Thursday, September 21, 2023


The buzz on wasp elimination: Keep ’em away from your RV!

I’m not typically skittish when it comes to flying insects. But wasps? They’re a different story. Last week, I noticed a wasp buzzing around the outside of our RV entry door. Not thinking much about it, I went inside to take a shower. More buzzing! A wasp was flying around inside the bathroom near the skylight. I went outside to alert my husband and promptly got stung! It was time for some wasp elimination!

Facts about wasps

While wasps and bees are similar in that both are flying insects and sip nectar, they are different in several ways. Bees generally have hairy bodies, while wasps are smooth. Also, bees have a rounded appearance while wasps are narrow-waisted. Bees are generally much less aggressive than wasps. Bees sting only once, and die after stinging, while wasps can sting multiple times (and often do so when angry)!

Locating the nest

In order to eliminate the wasps, I had to find their nest. I was convinced that the wasps were somehow coming into the RV from the outside. So, I went outside to look. All of our vent screens were securely in place (refrigerator, microwave). This meant the vent openings were not wasp entry points. (Hint: It pays to check your vent screens each time you arrive at a campground. Traveling over rough highways can sometimes jar the vent screens loose. One time we actually lost a vent screen during transit. It doesn’t take long for bugs to discover openings like this, so be sure to check. If you need vent screens, find them here.)

Our dryer vent had no screen that I could see. I was fairly certain that there was a rubber flap that protected against insect intruders, but I needed to find out for sure. So, I got out the ladder and took a closer look. The black, rubber flap was in place and seemed secure. I saw no evidence of wasps entering or even flying around this area. (A good sign.)

Next, I checked all of the places where hoses enter our RV. Sometimes insects will crawl through even the tiniest of cracks to get inside. We’ve sealed up the problem openings with steel wool and spray foam. Again, everything looked fine.

Deciding to go back inside, I happened to look up. There! A wasp buzzed up near the awning. Soon another wasp joined the first one. And I saw it—the beginnings of a wasp nest! (The wasps had been entering our RV through the door.) Now that I knew the nest location, I had to figure out the best way to remove it.

Wasp elimination tips

Researching online, I found several ways to eliminate pesky wasps. Here are the methods I considered. Note: Always wait until late evening to approach a wasp nest. The wasps will be dormant at that time, and you can be sure that the queen and workers are nested down for the night.

Commercial wasp spray. There are several different brands on the market, and all seem to work well. We happened to have some Spectracide Wasp and Hornet Killer in the RV basement storage. I like this product because it can spray almost 30 feet. I can stand well away from the nest when spraying. However, I was hesitant to use the spray because I worried it might damage the RV’s exterior paint. It’s also toxic for children and pets. I didn’t want to use the spray unless all else failed.

Vinegar trap. This home remedy is a natural way to eliminate wasps. Thoroughly mix together two cups sugar, one cup water, and two cups apple cider vinegar. Place the mixture near the nest. The vinegar trap will attract and kill the wasps. (This remedy wouldn’t work for me either. The wasp nest was between our retracted RV awning and exterior RV wall. I couldn’t find a safe location to place the mixture that was close enough to the nest to be effective.)

Dish soap and water. Fill a spray bottle with water. Add two tablespoons of dish soap to the water and gently stir. Spray directly on the nest from a safe distance. (This remedy didn’t work for me either. My spray bottle barely shot two-feet distance—much too close for my comfort.)

Wasp trap. These traps are what I ultimately used to eliminate the wasps. I was able to hang the trap on the awning bracket near the wasp nest. I liked that the product is non-toxic and reusable, but most of all, it worked! Within a day, the wasps were no longer putting a “sting” on our RV adventure.

Have you ever had to deal with wasps or bees in and around your RV? How did you deal with wasp elimination? Please share in the comments!


Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


  1. WD-40 works great on Wasps and Wasp nests. I use it on them alll the time. Once the WD-40 spray gets on the wasps then within 2 minutes or less they’re dead or so close to being dead their jig is up.

  2. I love those traps, I used to keep a couple in my backyard before selling and fulltiming. One thing I learned from the professionals is that you want to keep them far away from your home and not have too many of them. He said the more I had the more wasps I was attracting, which was great for my neighbors but not for me. I had never thought of that but made sense so I went down to just one trap in the farthest corner of my yard. If I were to use one now I would use it until the wasps were all caught and then wash and put away.
    Gail, I got to say, you are brave for waiting until the trap worked (and hoping it would). I would have used the spray to kill the wasps and then rinsed the wall with water. I’m definitely not as brave, or patient, as you are!

  3. Gail: Thank you for the very informative article. I have dealt with large nests using the spray from about 20′ away – it works! As any normal individual knows – there are several kinds of flying insets in the “Bee” category – i.e.,killer bees! It isn’t necessary to be a bug expert and list every known species and it’s capabilities. Some people just need to get a life ……

  4. We recently found out about a huge in-ground yellow jacket nest here at the resort where I work camp. We called in the professionals. From what I know yellow jackets are super mean. They send out a pheromone that tells the rest of the clan to come out and join the fight.

  5. 50/50 Dawn and water in a spray bottle will prevent them from flying so you can then step on them to finish the job! If you have a wasp nest use the same mixture in a bowl and dowse them at night while they are congregated on the nest. Again this will not kill them but knock them to the ground.

    • I have used a lesser concentrate of 2 second squirt of liquid dish soap in a squirt bottle. I don’t know if this makes a difference but it definitely kills them. yes, they appear stunned, but expire soon after. I actually keep a 2 gallon pressure sprayer with the mix in it.
      I have used this on playgrounds at churches, shrubbery and corners of houses. It is a bit safer than spraying canned chemicals and breathing that.

  6. Gail – thanks for the trap tip and the reminder of places to check for intruders!

    A fellow camper once told me to squirt lighter fluid on yellow jackets – not feasible in this situation, but we carry a bottle with us to use when appropriate.

    Personal experience: yellow jackets are MEAN!

    Stay safe, Joe

  7. Secure your bug guards using the universal nylon tie. They don’t vibrate and rust like the typical springs. Replace once a year because sunlight does affect the plastic.

    • Took the words right out of my stylus, she’s never heard of a bumble who doesn’t lose its stinger and will sting you many times if you inadvertently trap it. Ms March needs a proof reader or maybe a second computer to do her research before she starts writing. This isn’t a once in a lifetime mistake, this happens consistently on everything she writes, pick a subject and start typing, no matter whether she knows anything about what she’s writing or not. C’mon staff she’s putting out garbage to millions that may not know any better!

      • Gail, I for one, and probably speaking for many, enjoy your articles. Don’t let Bob P. deter you. For every “fact” that’s written, there will always be someone who can find an alternate idea. I like Tom M’s idea in that Bob P. should stop reading, and commenting, if he can’t do it civilly.


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