill wasps in the house. It is a very uncomfortable thing to have them there.
This concludes this post on how to kill wasps. Good luck and Godspeed!