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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Wasp control that WORKS

A few days ago I put up a post about the horrifically bad wasp year we're having. Outdoor activities had to be suspended except before dawn or after dark because of how many stinging insects were swarming the area.

We're not alone -- everyone we know is experiencing similar issues. Recently Don was in a hardware store, and he noticed they had shelves and shelves of wasp traps for people desperate to control them.

Wasps in this volume aren't just annoying, they're dangerous -- particularly for people who have reactions to stings. Everyone felt they were being held hostage indoors. Nearly every day, we would set a trap and it would fill almost to the brim. Every. Single. Day.

Then a commenter named "MissV" (and possibly a second commenter, Anon5:29) posted a sure-fire method of killing wasps using fibronil, the active ingredient in Frontline (and knock-off brands) tick repellent for dogs. We just happened to have some (since Mr. Darcy was getting ticks up the whazoo this summer), so we decided to give this a go. This is what is being passed around on Google:
Fipronil is a broad-spectrum insecticide that disrupts the insect’s central nervous system. Fipronil is the main ingredient in Frontline and other flea and tick killer used on dogs. Recall that Frontline is placed on the dogs back at the withers and keeps the dog free of these pests. It is not harmful to pets or humans in the dosage of casual contact. It will kill other yellow jackets that come into contact with it as it dies in the nest.

Several of the flea and tick killers available at your pet store or at Big R (Petco, etc.) contain Fipronil. But be careful to get the product that contains only Fipronil as its active ingredient. When Fipronil is coupled with other ingredients, the wasps will ignore it.

Mix 6 to 10 drops into a golf ball sized gob of raw hamburger (if you macerate it in a blender it works better). Place this gob of poisoned meat into a small plastic cup. Add 1/2 of a cotton ball on which you squirt half the contents of a tube of RESCUE Yellowjacket Attractant found at most hardware stores. Place the poison bait cup in the shade 2 to 4 feet off the ground and 10 to 15 yards away from doors, patios, grills – people trafficked areas. 80% of the Yellowjacket nests within 100 yards will be dead within 24 hours. 95% will be gone in 48 hours. Renew the bait every day (Yellowjackets don’t like dried or rotting meat). After 4 days 100% of the Yellowjacket nests within 400 sq. yds. will be dead. Repeat baiting after 4 weeks for a few days. It should end your problem.

As a monitor on the success of the project this person kept one of the Rescue Yellowjacket Traps in the yard and dumped it every night to check on the quantity of wasps in the area each day. The count dropped from several hundred/day to 2-4 wasps/day in 2 days and in the forth day, there were none.

1. Use only Fipronil – no other active ingredient. It’s found in flea and tick killers.

2. Mix 0.1% with hamburger. 6 to 10 drops per golf ball sized gob. Macerated burger is better.

3. Add Rescue Attractant

4. Renew bait daily.

5. Continue use for 4 days.

6. Repeat after a month for a few days.

We decided to give this a try and set two traps. We started with two golf-ball sized balls of ground beef...

...and four small paper cups.

In two of the cups, we punched holes in the bottoms.

Then we got two cotton balls.

We already had on hand Rescue wasp attractant and Frontline Plus tick repellent.

We put the cotton balls in the bottoms of the paper cups that did NOT have holes punched in them...

...and added wasp attractant to the cotton.

Then we loosely fitted the paper cups with the perforated bottoms over the other cups.

Next we took the ground beef and mashed it up a bit more in a food chopper.

To this meat, Don added 16 drops of the fipronil tick repellent. Each meatball needs about eight drops of poison (I gather too much isn't good) and since we had two meatball's worth of ground beef, he added 16 drops.

Then I donned latex gloves (just in case) and mashed the meat and poison over and over and over.

Then we re-formed the meat into two meatballs and put them in the upper cups (the ones with the perforated bottoms). We put these in jars, capped them, and put them in the fridge overnight. You never want to put wasp attractant out during daylight hours -- the stuff works instantly -- so we stuck it in the fridge overnight so the meat wouldn't go bad.

