Paper wasps under cover

jandersen13

Well-known member
Feb 27, 2015
177
Grand Rapids MI
Hey everyone - we've got some paper wasps that have been trying to get (and have gotten in) under our cover through the gap where it folds. I just noticed them yesterday and they had started to build a nest (very early stage). So I opened up the cover and that scared them away for a bit. I also mixed peppermint oil and water in a spray bottle and sprayed around the entire tub and cover. All good through last night, but then this morning we noticed they were back. Same spot too.

Any ideas of how to get rid of them permanently? I don't want to spray them with wasp killer as I don't want that to go into my water. I did setup a DIY trap out of a plastic 2 liter with lemonade at the bottom to try and trap them. But curious if others have this issue and what they do about it.
 

rhosch

Active member
May 20, 2018
26
Jackson, MS
Pool Size
31000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Not a very good answer here as you mentioned that you don't want to spray anything that might get in the water, but ...

As an adjunct to whatever other solutions are suggested, I have found spray the surrounding areas (if not the entire property) with cypermethrin to be of some help. Last time I purchased some I found a product online called Viper cypermethrin, not sure if that particular brand is still available but it's about time to order some more so I'll find out. This is the active agent in many aerosol wasp sprays, but in concentrated liquid form. It's meant to be diluted into a pump up or battery powered jug or backpack sprayer and can be fairly liberally applied to eaves without staining, bushes and other landscaping without killing them, fences, etc. It isn't meant to be a "quick knockdown" type product but rather a "pick some up, go off and die elsewhere" sort of thing. I noticed a definite decline in nest building after I started using it, and when there aren't nests on the property there are a lot fewer of them flying around. This does have a little water resistance especially under eaves and other sheltered areas, but a good rain or two gets most of it off the shrubs. I tended to reapply once a month or so.
 

rhosch

Active member
May 20, 2018
26
Jackson, MS
Pool Size
31000
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Oh, and I have also noticed that traditional can sprays really discourage nest building as well, even though they aren't marketed for that use. So, if you can fold back the cover and get some on there in a way that doesn't put it in the water, there is a good chance they will go look elsewhere for a home.
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,290
Cabool, Mo
Quote from Wikipedia.
"Cypermethrin is highly toxic to fish, bees and aquatic insects, according to the National Pesticides Telecommunications Network (NPTN). It is found in many household ant and cockroach killers, including Raid, Ortho, Combat, and ant chalk."
I hate to be "that guy", but seriously people. If you want a wasp dead, hit it with something and step on it. Don't spray poison around to kill who knows what before washing out into the local watershed. The OP is worried about it getting in the spa, but the ground is what SHOULD be of concern.
Ok, off my soapbox now. Carry on. 👍
 

rhosch

Active member
May 20, 2018
26
Jackson, MS
Pool Size
31000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Thanks for the extra info.
 

5tan

Active member
Jan 9, 2021
37
Canada
Pool Size
1643
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I would try every environmentally-friendly liquid that dries into a film of something that the wasps won't like. Super-concentrated salt water, super-concentrated borax water, high-strength acetic acid, Carolina Reaper or Ghost Pepper oil, any essential oils you can get a hold of, etc.

Most spa covers can be treated with Aerospace 303 protectant spray, maybe try that and see if it deters wasps at the same time.

You could also make a small paste with a very small amount of dichlor granules (do this outside and wear PPE), and apply the paste to where they are trying to nest, hopefully in a spot where you can't see if it bleaches out your cover. The smell of chlorine will definitely keep wasps away.

Gotta avoid use of pesticides to save the bees!
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
1,357
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Permethrin (and most of its isomers) is wonderful stuff. If you look it up it's sprayed on people to prevent malaria in Africa- it is a repellent-- no colony collapse--, and is still the primary ingredient in medicines to treat head lice. The only real issue is that there are getting to be resistant strains of bugs to it.

It's a synthetic form of a natural pesticide made by Chrysanthemums, and in humans and most mammals is very safe. The notable exception to this is with cats.. until it's completely dry it is extremely toxic to cats. It's toxic to the fish in your hot tub as well as already stated, but I would hope you'd not use it on your fish tanks too.

It's still a primary flea treatment for dogs but it's falling out of favor because if used on cats accidently it will kill them.

