How to Kill a Great Black Wasp

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The great black wasp (species Sphex pensylvanicus) is an insect beneficial for killing other nuisance bugs such as grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, katydids and cicadas. Insect lovers consider them quite beautiful with their long black bodies of 1 to 2 inches in length and blue-black iridescent wings. Because these wasps can cause very painful and swollen stings, however, you may want to kill one that gets into your house, as well as any great black wasps that hover around you or the kids while you spend time outside.

Things You'll Need

  • Protective clothing
  • Wasp and hornet insecticide
  • Insecticide dust
  • Mint spray
  • Cleaning spray
  • Heavy object
  • Gloves
  • Tweezers

Killing a Great Black Wasp Outside

  • Wear protective clothing and cover as much skin as possible. Choose jeans, sweat pants or slacks; shoes and socks; a long-sleeve shirt and a hat.

  • Use a wasp and hornet insecticide to kill one or two wasps. Buy the spray can that shoots 20 to 22 feet so you can stand far away.

  • Eliminate a great black wasp nest. These wasps make burrows, and you may have noticed some flying around a specific area near the ground. Wait until it's almost dark and the wasps are asleep in the burrow. Then saturate the opening to the nest and the burrow with the insecticide spray. Another method involves applying 1/4 cup insecticide dust to the nest entrance at dawn before the wasps take off for the day. With either method, be prepared to make a run for safety.

Killing a Great Black Wasp Indoors

  • Use a non-insecticide spray that stops the great black wasp from being able to fly, because you probably don't want to spray poison inside your house or a screened-in porch. Nontoxic mint sprays are available at home and garden stores, and they are very effective. You also can use a cleaning spray to saturate the wasp.

  • Hit the wasp with a shoe, phone book or other heavy object. A fly-swatter will not work.

  • Pick up the wasp with a gloved hand or push it onto a fly swatter with the shoe and take it outside. Be cautious: These insects can be very hard to kill, and the wasp might look dead when it is only stunned. Once outside, you can make certain the wasp has expired by smashing it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before you spray a nest, plan a fast route to a place of safety.
  • Wash your hands after using insecticide.
  • Keep children and pets in the house when killing wasps.
  • Be aware that some people are allergic to wasp stings and severe reactions can occur, including serious swelling, rash and difficulty breathing. An allergic reaction requires immediate emergency attention.

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