Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Natural Wasp Spray: We Got Rid of our Wasps, No Raid Required!

May 29th, 2013 · 126 Comments · Green Living, Tips

How to kill wasps and get rid of nests naturally - no chemical sprays :: via Kitchen Stewardship

Long pants and a hoodie on a 95-degree day?

You bet, if you’re trying to get rid of bees.

At least, we thought we were trying to get rid of bees, which is what we call everything that buzzes and threatens to sting, but really it’s most likely that we were aiming to get rid of a wasp nest.

Last summer we noticed a softball-sized wasp nest above our garage door, with plenty of angry wasps swarming around. My husband wanted to go buy some wasp spray, and he even tried but was a half hour too late for the local hardware store’s small-town closing time.

Providence, I thought. (top photo source)

A Natural Wasp Spray

How to kill wasps and get rid of nests naturally - no chemical sprays :: via Kitchen Stewardship

(photo source)

I was just certain my homemade insecticidal soap that we use to kill ants naturally would work awesome as a natural wasp killer, and after a little bit of Swagbucks searching which yielded positive results for soapy water killing bees, hornets and wasps, he agreed to try.

Donning the proverbial wasp killing outfit,  with his sweatshirt hood pulled upHose End Sprayer for Natural Wasp Killer Spray around his face, my husband wielded our weapon of choice: a hose-end sprayer filled with hot water and dishsoap. (image at right from Zoysia Farms)

I crossed my fingers as he exited the door, hoping I wouldn’t be eating foot for dessert. (As in, “Open mouth, insert foot,” because I was so very wrong.)

He returned in one piece and in awe.

“That was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen,” he stammered. “They just…died.”

He strongly emphasizes that the power of the water gave him an advantage over the bees wasps, who were stunned and then died before they could chase him.

Here’s our advice to you for getting rid of your wasp nest:

How to kill wasps and get rid of nests naturally - no chemical sprays :: via Kitchen Stewardship

(photo source)

This was probably about the size of ours above the door. Plenty scary enough!

  • Use a good amount of dishwashing liquid in a hose-end sprayer, about 1/4 cup.
  • Get the water going until the suds begin.
  • Blast the nest from as far away as you can be (bee? ha!) while still maintaining a powerful spray.
  • Do the deed in the evening (dusk or later) after all the wasps have come home for the night.
  • And wear long pants and sleeves, just in case…especially if you have low water pressure. Winking smile

The soapy water works, by the way, because insects of all kinds wear their skeletons on the outside. The cohesive property of water generally prevents the water from entering their exoskeleton, but soap breaks the surface tension of water. Soapy water ultimately drowns bees, wasps, hornets (and ants, if you’re battling them in the house).

Many readers reminded me that wasps are beneficial insects quite often, so make an educated decision about whether you need to get rid of a nest or not…

Should You Kill Honeybees?

How to kill wasps and get rid of nests naturally - no chemical sprays :: via Kitchen Stewardship

(photo source)

There’s one huge caveat to this advice: Don’t kill bees.

If you actually have a honeybee hive rather than a wasp’s or hornet’s nest, you should call a beekeeper, who will likely be happy to take the bees off your hands. They might to do it for free, since they benefit from having more bees in their stock.

UPDATE: If the beehive is difficult to get to (in a wall, for example), the beekeeper will likely ask for (and deserve) a removal fee. Far better to pay a beekeeper to do it right than an exterminator to do it halfway (and a beekeeper in the comments says an old hive with dead bees actually smells quite attractive to more bees…so an exterminator is only a temporary solution anyway.)

At this point in history, we’re in a bit of a honeybee crisis – they’re dying in droves and puzzling scientists and beekeepers, and the state of our food supply is at risk. Wasps can also pollinate and even kill pesky insects in your garden, so if their hive isn’t in a dangerous location, leave them alone, too.

No bees, no pollination, no food.

So please, identify your targets before you shoot. If they’re cute little honeybees, small and grey, like this one:

How to kill wasps and get rid of nests naturally - no chemical sprays :: via Kitchen Stewardship

(photo source)

Don’t shoot.

Call in an expert.

More on the honeybee population crisis here.

Picnic Pests?

How to kill wasps and get rid of nests naturally - no chemical sprays :: via Kitchen Stewardship

(photo source)

Just like wasps and bees can be pests at a picnic, those little black ants aren’t always my friends either.

If you’re dealing with ants in the kitchen (or other rooms in your house), I’ve just updated my post on getting rid of ants naturally now that we’ve battled them in 2013.

Let’s just say I was working late one night and looked down to see 200 ants under my computer desk. Eck. Luckily, I knew what to do, and I learned a few new tricks too! Click here for all the gory details…

What are you best tricks to battle the insects that infiltrate your house – without all the nasty chemicals?

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126 Comments so far ↓

  • Katie

    I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE any advice for cockroaches! We have a horrible problem in our apartment. We are actually moving soon, but we are worried about bringing our little friends with us (we have found them inside our dining room table, inside the frames of the pictures on our dining room walls . . . it’s awful). One person advised that we put all questionable belongings in a trailer and bomb it, but I am hesitant due to the nasty chemicals. Is there a less toxic way to get rid of cockroaches? I would hate to bring them with us. Thanks, KS readers!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Oof, I feel your pain! Heebie jeebies to the max!

