Grit Blogs > Life and Adventures at Diamond W Ranch

The War on Wasps

By Jacqueline Wilt, R.N., C.E.M.T.


Tags: Wasp, Spray, Wasp Control, Jacqueline Wilt,

Life and Adventures at Diamond W RanchI hate wasps. No, seriously … I HATE WASPS. OK, OK … truth be told, I am PETRIFIED of wasps. Yup. This bona-fide country girl who wrangles 5-foot snakes, rides horses, shoots guns, swims in farm ponds, catches crawdads bare-handed, walks barefoot in the goat pen, and hypnotizes chickens is reduced to a quivering, sniveling, panic-stricken complete fool in the presence of one of these miniscule creatures from the depths of hell.

Logically, I understand I am much, much bigger and stronger than they are. But when I am dive-bombed by one of these evil fire-breathing demons, my fight-or-flight instinct kicks in high gear and I become a windmill of flailing arms, screeching unintelligible gibberish and sprinting in no direction in particular. I. Hate. Wasps.

Demon dragon waspWe live in an old farmhouse. I don’t know what it is about old farmhouses … maybe the gaps in the construction that have formed over time … maybe there is an attic portal straight to the hell they come from … whatever it is, old farmhouses seem to birth wasps from thin air. It makes my life as a spheksophobic (that’s apparently what the phobia of wasps is called, according to Google) akin to living in a perpetual nightmare.

So, I have embarked on a Total Wasp Annihilation Campaign (T.W.A.C. for short). My only defense right now (aside from the aforementioned arm-flailing, screaming, running thing) is our atom-bomb wasp spray that covers everything in a smelly, oily, toxic napalm. I admit the stuff works, and I do enjoy watching the wasps (aka demons from hell) writhing in agony when they hit the ground after being liberally hosed with the stuff. But, I don’t enjoy the chemicals being liberally showered everywhere as a result of the ensuing battle. We need more weapons in our T.W.A.C arsenal.

Fly swatters and shoes have been put into action. These weapons work OK, but there are a couple of issues. First, wasps are most prevalent during the summer months. I am normally, blissfully, barefoot during the summer months. My feet thoroughly enjoy this time of release from winter captivity, and so shoes are not always at the ready. When I do happen to have shoes on my feet, they are usually in the form of cheap flip-flops and could hardly be classified as a weapon capable of inflicting any lethal form of blunt-force trauma.

Second, I do not make it a habit of keeping a fly swatter on my person at all times. And wasps are known to unleash hell at any given time. So, I am usually unarmed when an assault occurs. Not only that, but wasps, whom God has seen fit to grant an unnaturally tough tank-like shell coating to their bodies, are merely perturbed by the fly swatter. It just makes them mad. Well, mad-der. I think wasps have a perpetual chip on their creepy little winged shoulders.

What to do? I have read countless articles online, but most deal with just killing them once they are already there. There are lots of “natural solutions” to killing them, but again this is once they are already in residence. I want a permanent eviction notice. I don’t ever, ever, EVER want them to come back. Ever. This is a tall order, I know. But surely someone out there knows how to keep these pests from moving in. Especially in places like kids’ playhouses, greenhouses, horse trailers and garden sheds. We have a persistent family of midnight blue-colored wasps that builds a nest every year behind the spare tire and in the nose of my horse trailer. Every year we evict them … several times. But they come back again and again!

Wasp meme

Yes, I know they are beneficial pollinators, and they help take care of the nasty bug population, and “they won’t hurt you if you don’t hurt them.” Whatever. As far as I’m concerned, they are big bullies, and I just want some form of control over where they set up house. Specifically not anywhere in, around, or near MY house. So, anyone have any tried and true methods for me to add to my T.W.A.C arsenal? I’m declaring war.

diamondw
7/23/2014 1:21:54 PM

Thanks for the comments, guys! I also heard that applying oil to common nesting sites helps to curtail their building there. I was told baby oil works well, and it would be a more "natural" approach to keeping them at bay. I just hate opening the door to my horse trailer and beating a hasty (and panic-induced) retreat when I get dive-bombed! And Dave, I hear ya! I get buzzed every time I walk into my barn! They are particularly bad this year. Cshellz - I have started a crop of peppermint near my house in the hope that it will deter wasps from building in the eaves and around the deck. I plan on adding more herbs in the near future! Thanks for the advice!


nebraskadave
7/13/2014 10:23:11 AM

Jacqueline, I've only had one up close and personal encounter with a wasp. I was in the barn minding my own business of cleaning out the stalls when wham, it stung me right under the left eye. No nest in sight. No hive around. Just one lonely wasp out on a walk about. An hour later it started to swell and three hours later the whole side of my face was swollen and I could hardly see out of my left eye. It took three days for the swelling to recede back to normal. Since then, I've done my best to rid the world of wasp hives. Just the other day a neighbor came for help in destroying a wasp nest in the peak of her house. First a pole to knock down the hive was used. Then a climb up a ladder to spray down the area with wasp killer to keep them from coming back. I'm not sure what's in the wasp spray but once they get a whiff of it they are gone. They don't stick around to sting the sprayer. I'm not sure where they went but the neighbor was glad to have them gone. ***** Have a great wasp free day.


cshellz
7/10/2014 3:03:57 PM

Hi....Love your article and your visuals were SO ACCURATE!! So we had some here too...had a service come out and get rid of the construction of their evil condos on my exterior eaves and he sprayed. I do not as ar utle use chemicals or insectisides, but this is war. Was told if you spray/paint areas like that with Liquid Tide detergent--it keeps them away. I am thinking it must be done a few times a year. Spraying their nest after dark with tide and water is said to kill them also. So after they were gone, before they could set up NEW condos, I read that if you take a paper bag (about lunch size or whatever depending on the type of wasp homes in your area) Put some crumpled newspaper in it for stuffing, crumple the bag a bit too and shape it like a 'nest". Tie a string to close it and hang where they have had nests before--WHERE THEY SEE THEM. They are supposed to think there is a new nest there--and go elsewhere. I did this outside my main entry doors. FINGERS CROSSED...IT SEEMS GOOD. Also put Bounce fabric softener sheets outside on my screen doors.(on trash cans keeps critters out also) Change when the smell wears off. Also, pots of certain plants near doors (check internet) like Mint, thyme and others citronella--they smell it in the breeze and fly elsewhere! So far that is what I have done...check the internet too....eager to hear what others have done. Good luck...