Long pants and a hoodie sweatshirt on a 95-degree day?
You bet, if you’re trying to get rid of bees (just remember not to nab honeybees!).
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.
I hope you didn’t think that was our new sun protection solution! 😉 No, and in fact we’re always adding to our massive natural sunscreen review so that people can truly find the best non-toxic sunscreen out there…
Our Wasp Problem
I was doing some yardwork (I’m a lazy gardener but still have to spend some time out there!) when I realized that I kept hearing buzzing as I went in and out of the garage through the side door – imagine my surprise (and horror) to see a softball-sized wasp nest right above the door, with plenty of angry wasps swarming around! Yikes!
My husband immediately wanted to go buy some wasp spray, but I was determined that we could kill those wasps naturally. There had to be a way!
He tried to buy some toxic wasp spray too, but he was a half hour late for the local hardware store’s small-town closing time.
Providence, I thought.
A Natural Wasp Killer Spray (Bees Too)
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.
We knew it was a bad idea to kill honeybees, so we confirmed that we didn’t have cute little fuzzy things – no, definitely wasps.
Donning the proverbial wasp killing outfit, with his sweatshirt hood pulled up 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 spraying gave him an advantage over the 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:
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.
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) and for that reason is a very effective natural wasp killer.
It shouldn’t matter whether you use conventional or natural dishsoap – if it cuts grease, it will get your stinging enemies! But of course I’d recommend natural cleaners for your health and the environment whenever possible. We get our natural cleaning products from Grove Collaborative and never run out – automation at its best!!
Download this handy printable so you are prepared whenever wasps are near.
Should You Kill Honeybees?
There’s one huge caveat to this advice: Don’t kill honeybees.
If you actually have a honeybee hive rather than a wasp’s or hornet’s nest (or other kind of bee hive), 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.
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.
So please, identify your targets before you shoot. If they’re cute little honeybees, small and grey, like this one:
Call in an expert.
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), my post on getting rid of ants naturally is a treasure trove of information!!
I have plenty of personal experience with this one – 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! Watch me make non-toxic ant poison in less than a minute in this helpful video.
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to Amazon from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. Swagbucks will share “bucks” with me if you sign up using my link. Thanks! See my full disclosure statement here.