    I’ve heard that cockroaches will survive a nuclear explosion…so…I don’t know of any advice for you, BUT check out the comment on this post with the herbs used to get rid of all sorts of insects. Who knows, maybe sachets of lavender, peppermint, bay leaves, mint, or the proper combination of those would keep the roaches out of your table and stuff…blech. There’s got to be an answer out there…

    Good luck! :) Katie

    Dianna Reply:

    what can a person use if they don’t have an attachment sprayer to go on a sprayer hose?

    Helen Reply:

    A garden sprayer might do the trick!
    Helen, Kitchen Stewardship

    Jeff Reply:

    I go out at dawn while the wasps on the nest are still asleep. I can knock the nest down gently and step on each wasp that comes down with it. No poison. No hose. The wasps are quite sleepy and docile, so no stings. Go out a few weeks in a row and you won’t have an issue. They’ll find somewhere else to make their nests and lay their eggs.

    Cliff Reply:

    I used a cup of very soapy water and “caught” the nest in the cup with all the wasps in it and held it over the nest that was on the wall on my porch. I don’t know how quickly they died but u held it there for a full five minutes just to make sure.

    Christine Reply:

    Food grade diatomaceous earth! For any indoor pests. Sprinkle it wherever they are. Won’t hurt pets, non toxic. Just don’t breathe the dust into your lungs while sprinkling. We get ours online from Earthworks.

    Cathi Reply:

    You can find diatomaceous earth at pool supply stores as well.

    Laura Reply:

    Just don’t use that kind if you have toddlers or pets because it’s not safe to eat (totally different form~don’t remember the details).

    christine hickey Reply:

    I order a big jug of diatomaceous earth at amazon, reasonable and fee shipping. I aprinkl whole house (wearing a mask) then vacuum next day. dog hasnt had fleas for years, so I dont have to poison his lil system to get rid of them.
    met my match with fuzzy black bees living in cement crack right outside my front door. d earth doesnt work. reg poison spray doesnt work. cant even open door. help!

    Tammy Reply:

    We lived in an apartment that had them severely. We tried borax, bombs, spraying regularly, nothing worked. until one of the local exterminators put out this bait for them that worked like a charm. It is put into a syringe type of thing and put right along the edge of places they go, like right above the sink where it meets the backsplash and such. It does not get all over everything, doesn’t spread, doesn’t wipe away, doesn’t get into food or on dishes. It is brown and not attractive, but the bugs think it is food and take it back to the nest to share. They all die. We had zero problems after that. I do think we bug bombed when he first put it out, but that only killed what live ones there were, not their offspring. That bug bait really did the trick. The other problem with bug bombs – it just sends them somewhere else temporarily, then they spread and still come back, not to mention coating everything you own with nasty chemicals.
    I know this is not an “all natural” solution, but roaches will eat pretty much anything to survive, skin, hair, etc., so you need something that will actually poison them and all those in their nest without threatening your family and little ones you may have.

    Also, Katie, RE: wasps, if you have them in the house, any household spray can knock them down or kill them. They breathe through their exoskeleton, so if they are coated in something, they will die. You can spray them enough to knock them down, and try to throw them out of a window without getting stung, but that only works about half the time or less. I have used Pam, hairspray, and Dow Bathroom Cleaner (my personal favorite) to get rid of them. They don’t always die with the Dow (it’s just liquid lye), so sometimes I can just debilitate them enough so they cannot fly at me and scoop them out the window so they do not sting me or my children. (I really don’t like having to kill them, but if it is my children or the wasp, the wasp loses. If it stings me while I’m trying to be nice, the wasp loses.) (We live in an 1880′s farm house that had gaps that were in various areas letting in wasps. So far, no wasps in the house for the second year in a row knock on wood – after using spray foam to fill those gaps on the outside of the house.)

    Beth Carney Reply:

    Combat Gell. I had an exterminator tell me it was the same stuff he used. Looks like a giant syringe. Can get it at Wal-mart. Use it around and under sinks , both kitchen and bathroom, around the tub or shower and toilet. anywhere
    close to water. Also can be used in food pantry without cnotaminating food. This is the only thing I can use because I am allergic to all the sprays and foggers.

    Cara Reply:

    The hairspray works great on red wasps but the ones with yellow and black-I call them yellow jackets-doesn’t work so well. They will keep coming at you! So far am having to use Raid type product if they get in the house. I would love to know something to knock those suckers down quick that’s non-toxic.

    DJ Reply:

    For years we have used a great spray bottle that I got at some little supply place that I just happened to see. It is made by Johnson Wax Proffessional Grade. I fill it with water and a little dish soap. I stick the nozzle out of the barely opened front door and spray with the nozzle set to stream…works everytime. The nozzle can be set to spray mist for flying things in the house. I really love being able to use this non-toxic spray for anything I can’t catch and take outside!
    Luckily we don’t have roaches very often, but last night I saw one of those big ones in my pantry, grabbed my sprayer and sprayed it. It took a second spraying to work, but I’m so glad to not have to worry about our food or the babies that might have come from that big ole roach!

