Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wasps: A case for harmful pesticides

Riley has a man-boob very much like Harv's, and almost identical to the one that has (pictured right). He'd had a botulism shot Friday and I feared a bad reaction to the shot. Then, a few nights after I noticed the giant lump on his neck, I was turning Harv and Riley out and...

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Some wasps have apparently set up shop in the gate to their pasture. I was stung, and suspect Riley was too at some point in the last few days.

Another barn worker,  a young girl more experienced in the ways of wasp control, showed me how she eradicates the wasps. Wielding a nearly-empty can of insect spray, she follows these steps:
  1. Kick the gate hard once or twice.
  2. Spray like mad.
  3. Run away.
  4. Repeat until all wasps are dead.
I admired her courage but  no way am I doing that, and besides she ran out of spray before the wasps were gone.

 I reported the problem to the barn owner, a retired lawyer in his seventies. He  promptly dispatched his brother to take care of it. The brother (Joe) used the same procedure as my friend the barn worker. He was surprisingly athletic in step 3. Seeing that spectacle twice in one night--wasp control across the lifespan -- qualifies as entertainment in my world.

Bob my husband got stung biking over the weekend when a wasp flew right into his v-neck shirt. We have matching sting lumps. I think it has brought us closer.


  1. Ouch! I am sort of on "live and let live" terms with bees (as long as they don't nest somewhere like the gate!), but wasps are NASTY! They join the ranks of mosquitoes and horseflies -- SMASH ON SITE!

    I do admit, my methods of exterminating a nest are about the same, LOL.

  2. Yup! That's really about the only thing you can do, and it works haha! I usually do step 3 too early as I go into panic... er, survival mode, thus I have to make more trips.

  3. Great story!

    Wait until dark and spray into the tubing of the gate. They go back to their nest at night and you can kill a bunch at once becasue they are so reluctant to fly.

    Then ask if the ends can be capped to prevent future problems.

  4. Ha haaa.... this post had be giggling.
    I've done the same exact procedure... only in my case it wasn't a gate, but a water trough! At our barn the yellow jackets like to make their nests under the lip of the troughs. If you're not careful, when you go to tip the trough over for scrubbing... you'll put your hand right on a nest and get some nasty stings!

  5. When the horses were on our property, our method involved locating the nest, then waiting for dusk (when they all go home to sleep), then setting up a shopvac near the opening. It went something like this:
    1)set up shop vac near opening
    2) spray like mad at the nest entrance
    3) run away
    4) plug in shop vac
    5) watch all angry wasps (not dead from spray) get sucked into the shop vac as they attempted to exit..

    A little bit of a production, but it worked darn well..

  6. it's best to spray them at night, they usually go back into their nests at dark and you have a better chance of killing more with one shot.

  7. They used to make a wasp spray that shot long distance. I'm not sure it's still on the market as I haven't needed any recently.

    I did bag a huge hornets' nest in the middle of the night once. It was in a tree in my paddock. I waited until dark with a big garbage bag, climbed a ladder, bagged the nest and cut off the tree branch to dispose of it.

    I ended up taking it out into the woods to a new tree and cut a "door" in the bag before fleeing. But in the dark, the hornets never did quite rally the troops against me.

  8. We find the hole that leads to the nest, wait until dark and try to drown them in bug spray while they are asleep. At one barn I was at we spent hours sticking duck tape over all possible openings - pipe fence - and then emptied a hornet killer in one hole. They chased us for a while in the dark but we killed them all.

  9. There is a wasp dispatching spray that foams + clings, and can be shot from far away accurately. Good stuff :)

  10. Ugh. Well,mystery solved about the boobs. I got stung by some wasps that had taken up residence in the fender of my trailer. I ran up and put vinegar on the stings immediately. It really helped. Got stung on the end of my nose by a red hornet once, put vinegar on it, and amazing how it took care of it. The neuro toxins in the stings are alchaloids, and the actic acid in the vinegar helps to neutralize them.

  11. Yeah, I don't think there is any other way to do it. Spray, Run, Repeat.

  12. I'm sure they have their place in the "circle of life" but Wasps and bees and yellow jackets should all be banned from the barn!

    I'm with you about letting others do the dirty work, though. I'm always afraid they will get me before I get them.

  13. They are terrible here in the South; setting up shop every time you turn around. I have cans of wasp weaponry stashed in several different places. I went bebopping into the shed the other day and was all the way in (it's an 8x8) before I noticed the huge wasps nest in the corner to my right (Ack!). Backed out and went back later armed and dangerous after they had all returned to the nest. There were no survivors ;o)

    Unfortunately, other than tracking them going in, doing stuff like kicking gates, doors, etc. is the best way to see where they are coming from to ensure total annihilation *grin*.

  14. Ouch! I'm allergic to bees. The last time I was stung it took about 5 minutes for my hand to swell into a giant puffy glove, and about 15 before my throat closed so I couldn't breathe (fortunately by then I was at the ER), plus it left a scar. So I pay a lot of attention to stinging critters. Fortunately wasps don't seem to bother me in the same way, but I'm not taking any chances.

    The tips about clearing them at night are good, but the best defense is a good offense. Pay attention and if you see even one scout, follow it and find the nest before it's any size, and get rid of it. If you're conscientious they tend to give up and move away.

  15. When it happened to me a few years back, we sprayed a paper towel with wasp killer and stuffed it into the holes in the gate(at night of course) and after a few days, we sprayed in the gate, and replaced the paper towel again. We ducktaped up the holes, and it has been like that ever since. I remember for weeks after my boy Blu got stuck multiple times on his legs and belly, he wouldn't even go near that gate. =[ poor boys.


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