Early the next morning (well before sunrise), I removed the lids and put the jars in two locations, where doggies couldn't go. Both locations were in the shade so the meat wouldn't dry out too fast. One I put in the orchard, and the other I duct-taped to a small tree trunk along our driveway. In neither location were congregating wasps likely to bother anyone.

At first nothing happened. I think the chilled wasp attractant wasn't doing its job until it had a chance to unchill. But within a couple of hours -- my goodness -- the bait was swarming with wasps.

All day long the wasps carried snippets of poisoned meat back to their nests.

By the next morning, the volume of meat was reduced by more than half, and there were some dead wasps in the jar.

I checked on some nearby nests and noticed the insects looked very lethargic. They weren't moving much, and certainly weren't flying around.

As the day progressed, the lack of wasps was extremely noticeable. There were a few, yes; but we estimate the quantity was down by 95 percent or more. To test this, Don baited a trap in the morning and set it out. by afternoon, it had caught maybe five wasps. Remember, previously this trip would be full to the brim.

The difference outside is staggering. We can walk around without a problem. The tension is gone -- I didn't realize how tense we were until the threat was removed.

We still have some wasps, so we're going to repeat this procedure a second time, and possibly a third if needed.

This works, folks! If you're plagued by wasps, I urge you to try this to control them.

And the nicest part of all? It doesn't bother honeybees, which don't eat meat and aren't attracted to wasp attractant.


  1. Hallelujah!! I'm book marking this one!! SuccotashRose

  2. Thank you, and your readers, for this. I will have to remember it. We didn’t have too much trouble this year, but have been plagued with yellow jackets in other summers. I always hate spraying them, because broad-spectrum sprays are bad for pollinators too, but would break down and do it because they give my MIL panic attacks. This one won’t hurt a thing I don’t WANT to kill.

  3. I may have missed it--but is there a way to leave the lids on the jars, with an entry-exit opening sized for wasps, making it more difficult for small creatures, birds, or pets would might seek the bait?

    We have no wasps this year...but plenty of blue jays (who destroy wasps).

    1. It would be very easy to fashion a lid of some sort to keep birds out. Even aluminum foil might work. We used a canning jar/lid because it's what we had available, but a tin can with a custom-made aluminum foil lid would work well. Or something like that.

      - Patrice

  4. Does this work for hornets? I have had those for several years behind huge rocks.

    1. I would assume so, but remember I'm new to this too. (smile)

      - Patrice

    2. It only attracts protein eating wasps, which is why it doesn’t bother honey bees.

  5. Wow. Very interesting. Now that's a 'surgical strike'! Thank you for sharing.
    Dock Guy

  6. Outstanding..I'll have to give this a try!

  7. Outstanding! Just a bit of advice for folks regarding pesticides... be sure not to put it out all season long, bc they may gain resistance to it. So do like the instructions say, and do a blitz and put it away until they get bad again in a year or 2, or 3 (assuming the pesticide lasts that long).

  8. That article is just one of the reasons that I come here every day. A solution to a big problem!!!

  9. Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Great idea, thanks so much for reporting on the success, this will help a LOT of us going through the same thing.

  11. Patrice, I got this same "recipe" from Miss V over email (we know each other) and started it yesterday. HORDES of wasps swarmed on both of my dixie cup baited traps....so much so that both were completely empty by 8pm when I checked on them on the way to lock up the chickens. Second sets of traps put out today, and MUCH fewer wasps around them today. One large nest up in the peak of my roof no longer has wasps tending it. Third set of traps will go out tomorrow morning. One tip, which I know is mentioned in the "recipe," but on day 1 I mistakenly placed one trap in my woodshed/lean-to right next to my garage and breezeway house entrance. Bad mistake....had to run the gauntlet of agitated wasps that day anytime I went outside. To all who are going to try this, PLAN out your trap placement! 8-)

  12. Patrice, this is excellent! Many thanks to you and others who tried this. I didn't realize we had wasps until I started the lawn mower the other day and realized that my entire lawn tool area is loaded with them. I am getting some Fipronil tomorrow. Thanks again!