    Ann Burnett Reply:

    I got rid of around 50 mad wasps and a big nest by using the ideas from this website. I only had a spray bottle full of soap and water. Make sure you wear a hat with a protective net, a coat and long pants with shoes. Put tape on your gloves/sleeves to close any gaps. I just did this and recommend it highly. :)

    lola R, Josey Reply:

    Indian meal moths have been in the house for over a year…I’ve become a good “clapper” but a spray of high in lacquer hair spray stops the wing action and they drop to the floor where you can stomp them. Can’t use moth balls or spray inside but open to ideas

    Marti Criswell Reply:

    When I moved from a roach infested apt. I put a Combat disc in every box I packed. It worked!

    Heather Strong Reply:

    There is a chart from doTERRA essential oils that says to mix 8 ounces of water, 1/2 teaspoon of natural soap, and 12 drops of eucalyptus oil in a spray and shake frequently during application to keep them from plants. Maybe it’ll work for your home too. I’ve also heard you can put a couple drops of the eucalyptus oil on cotton balls and place them around the house to deter roaches.

    michelle Reply:

    Diatomaceous earth- amazing stuff! It comes in a powder and you just sprinkle it around, I suggest food grade for indoor use especially if you have pets, children, or will be treating in the kitchen. Put lines in areas the roaches (or ants, or any insect) will cross and it will basically stick to them and injure their exoskeletons. They dont die right away, they dehydrate so you will see them more at first, but they also track the diatomaceous earth to their nest. Completely non toxic, edible for humans and pets (if food grade) and you can use it just about anywhere.

    Just don’t breathe in the dust, it might hurt your lungs, but once its settled its fine.

    Becky Reply:

    I LOVE DE!!! I add food-grade DE to my dogs’ food (even the baby pups, as soon as they start eating solid food) to prevent intestinal parasites, and use it in my own morning tea, both to prevent any parasites I might get off the lips of the dogs before they are swallowed, and to add valuable trace minerals to my diet. I’ve used DE for several years, and find it works SUPER well to eradicate ants and other crawling bugs in the house. I sprinkle it along the walls in cupboards and closets, especially wherever I see the bugs. It works well outdoors, too, spread in a thin line around the perimeter of the house, as well as dusted on garden plants, flowers, and houseplants, to eliminate slugs, caterpillars, aphids, etc. Buy it in bulk (up to 50-lb. sacks) at your local feed-store, but make sure it’s human-food-grade, pure white powder. What’s sold as anti-caking additives for animal feeds is usually mixed with bentonite clay or something else. Do NOT use the DE for swimming pool filters – it’s a totally different item and NOT safe to use for anything except for pools. DE works by mechanical action, as it is microscopic particles of silica (glass) that slice both the exoskeletons and insides of various bugs and worms (but not earthworms), then because it is hydrophilic (“loves water”), it attracts and absorbs all their body fluids, causing them to dry out and die. It does not adversely affect any animals, birds or fish – just bugs, parasitic worms, slugs, etc.

    daniela Reply:

    bees are valuable and precious!! Wasps are very different from bees!

    T. Foster Reply:

    You could also try food grade diatomaceous earth. Non toxic. It will dehydrate insects that come in contact with it.

    Judy Johnson Reply:

    My dad is retired pesticide and the best thing for roaches is Borax powder (not the laundry kind). You can get it at any home supply store and some grocery stores and big box stores. You cut the tip off and make a path where they will have to cross it on their way to look for food, etc and when they cross it, it gets on their feet. They lick their feet and it causes their bellies to swell and kill them.

    Jan Reply:

    Borax is the best for getting rid of roaches, and keeping them gone. And, it’s cheap

    Stacy Reply:

    My sister had a roach problem in her apartment and landlord wouldnt do anything even tho they were all through the apts there apparantly someone who moved in brought some and within weeks her little kids had them crawling on them. I wouldve blew it up but anyways i researched everything and found one that worked amazing. Pie tins with 50/50 mix of sugar and borax. It destroys them internally and is passed onto others and larvae. After a week they were gone! I hope it works for you! Goodluck

    rhonda Reply:

    keep in mind it has to be powdered sugar, not table sugar. The granulated sugar is not fine enough to fully combine with the borax so most will get their meal and not the poison.

    lola R, Josey Reply:

    Here on the island roaches are a part of living here but my most effective method is putting out Harris roach tablets periodically and spraying entryways outside heavily.

    Toni Reply:

    My mother-in-law always said to use 20 mule team borax in small containers around the area.

    Kathy K Reply:

    I’ve had great luck with both boric acid and food-grade diatomaceous earth. It takes a bit of time because both products break down the exoskeleton. Just sprinkle either product (or both if you really mean it) behind your stove, refrigerator, and any other furniture that is against the wall; under beds and couches; and between the baseboards and the wall all over your house. I sprinkle it around the perimeters of my garage as well. Neither product is viciously poisonous to humans–food-grade DE is used to sweeten an animal’s breath and rid it and its human owner of fleas and internal parasites. Boric acid is used as an eye wash in some instances. I wouldn’t want either product around children or a delicate pet, but they will take care of your roaches in time.

