Does WD-40 Kill Wasps? Tips and Tricks for Dealing with These Backyard Pests

Posted by Matthew Rathbone on February 21, 2023 · 5 mins read

As summer approaches, homeowners start spending more time outdoors, enjoying the sun, fresh air, and the beauty of nature. Unfortunately, this also means encountering various insects, including wasps. While they play an important role in pollination, wasps can also be a nuisance and even pose a threat to some people who are allergic to their venom. That’s why it’s important to know how to deal with them safely and effectively.

DIY Wasp removal recommendations

For non aggressive wasps I've had great luck spraying the nests with this Spectracide wasp remover in the evening. For more aggressive wasps I also use this rediculous looking upper torso Beekeeping suit. It seems silly, but trust me, it's amazing.

What Are Wasps and Why Are They in My Yard?

Wasps are members of the Hymenoptera order, which also includes bees and ants. They are known for their slender waist, smooth skin, and elongated wings. Unlike bees, wasps do not have barbs on their stingers, which means they can sting multiple times without losing their stinger or dying. There are many different species of wasps, each with their own distinctive appearance and behavior.

Wasps are attracted to many things that are commonly found in yards, such as flowers, fruits, sugary drinks, and open garbage cans. Some species also build nests in trees, shrubs, eaves, and other structures. If you notice wasps flying around your yard, it’s likely that they are looking for food or nesting sites.

How to Identify Common Types of Wasps

Before you can properly deal with wasps, it’s important to know what species you’re dealing with. Here are some of the most common types of wasps you may see in your backyard:

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are named for their papery, umbrella-shaped nests, which are often found hanging from eaves, overhangs, or branches. They are brownish-yellow with black markings and can grow up to 1 inch long. Paper wasps are generally not aggressive unless their nest is disturbed.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are smaller than paper wasps but more aggressive. They are bright yellow and black with a hairless body and can sting multiple times. Yellow jackets often build their nests underground or in cavities, such as wall voids or hollow trees.


Hornets are larger than yellow jackets and have a distinctive black and white striped pattern on their abdomen. They are usually found in wooded areas and build their nests in trees or shrubs. Hornets can be very aggressive and deliver a painful sting.

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers are solitary wasps that build nests out of mud. They are black or metallic blue and have a thin waist. Mud daubers are not aggressive and rarely sting humans.

Tips for Dealing With Wasps

If you have identified a wasp problem in your yard, there are several steps you can take to reduce their numbers and minimize the risk of stings:

  • Keep your trash cans tightly sealed and dispose of food waste promptly.
  • Cover sugary drinks and food when eating outside.
  • Seal any cracks or gaps in your home’s exterior to prevent wasps from entering.
  • Trim back trees and shrubs near your home to eliminate potential nesting sites.
  • Use caution when mowing the lawn or trimming bushes, as vibrations can agitate wasps.
  • If you encounter a wasp, remain calm and still. Do not swat at it or make sudden movements, as this can provoke an attack.

Does WD-40 Kill Wasps?

There is a popular myth that using WD-40 to spray wasps will kill them instantly. While WD-40 can immobilize wasps by coating their wings and making it difficult for them to fly, it is not a guaranteed method of killing them. In fact, spraying WD-40 on wasps can make them more aggressive, as they feel threatened and may attack in self-defense.

If you want to get rid of wasps, it’s best to use a proven insecticide that is designed specifically for this purpose. Look for products that contain pyrethroids, which are synthetic chemicals that mimic the natural insecticides found in chrysanthemum flowers. These products are effective against wasps and other pests but are also safe for humans and pets when used according to the instructions.

In conclusion, while wasps can be a nuisance, they are an important part of our ecosystem. By identifying the species of wasps in your yard, taking preventive measures, and using safe and effective pest control methods, you can enjoy your outdoor space without fear of stings. Remember that spraying WD-40 on wasps is not recommended, as it can make them more aggressive and may not kill them.