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

  13. Good news! Thanks for the tip. We're not swarmed too bad this year, but I'm filing the info away!

  14. Metallic roofs are on its approach to reputation.

  15. Just want to say I love your corn photo! And love it when you change pics of garden, animals, things, sky...

  16. Rumor in our neck of the woods is that USFS introduced huge populations of wasp predators to counteract various conifer beetle destruction. Oops. Shut down human endeavors as too viscous. Restaurants outdoor dining shut down. 1/2 their revenue.

  17. Glad to hear you found success with this method. I was the Anon who posted on the previous post, your neighbor in the mountains south of Post Falls, about using the fipronil with chicken bait.

    There is a scientific study posted on the net that lists the Swanson canned chicken as the most effective bait. Yellowjackets will swarm on just about any meat, but the scientists found that particular brand of canned chicken resulted in the most carry-back to the nest.

    It's important to note that use of the fipronil flea treatment in this way is a violation of federal law, as the label doesn't say you can use it for this purpose. (The label is the law). If you get some Taurus SC off ebay or amazon (20oz bottle is the smallest I've found) that would be ten lifetimes' supply of fipronil and it does say on the label you can use it to kill yellowjackets. The Taurus SC is also good on termites and ants if they are bugging you too.

    Just keepin' it legal.

  18. Wow. Phenomonal results. But for some strange reason, the wasps (yellow jackets) do not bother us here in Alaska. I have a melon sized nest in the eaves that I haven't gotten around to taking down, partially because they mind their own business. Strange.

    When I do take them down, I use a jet of water from the hose. "As Seen On YouTube", the wasps don't react because they think the water is from rain. At least that's the theory and it seems to work so far.

    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, AK

  19. Dugald B. CampbellAugust 25, 2018 at 10:56 PM

    This is a bad year for Yellow Jackets, as we all seem to know. They were so bad we couldn't do work outside on our own homestead; going for our sweat and salt. My wife stumbled onto your posting and we made up the 'poisoned meat balls' that night. That was a week ago. It worked fantastically! Fires two baits had all meat consumed in two days. Second two had ¼ the action around them within a day. Thank you very much for passing this information on.

  20. I whipped the Fipronil well with Friskies White fish canned cat food. Smeared some on a 1x4 and turned it upside down over a basin of water laced with a few drops of dish soap and yellow jacket attractant. I put it in the shade, up out of reach from the animals. Within an hour I had thousands of drowned yellow jackets, hornets and wasps. But the ones that got away, took Fip food to their nests. Triple threat! Thanks for all of the GREAT ideas.

  21. Congratulations Patrice, this article was chosen as a 'Guest Post' on SurvivalBlog.com. Lots of positive comments.
    Montana Guy

  22. Shit, go to Home Depot and buy a can of wasp/hornet/yellow jacket killer, seek out the hive, and spray it! The stream goes about 30 feet, a safe distance, and it is instant kill. The power company linemen use that around here, and it works. I had an infestation, an one of the power company guys gave me a can to use. Within a few minutes, the whole hive was dead.

    Stay away and don't breathe that stuff; it can't be good for you.

  23. yellowjackets aren't wasps and wasps aren't yellowjackets

  24. Just wanted to let you know, I got fed up with the bees around here, last week our little dog got stung by a bee, boy, was he one sick puppy for a bit, I set out the bee trap this morning and we now have dead bees, I am beyond happy and passed the knowledge on to another lady I know who has been plagued by them as well, also on the plus side, the flies around here also seem to love it and they also seem to be dying, the few bees we had didn't take all the bait and so am leaving the rest for the flies who just seem to love decaying meat, lol. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I will never do anything but this from now on.

  25. Will it hurt the birds of they get a not dead yet bee???

  26. what about the birds which may eat a bee??

  27. Thanks for the helpful solution to yellow jackets. My bee keeper friend used this method this summer to curb predation of bees by yellowjackets. It did quell the yellow jackets,leaving wasps unharmed, but they were not the ones harming the bees. So, this worked and easily to save bees, thanks!

  28. Hi Patrice, I've seen our first few yellow jackets this year (Apr 2019) and decided to get a head start on them this year with an initial 'meatball' trap to keep the worst of it at bay rather than be inundated in the heat of summer. It worked so well last year that I was finding dead nests all through the autumn that I didn't even know we had. Great post!!! God Bless, (and Happy Resurrection Day!), Janet in MA