    TommyCM72 Reply:

    Combat gel works great. You will need at least two tubes.

    Becky Milota Reply:

    We used Borax mixed with some flour in the bottom of all our packing boxes and tubs. Any that may have been in hitching a ride, were dead by the time we unpacked. Using tubs to pack made it easier and kept out more of them. If they’re in any electric appliances you may have a problem.

    cindy root Reply:

    Boric acid , its a powder you can put behind the cabinets and refrigerator. Not toxic to humans, pets you may want to keep where they cant get to it, some say their pets got sick from it but I dont know why they would eat it. It is really cheap. Dollar general used to carry it for $2 a quart bottle. With in 2 days they were completly gone. Exterminators spray and it lasted only for a week or so and they were back. This they were gone in 2 days and didnt come back.

    VickyA Reply:

    Combat paste works well. Found it at Walmart. Farm supply places should carry it too. It comes in a syringe and you put it in the places roaches like to hide in one inch strips. I moved into a remodeled house (in Oklahoma) that didn’t show signs of bugs. Soon after though, I found that they were coming over from the house (trash pit) next door. Shortly after the application though, all bugs were history. I lived there for two years and never saw another bug of any kind, not even a spider inside the house.

    If you want a truly all natural way of getting rid of the…get a couple of skinks and turn them loose in the house. A skink is a lizard that doesn’t get very big and keeps to itself. You can buy them at PetSmart or a reptile store. You may occasionally see it sunning in the window but that’s about it. I had one “move in with me” when I lived in a wooded area of NE Florida. I couldn’t catch it to put it out. But after a few days the population of bugs in the house was noticeably diminished so I left it alone. Don’t let the kids or the cat play with them though. They can bite.

    Shawn Kovac Reply:

    when u move and need to get rid of any critters, move in the winter and leave stuff outside for a good freeze. that kills cockroaches, fleas, bedbugs, etc. i know diatomaceous earth is great against flees, but i don’t know what other insects it is good against.

    i fail to understand how dishsoap is free from chemicals.but i’d rather use dishsoap than a worse poison.

  • ValerieB

    Perfect timing on this post! We fight wasps every year and I’m so sick of having pest control come out and spray toxic gunk around the house (and we STILL have wasps). Thanks!

  • Jessica T

    Neat that just soap and water will work! I hate the chemical stuff being sprayed. We get wasps and yellow jackets. They love the south side of the house, we have no trees so it is nice and hot for them. We have to keep our eyes open for nests all summer long. We found one in our bbq on Monday. Really hate these bugs. :(

    Love the honey bees though and make sure we all leave them be. :)

    Tina Comer Reply:

    I dumped Two lg. bottles off Ivory dish soap in a wasp hive in the ground and then followed by to pans of hot water that was after I sprayed three can of wasp and hornet spray next day they were still coming out .these are the mean ones that bite and sting.boyfriend got the lawn mower to cut the plants away to get a clear eye on the hole.he got bit 8 times .we had 4 of these hives and enough is enough so poured about a cup of dissel fuel in each hole put a rock over the hole now that was magic cause there gone .We had enough we had been fighting them for almost three months trying everything.We did get a lot in traps but there were just to many of them

  • Lori

    We had a terrible problem with ants and the only thing that worked is smashing a ton of them and keaving them where I killed them. Within 24 hours the whole trail would be gone. It has worked every time!

  • Tsandi Crew

    I’m so glad you said to call beekeepers to remove bees. We are in a critical situation with them.
    I know what a pest wasps can be, and I know they have to be killed in certain circumstances, but they do have a purpose. It might help if garbage cans and dumpsters were covered.
    Spraying poisons should be the very last thing to do because sprays don’t stay in the air or only spray the insects. When it seeps into the soil, it kills the organisms there. Without those organisms the soil dies. That said, there comes a time when we have tried everything to dissuade wasps and just must spray. Remove their nests so they don’t come back and require more spray.

  • Lisa

    Ants do not like cinnamon. If you sprinkle cinnamon around you won’t find ants. I’ve been using it for years. Spiders don’t like peppermint. You don’t need chemicals to have a pest free home/yard. =)

  • Lily

    Two things:

    1) Wasps are not all bad. There are many species which are predatory on harmful pests in your garden and some which are pollinators in their own right. While we remove wasps nests that are near entrances to our home, we try not to take an all-or-nothing approach to wasp value.

