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!