The Fascinating Reason Why Wasp Spray Works

“Quick! There’s a giant wasp’s nest outside; someone grab the wasp spray!” he yelled in a hurry – “Go ahead, spray them and don’t miss!”.

In just one sweeping motion and the press of a button, all of the wasps dropped to the ground. How exactly can a spray in a bottle be that powerful?

Wasp spray is an insecticide that combines several main wasp neutralizing chemicals called pyrethroids and pyrethrins into a compact, aerosol bottle.

One spray – keeps the wasp away!

While that is the short answer, wasp spray actually works in eliminating wasps and other flying insects – in a very unique way.

Having to use it quite often during the summer months, learning more about the mechanics behind how wasp spray actually works has helped me not to get stung (quite as much).

Keep on reading to learn why it works and how you can use it, so that it works for you!

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Wasp Spray Includes Pyrethroids and Pyrethrins That Work On Impact

Closeup of Paper wasp, Polistes dominula and big nest

The mechanics behind how wasp spray works are quite impressive, to say the least.

But wait – before we get ahead of ourselves, if you’re finding wasps near your home there’s a good chance you’re attracting them to your space without realizing, make sure to check out our article to find out why and what you can do about it.

Back to how it works – first, substances called pyrethroids and pyrethrins are packed into a tight, aerosol bottle and are released upon spraying, which wreak havoc on the nervous system of flying insects.

When these substances are released upon flying insects, they overwhelm their nervous system and cause the insects to drop out of their air almost instantaneously.

When the spray comes into contact with flying insects, it takes away the insects energy, and causes it to fall out of the air.

For quick reference, here are some of the industry leaders in wasp and hornet spray and what their main ingredients are:

Wasp Spray Active Ingredients

Product TypeActive Ingredients
Raid Wasp & 
Hornet Spray
Cypermethrin &
Spectracide Wasp
& Hornet Spray
Prallethin & Lambda –
CRC Wasp 
& Hornet Spray
Tetramethrin & Phenothrin

You’ll notice that none of the ingredients actually say “pyrethroid” or “pyrethrin” – this is because pyrethroid and pyrethrin are a class of substances, while the active ingredients listed above are within those classes of substance.

Simply put, if you’re looking for an effective wasp and hornet spray, the ones that generally are regarded as the best contain at least one of the above ingredients.

IMPORTANT: Please consult with a local bee keeping or animal expert before acting on any advice given in this article. Be safe!

Wasp Spray Works Extremely Fast – Almost Instantly!

The substance inside wasp and hornet spray are extremely effective once they come into contact with the insect.

The spray usually causes a very fast knockdown of the insect, which refers to how they go from flying and buzzing around – to the ground.

Some wasps get coated much more than others once they get sprayed. The wasps that don’t get covered as much still feel the effects, but they’re able to fly and make it back into the hive.

When the wasps return to their hive coated in the wasp spray, they spread the substance to all of the other wasps inside of the colony – causing them to get covered in them as well.

Additionally, when you spray the wasps, you’ll often spray the nest along with any bees flying around the outside of it.

The substances are soaked up by the wasp nest as well, causing the spray to be extremely effective.

Using The Spray

Before you do, it’s more important to identify that they’re wasps and NOT honeybees.

Honeybees are going extinct, and if they are honeybees you need to call a beekeeper to collect them – as we need honeybees for our survival.

Head on over to our article to learn the differences between bees and wasps, before you start to spray!

One major was to recognize that you have a wasp infestation is to look at the hive! It’s neutral-tone and paper-like, it’s most likely a wasp nest!

Hornet wasps nest on the inside frame of a house wall. Pest control work. Close up.

Now that you’ve identified that it’s a wasp – you can start spraying. While using the spray, it’s extremely important to follow the instructions on the bottle precisely.

You don’t want to miss, and you have to have the courage to follow through once you start, to ensure you don’t get stung – but believe me, it’s scary to do and I recommend contacting a professional to help you if you are nervous.

Most wasp sprays allow you to stand up to 15 – 20 ft away from a nest while spraying.

Generally, I’ve found better results when standing close to the 15ft range, as the spray goes in more of a straight line when you get closer to the nest.

The farther away you get with the spray, the more the stream of spray will loop and be harder to aim.

Here are some of the popular brands of wasp & hornet spray and their labeled spray range.

Wasp Insecticide Spray Distance

Product TypeLabeled Spray Distance
Raid Wasp & Hornet Spray22 FT
Spectracide Wasp & Hornet Spray27 FT
CRC Wasp & Hornet Spray20 FT

Again, in some cases, you may have to get a ladder to spray the wasp nest.

However, most quality sprays will have a spray distance of at least 20 Feet.

The ones that allow you to stand a little farther away, like the Spectracide Wasp And Hornet Spray, allow you to keep a slightly farther distance away from the nest.

Next, it’s time to actually spray the nest.

Very Important: Wait until dawn to spray the nest, as this is when most of the wasps will be inside the nest.

After gearing up, with safety glasses, gloves, boots, long pants and long-sleeve clothing go outside and stand at least 15 feet away from the wasp nest.

Go ahead and spray at will, coating the entire hive.

You’ll probably see some active wasps come out, but this shouldn’t be a huge issue if you are far enough away and wearing long-sleeved clothing.

The wasp spray will soak onto the wasps inside of the hive, causing the powerful nerve reaction that we discussed above.

After This – Wait A Full 24 Hours

Next, you’ll want to wait about 24 hours to make sure the wasp spray has had time to coat and work inside of the entire nest.

After one full day of waiting, go back outside and knock down the hive with a long stick or bat.

The hive should crumble upon knocking down and will be inhabitable for wasps to take residence in for the future.

Since you’re now a mini expert on how wasp spray works, when to use it and how to use it, you now have the power to invest in a wasp/hornet spray that gives the best and most instant results possible.

The Best Wasp Insecticide

Close-up of a yellow and black striped wasp sitting on the flower of a wild fennel against a green background, with space for text

There really isn’t a best overall wasp spray; however, there are a group of products that are superior to others on the market.

I’ve used several brands of wasp spray that were extremely cheap and didn’t work so well.

Come to find out, these sprays didn’t include a proper dose of the pyrethroids and pyrethrins substances that are essential into knocking down bees.

Or, since that method is a little complicated, here is a shortlist of wasp sprays that are some of the most popular on the market.

Example of Product
Spectracide Wasp & Hornet Spray

The brand I currently use is Spectracide due to their long spray distance (and I find it readily available in stores usually). HOWEVER, that isn’t to say the other brands do not work just as well – I’ve heard and read great things about them.

Again, ask around and do your own research to see if these brands are the right type of spray for you. 

That’s A Wrap!

Remember, if any wasp nest seems too difficult or dangerous to handle, please call in a professional to take care of the job, especially if you are allergic to bee stings!

Your safety is much more important than saving a little bit of money to take care of the situation yourself.

So please, safety first!

And remember, there are also things you can do to prevent the wasps from coming back.

What it mostly comes down to is by making your space as unattractive as possible!

Head on over to our article about the scents that wasps hate and how to use them, to effectively keep wasps away for good!

How to pest proof your home in under a day e-book by Zack DeAngelis

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 Take a look at my guide on Pest Proofing Your Home In Under a Day! I get into the nitty-gritty on the most common types of pests you’ll see on your property including BOTH insects and wildlife, along with the specific signs to look for regarding any pest you have questions about.

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