    2) As a beekeeper I have to take exception to your statement that we should do hive removals for free. There are certainly some hives that are located in relatively easy to access locations that do not require a great deal of time or skill or equipment to remove and for those you may find a beekeeper who won’t charge for the removal. But if you have bees in a wall or in some other hard to access spot, removal can take a significant amount of time and equipment to remove properly. I can assure you, it would be more financially reasonable for me to purchase a hive-start for $65 than to spend 6+ hours at your house taking bees out of a wall, after which they may or may not choose to stick around in the nice hive box home we’ve provided. If you’re considering paying a pest-control company to come out and kill them [Which, aside from the issue of killing honeybees, they often do not do a complete job - spraying frequently does not reach all portions of the hive. And they usually don't actually remove the hive, which means in the future other bees will smell that old hive and decided it looks like a *lovely* home.], why not pay a beekeeper to do the removal with minimal bee deaths?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Thank you so much for the information and lesson. ;) I had a reader comment last year when I talked about the wasp killing (calling them bees) that most beekeepers remove for free, so I was just going with that. I’ll update the post with these notes! :) Katie

    Tammy Reply:

    Lily brought up another excellent point – dirt dobbers (they look like blue wasps that build dirt nests instead of “paper” ones), should not be killed. They are totally non-aggressive and kill black widows. They are the black widow’s only natural enemy. They debilitate them and take them back to the nest, putting it in with the egg. When the egg hatches, the larva eats the black widow spider as its food source until it becomes a full-grown dirt dobber.
    Note: Just because they are non-aggressive does not mean to hold one or anything. My husband did not see one once and put his hand on one. His hand swelled twice its normal size in reaction – much worse than a wasp. Normally they won’t sting. They don’t swarm or come after anyone. They only sting in self-defense.

  • Robin AKA GoatMom

    Florida is terrible for bugs of all types but moving to rural N. FL over a decade ago was eye opening for ants! They were a problem everywhere in the house not just the kitchen. Drove me crazy along with a moth and bug issues in the pantry and FLY’s! I found basil planted around the house and potted by the doors repelled the fly’s. I put lavendar and mint sachets in all my closets, drawers, no more ants. The sachets plus bay leaves in the pantry ended the moth and bug problems. A nice side effect is the pleasant smell! I use DE on ant mounts and vineagar, soap spray too. The ant mounds usually just move so is a never ending job but the chemicals only did the same thing, so still a win.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    That is very cool, Robin. I’m going to add these notes to the ant post if you don’t mind! Thanks!! :) Katie

    DJ Reply:

    Someone I know had good success with getting rid of fire ant piles in their backyard – put a shovel of ants from one mound onto another mound. As far as I know, the ants have not come back.

  • Sharon

    All good. The only thing that I would add is to kill the wasps in the nest after dark when they are asleep and the bees won’t come after you.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Great addition, Sharon! :) Katie

  • Donna

    I love that you give the science behind why it works. I’m always curious about that.
    Thanks for the tip on this!
    We get wasps every year, but luckily none so far this year. *knock on wood* Now I know how to deal with them if they do come =o)

  • Julia @

    Iowa beekeeper here, and yes! call one of us. And know that every situation is different. You may be charged for working on cutouts or trapouts, where bees have a hive in a building or tree, or for mileage if you’re far away. Both require extra resources from the keeper. I have no issue with free removal of most swarms, but truthfully have to say that some cutouts are a LOT of work.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Good to know, thanks for chiming in! :) Katie

  • jill

    Sadly we can never find anyone to take bees and the cost of removal is way too high so most people around here kill them. We once found some monks to come collect them, but they don’t do it anymore.

    Julia @ Reply:

    Jill, I’m sorry to hear that. I don’t know what beekeeping groups are in your area, but I saw that you are in/near Riverside Co., CA. Timing and location may be issues for keepers in your area. If you can reach a “migrant keeper,” I know one in particular from IA, before winter and if you can wait, he could be able to work your hive into his schedule. On the other hand, if your location is remote and the hive is small or you can’t tell if you have honeybees, it may not be worthwhile for a keeper to come out.

    jill Reply:

    In oceanside. The hive inside a wall we had to kill. We left them for weeks but they were getting aggressive and I’m allergic. My husband was stung several times dealing with it and we felt horrible knowing the state of bees in America. It took days to deal with, little by little sealing up the wall. We could smell it, an odd smell. We do have monks who will sometimes come get them. We just recently had another hive and the how was going to come kill them so we took matters into our own. Husband shook the branch and tried to get the queen to move on. Took three attempts, and they finally moved on, thank goodness. We are an hour south of riverside.

  • Danielle

    I understand your desire to protect your family from wasp stings, but most species of wasps are considered beneficial insects, just like bees. They are great allies in the natural garden, and generally not aggressive. Fascinating video of one of their uses, if you’re interested (from a “permaculture” youtube channel):

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Makes sense! I mentioned on FB that I would ignore them if they weren’t in a super hazardous position, like on our deck or in a doorway like these guys. Thanks! :) Katie

  • Danielle

    Whoops, I didn’t mean for the video to pop right up here in your comments! Sorry about that – I just thought you might be interested!

    Erica Reply:

    Danielle, I’m glad it did pop up. The window for the video isn’t full sized, so I went to youtube and watched it plus a whole bunch of other videos. Thanks!


  • Sharron via Facebook

    Bay leaves.

