There’s a Wasp in My What?

If you own a home, chances are at some point you have, or will have to get rid of a wasp nest somewhere on your home or property. It isn’t all that fun, but at least when you can see the darn thing, you can come at it with a spray can of Raid at night and kill the buggars.  But what about when you suddenly notice the damn things are flying around your house, and there’s no sign of a nest? That happened to us the other day, when I was pressure washing the side of our house on a fine, warm fall day. I hit a corner of the house where the bowed out area for our patio door meets the house again. Suddenly I noticed dozens and dozens of wasps everywhere, and they’re all flying behind the inside corner strip at the top, right by the soffit. Seriously? So I do what every sane woman does in a situation like this: holler for my husband. Yeah that worked well. He didn’t have any better idea of what to do than I did, except to wait for dark.

Well, we got a can of Raid and waited, and tried to listen in the walls to see if we could figure out more precisely where they were, but no luck. We weren’t even sure if spraying up by the soffit would work. THEN we did a little Internet research and stumbled on what is turning out to be a cheap and ingenious solution to the problem. It needs just a few things most homeowners already have at thier disposal: A shop vac, a ladder, some tape or velcro, and either water and dishsoap, or bleach.

  1. Put a few inches of water and a bit of soap in the shop vac. Make sure your filter is in place, and the exhaust port uncovered. ALTERNATIVELY you can put a few inches of bleach in the shop vac, no soap is needed.
  2. If you have rigid extension tubes for the shop vac, connect as many together as you can (we used 4), then connect your shop vac tubing.
  3. Rig it up to a ladder with tape or velcro. Get the nozzle of the shop vac right up where the wasps are going in.
  4. Plug in the vac and turn in on.
  5. Sit back, watch ’em get sucked in and die.


The first day we did it, we ran the shop vac for maybe 3 hours total. I’m running it a second day as there are still more wasps, although it’s slowed way down now. The goal is to get all the drones out, and eventually the queen will come out as well. When she does, your work is done.  You can plug up the area, but it’s my understanding that a new queen won’t move into an old nest.

Something to be aware of, if you do use bleach, you’ll get wasp soup. Bleach, as you might recall from high school science class, is sodium hypocholorite, and it does in fact, dissolve organic things like wasps, and rather quickly. So we aren’t too sure how many we actually caught, because by the time we took the cover off the shop vac maybe an hour after we turned it off, they were already dissolving. As a precaution, if you turn it off, make sure you disconnect the hose and COVER the opening, because if there are live wasps remaining they will fly out.  I think most of the wasps died right away, so we probably would not have needed to wait an hour.

(There are many videos about this on YouTube, so so need to add one from us.)

Unfortunately, as we walked around the house we noticed the little suckers busily trying to build new nests in a few other places. So we’ve done our best to hit those spots with the Raid, in hopes of driving them out before they’ve gotten too cozy.  I know one of the spots seemed to have a queen inspecting it, and I think we did get her, so perhaps we’ve dodged on bullet. I’m not entirely convinced we’ve dodged them all so I guess we’ll have to wait and see.


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