  • Angela via Facebook

    Peppermint oil

  • Jackie via Facebook

    We have them outside….we feed the two cats that “moved in” with us 10 years ago (Cleopatra was “dumped”, expecting kittens and starving – we kept one after it was not adopted, both fixed) so they visit the cat food once in awhile. I bought a 50 lb bag of Diatomaceous Earth off Ebay for $50.00, best deal I could find. I sprinkle this all around the porch, and they HATE IT. Also around the wood pile at the end of the yard, in the garage, shed, etc.

  • Juniper

    Thanks! That’s great! I made some home made cleaning spray with vinegar, water and essential oils. I had a wasp’s nest out my front door. It wasn’t very big. I sprayed it carefully with this mixture. They all died or left. When they were gone, I knocked down the nest. They started to rebuild, so I sprayed the stuff on the spot where the nest had been, where they were rebuilding, and they never came back.

  • Julia @

    I just cutout a hive from a wall this morning. Take a look:

  • Tiffany

    Thank you, Katie and everyone, for all the wasp tips. We have problems every year. Does anyone know how to get rid of house centipedes? I think they’re also known as Mediterranean centipedes? Anyway, these guys are disturbing. They’re big and look prehistoric. I know they eat spiders and such but I also know they can bite and I have 3 small children at home. I hate using Raid because of the fumes and general unnaturalness of it. Anyone?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Read through the comments at this post and the ant post – there are lots of good oil and herb ideas for pests! One of them has to work; those sound nasty…

    Fifi Reply:

    Lol i am like you and get creeped out by house centipedes as well. Yes they can bite, but dont do much damage with their bite so I would not worry so much. I know curiousity wins out for children, so it is not easy to get them to not touch the bug.
    The reason i would advocate not killing them is they are not just spider eaters, they also eat cave crickets, termites and roaches. They usually scurry away, which gives me the chills, or if we have to we will vaccuum them up. If you have an infestation of some sort, then I would see about calling someone. I read that high humidity in the home attaracts them and you can caulk areas around drainpipes and foundation.

  • Lily

    Thank you for posting this! The same day I read this, I came home to find a wasp taking up residence on the door of my chicken coop. Soapy water worked like a charm.

  • Janet

    I was so happy to see this, I have a wasp nest starting in my garage. We leave the door open for our dogs and we have sparrows, nesting in the rafters with their babies. I didnt want to use poisons, but we can’t leave the nest there with our kids, the neighbours kids and our 2puppies running in and out all day-right under the nest. By the way, we know why the honeybees are dying. GMO’s.

    VickyA Reply:

    Glad you said GMO’s. Thought I was the only one thinking about that. I just read recently that the GMO’s are actually … “modified?”… not to reproduce from their own seed. That way people and co-ops that are planting them must buy new seeds every year. No saving seeds to plant next year from the GMO crops. What have we gotten ourselves into?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Not sure if the seeds themselves “can’t” reproduce, but the seeds are copyrighted (or some such legal term) by Monsanto such that it’s illegal for farmers to plant GM seeds if they haven’t bought directly from Monsanto. Either way…”what are we getting ourselves into???”


    El Reply:

    Yes, many GMO crops are modified for the seeds to be sterile. That is one huge reason why GMOs are so dangerous; they can cross pollinate with non-GMO crops, threatening our food security.

    In the case of bee deaths, however, I wouldn’t necessarily blame GMOs. Neonicitinoid pesticides have been demonstrated to kill bees. Pesticides in general weaken bees immune systems, making them more susceptible to the parasites that have been responsible for many deaths. Colony Collapse Disorder is probably one of the Top Three (defintely TopTen) most pressing issues of our time, yet the US government refuses to create science based legislation to protect our food supply and retailers like Home Depot and Lowes continue to sell products treated with bee killing chemicals yet marketed as “bee friendly” plants becaise bees are attracted to them, thus killing even more bees. It is so aggressively stupid it seems deliberate.

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  • Mika

    What about carpenter bees? We have them on our front porch, and even though I know they won’t sting unless tampered with, they freak my kids out bad (especially when they dive bomb them!). I really hate to kill them, because they DO pollinate, but short of completely redoing our porch which is NOT in the budget right now, I have no idea what to do.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    I wish I had an answer for you, but I’m clueless. :( Katie

    Kitty Reply:

    Seven dust will kill them, get the powder form, sprinkle it in the evening in and around the hive and on any flowers/bushes that they like. You may have to do it a few nights in a row but it will work.

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  • ronda verbeek

    I have a wasp nest in my intake for my furnace I think( just moved in to the house) covered it with mesh and am hoping for the best. I am going to try the vinegar mixer as well . hope that that works

  • Kitty

    I’ve had bees, honey bees, on 3 different occassions, twice under my shed in the backyard and once in the wall on the front porch. Each time I called local beekeepers to see if they wanted to come get the bees, I posted on their webpages and on their fb pages> I only got a response once and he lived to far to come get them. Florida now has a problem with the Africanized Honey Bees so beekeepers are reluctant to collect bees now. I hated to do it but I had no choice but to kill them b/c I could not take the chance that they were Africanized bees, I have kids and animals to worry about.

  • Shari Williams

    Your google link said I would find something they take back to their nest. We do not know where the nest is, but the yellow wasps dive at us in the pool (and land on it) up until 7 at night. We cannot ask all these neighbors to let us look in their yards when the nest might even be underground. Why did your link say that. We are desperate.

    Helen Reply:

    Hi Shari,

    Several commenters have mentioned using Combat Gel or diatomaceous earth as poisons that bugs can carry back to their nests.

    Helen, Kitchen Stewardship

  • peggy

    I’ve got stinging insects whose nest have caused the eaves to drop..I told the landlord to remove the nests when the insects are still dormant..I don’t want dead bugs lying around from pesticides because I also have chickens that might eat them & of course I don’t want my peeps ill. Of course he sent a peon to do the work, which was never now the eaves are interfering with opening the back door. I think I will firmly suggest he use the soapy water method..thanks for the suggestion..

  • Lingke

    This is awesome. Thank you so much for posting this. I hate Raid and dislike the fact that we resort to harmful chemicals for just about anything these days… Great to see a solution that doesn’t require that!

  • Judy Johnson

    My dad is retired pesticide and he always used Lemon Joy as it has more surfactant than the other dish soaps and that causes the soap to stick better to what you are spraying. The soap actually dislvoes the exoskeletan causing the insect to die as the exoskeletan is their protection from elements. It will work on most bugs and some ants as well. I use a good sprayer (like the kind you buy for general purpose in the toiletry sections of stores or the bigger bottles located in the gardening sections) unscrewing the nozzle to where there is a good stream (usually 15-20 feet) and use that for wasp nest.

  • denise giardina

    We have had 2 beehives in our backyard this summer, and I had several beekeepers promptly respond to my offer on freecycle ( for a free beehive. This was a great way to find the beehive hobbyists locally. There are many more out there than those that advertise since beekeeping may not be legal in some areas.

  • denise giardina

    Oh, and I used the “dish-soap-in-the-hose-end-sprayer” technique tonight (without sweatshirt or shoes, silly me) for the wasp nest above our front door…It worked! THANK YOU!!

  • Bill

    We have been plagued with wasps and bald head hornets all summer. Wasp traps just seemed to make the problem worse. Can’t get to the nests cause they are so high in trees. Now that it is late summer, would DE + sugary water or some kind of fruit mixed and made available to them to take back to the nest to kill new queens work?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Bill, I wish I knew! It would at least be a cheap experiment as DE isn’t that expensive… ??? :) Katie

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  • Lynne

    I am having trouble with Wasp’s but there is no nest, they are hanging out at my mailbox. Mailman said if I did not get rid of them he would have to stop delivering my mail..I’ve tried everything the store has but they all say for nest’s, what can I do to get rid of wasp’s were there is no nest?

    Tammy Reply:

    Are there any flowering plants near the mailbox that could attract them? Perhaps removing those could help. I don’t know if planting marigolds or other types of plants that dissuade insect pests might be beneficial in that area.

    Lynne Reply:

    Thank you. I was cleaning my yard this morning cutting down dead plants and by the fence near the mailbox I was cutting the flowers down and a swarm of bees came at me so I am waiting till tonight to finish cutting them down and going to try the hot water and dish soap idea.

    Sherry Reply:

    Stuff (1) Bounce sheet IN your mailbox, puncture a hole through the middle of another sheet of Bounce and push the mail lever through it, and if there is any room underneath the box itself, tape a Bounce sheet under it, and/or thread it anywhere near the mounting base. This worked for me!!! I’m sure some will ask if the USPS regulations allow “Bounce In Your Box”, however, my local carrier was extremely thankful she did not have to deal with the bees anymore!!! Good Luck!

  • Amanda yancey

    What is the best way to kill wasp nests that are inside of a huge bush that you can’t see?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Amanda, Tough one! This method might work with a really, really strong hose because the water should get where your eyesight can’t..but it’s a risk. Be ready to run! Good luck, :) Katie

  • Robin

    It works better in a spray canister you use for spraying weeds. They usually come in a 2 gallon sprayer, 1 cup cheap dish soap to one gallon of water doesn’t have to be hot. you can adjust the nozzle to spray about 10 feet. Still works best in the morning when it is cool.

  • maah

    Anyone know of a good repellent for lizards? Got them in my solar system and they damage it. Thank you.

    Joshua Skrzynski Reply:

    Use lemon based oil, spray every 3 to four weeks. smells good to us, not to them. If it doesn’t work then the solution is too weak.

  • Carol

    Do any of these remedies work on ground wasps? They have spread all over our lawn—can’t even go outside once they start getting active.

    Joshua Skrzynski Reply:

    Ground wasps are a bit of a ‘toughy’. I’ve never read of a way to save and remove them both. So if someone has a better idea please chime in.
    The best thing I’ve come across is wait until the sun is low or gone completely and place read translucent tape over a flash light (less alarming to them) place a piece of screen over the exits (make sure you identify all exits by observing during the day) then take boiling hot water and pour it SLOWLY down the hole(s). Please make sure they aren’t HONEY BEES. There is genetically spliced seeds that manufacture their own pesticide that the Honey bees get into that is making honey hives collapse and die. It is a very realy problem and honey bees are very crucial to the food production in our world. Find a local bee keeper if they are on your property and they will remove them for you.

  • Susanna

    I use diatomaceous earth on all pests with a exoskeleton. This includes but is not limited to wasps, fleas, ticks, ants, roaches, beetles or any bug with a crunchy outer “shell”. It’s natural, can be used around children and animals and it works wonders. Hope this helps.

  • Jennifer

    I have mahogany wasps.. those i know what they are…

    I am extremely allergic.. and they have made homes behind all of our shutters.. and on our shed.. around all doors.. they have been getting into the house in odd places.. the bathroom.. the kitchen.. just weird places..

    we also have hornets.. i’m not sure their technical name.. I know i’ve found some pretty impressive mud tubes in the back behind our shed.. and i’ve seen a hornet taking a lizard into a crack in our driveway… thats a scary thought they eat lizards..

    i rent this house.. so i can’t do anything permanent.. and my landlord takes months to do anything.. I’m going to try the soap water.. does it matter the soap? i have dawn.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Dawn will do great, Jennifer, but man – wear a ton of thick clothing and make sure you can shoot them good! Yikes!! :) Katie

  • momof5

    anyone have suggestions for carpenter bees? they are destroying my soffits, my kids playset, my fence, my deck, etc.
    i have never been able to find any effective deterrent or preventative or even something that kills them.
    they don’t sting (that i’m aware of) but the bore into any wooden structure, lay eggs, and destroy it like termites. and worse, the mom and all her babies will come back to the same exact location they were born in (like internal gps) and have more babies! yikes!
    i’ve read they avoid oil-based paints so i suppose i could paint everything, but i’m hoping there is a less expensive and less labor intensive solution!

    Tammy Reply:

    Try ammonia. My dad said that’s what he sprayed into a wall that was completely infested with honey bees when he was an exterminator. (Be covered head to toe and prepared to run.) They flew out of there so fast and never came back. It’s cheap, easy, won’t hurt the bees, and is not a toxic chemical that will do you or your family harm in this form. Do not mix it with soap, though, or bleach.

    I’m looking at using it as a deterrent on our storage shed as wasps are coming in to build nests in there. I just don’t want it to draw the cats in to do their business there, so I’m having to weigh that at this time and figure out the best way to make that work. Moth balls may be another option for us to consider.



    Tassi Hendricks Reply:

    If you put a shallow pan of water with a few drops of dishwashing liquid under a plug with a nightlight at night the fleas go to the light and hop right in. ( I use dawn mostly, but others work)

    Laura Reply:

    Sprinkle diatomaceous earth all over the carpet and everywhere you see them. It will look gross but leave it. They will dehydrate and die. We use this stuff for roaches and ants too. I haven’t dealt with fleas but it works on all insects by cutting their shells and causing them to get dehydrated. Only buy food grade so you don’t have to worry about the grandkids. I’ve bought it at feed stores but I’ve had to call around to find the right stuff. We used it along with other things to get rid of some type of mite or chiggers on our chickens. Hope this helps! I like the nightlight idea too though.

  • Jane Benge

    OMG that soapy water in the sprayer worked amazingly. Thank you!!! My husband was dressed like a kamakazi pilot!!! No stings!!!

  • Kathy

    Thank you all for all of the non-toxic tips!
    If someone could help me with some ideas on removing yellow jackets & their nest from a door way overhang that is also housing a nest of purple finches; the nests are about 6 inches away from each other, and I do not want to harm the babies or drive away the parents.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Yikes, Kathy, that’s tricky…birds don’t take very long to grow up and leave the nest, so that might be your best bet? Katie

    Sherry Reply:

    Kathy, I had a similar situation last year in my back yard. Because I’m severely allergic to bee stings (wasp, hornet, yellow jacket, etc.). I chose to hire a professional to remove the yellow jacket nest – best money I’ve ever spent!

  • Lin

    Even more benign for repelling wasps is a lantern type fake wasp hive. They are sold in feed/hardware stores for about 2 for $6 and made by FMI Brands Inc. (888) 514-1663. Hang them near where you will be outside– wasps are very territorial and will avoid a competing hive.

    JP Reply:

    Lin, not sure how good the competitive hives would work. I have at least four different varieties of stinging insects in one soffit; including wasps (yellow jackets and black), dirt diggers, etc. I’m going to try ammonia, if it doesn’t take care of it, then I guess I’ll resort to soapy water.

    Catherine Reply:

    I read on that hanging a brown paper bag will also act as a deterrent to wasps looking for a place to put their nest. Saves money, too!

  • Sharon

    Even better!! Use a household spray bottle filled with a mixture of water, 1/4 – 1/3 cup dish soap and 11 or 12 drops of Peppermint Oil! Spray this mixture on anything the wasps are nesting in and not only will it kill the inhabitants it will keep them from returning! I was about to throw away a treasured garden ornament that had become infested when I discovered this solution! It is tried, tested and TRUE!!!

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.