Use the right tool for the job. That peppermint oil is probably as bad for you as the permethrin is. Permethrin will literally drop a wasp or a hornet mid flight. It isn't a delayed, undetectable to the bees/hornets/wasps pesticide like Termidor nor Premise is so it can NOT cause colony collapse. They will actively avoid it. IT IS A REPELLENT!

Better living through chemistry isn't always bad. I try to use this stuff specifically because it's so safe and doesn't hurt anything, but I still have to be careful with my cats....
 

5tan

Active member
Jan 9, 2021
37
Canada
Pool Size
1643
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
On that track, if you have icaridin or picaridin (DEET alternatives), spraying that where the wasps are nesting should work. Spraying DEET mosquito repellent will work too, but it may dissolve plastics/vinyl/etc in the area, so try the icaridin/picaridin first.
 
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RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,290
Cabool, Mo
Another quote from Wikipedia.
"Permethrin is listed as a "restricted use" substance by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)[38] due to its high toxicity to aquatic organisms,[39] so permethrin and permethrin-contaminated water should be properly disposed of. Permethrin is quite stable, having a half life of 51–71 days in an aqueous environment exposed to light. It is also highly persistent in soil."

It is not the fish in his spa or his fish tank that are of concern, it is this poison washing into the watershed and killing off the fish (and other aquatic life) in the creek, river, or ocean that it ends up in. It is also toxic to other insects, such as bees, who come in contact with it. It does act as a repellent AS WELL, but is still a poison. How different can permethrin and cypermethrin be?
I live on 22 acres surrounded by national forest in Missouri. We have many varieties of wasp and hornet around here. I have knocked down wasp nests larger than my head from the eaves of my house and barn. My spray of choice is the hose, or pressure washer if too high up. If you destroy their nest repeatedly, they go somewhere else. If you swat them they stop building.
I just want to say that I am no "tree hugger" by any means. I clear land for use without concern and put 3 deer in my freezer last fall. But chemicals destroy much more than intended, and should not be used unless strictly necessary, imo. Just look at all those stupid class action lawsuits against chemical manufacturers in the commercials, or the bee situation, or the many species going rapidly extinct for no apparent reason. "Better living through chemistry" is alot worse than the chemists want you to know.
But I am tired of arguing the obvious. Go ahead and poison the world. Everyone else does, so I guess you are all entitled.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
1,357
Corona de Tucson, AZ
The whole problem with pesticides comes from industrial uses. You unfortunately cannot get Termidor crystals anymore because-- and I am not kidding you-- golf courses who apparently didn't have any limit on money spent would spread the stuff like fertilizer on the course to kill mosquitoes and bees, wasps hornets en masse. If properly used the stuff keeps billions of dollars of property damage at bay. If done like that it will collapse colonies. Why? The stuff is DESIGNED to collapse termite colonies. Which is a good thing when trying to save a building.

I get your concerns, but the PROPER use would be to eliminate wasps in a small area that they are a problem. I guarantee you that this gentleman spraying a fraction of an ounce of the stuff onto his hot tub is ZERO risk to the local stream... What he is doing is absolutely a proper use. He's not spraying a local golf course with it.

Even when I spray my perimeter of my house it is zero risk to anything else. Typical straw man argument to say that we should blanket ban the stuff that works-- causing millions to billions in property damage-- and deaths!-- to stop idiots from abusing the stuff. Very typical US logic lately.

Have a termite invasion some day and you might change your mind on this. Tell the Africans to stop spraying themselves with it and get malaria instead...
 

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A.O.

Well-known member
Apr 12, 2016
310
Kershaw, South Carolina
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Yeah, I'm in the "spray it" corner on this one, like said above the little amount used by the average homeowner doesn't do much if any damage... except to the bugs. We have a wasp problem where I live, seems they are everywhere, setting targets up on one of my ranges one day we stirred them up and my daughter got stung 17 times... I no longer have ANY tolerance for them.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
8,783
NY
The underside of my entire top rail was LOADED with wasp nests when I whacked the pool down a few weeks ago. With every section that came out, I was thrilled it was still cool out.
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,290
Cabool, Mo
You are absolutely right, it is the commercial and industrial use of these things that does the real harm. But the individual use (misuse) by millions upon millions of people can't be helping. And awareness is half of the battle.
I have a small, organic "farm". In quotes because it is for personal use, not profit. I raise free-range chickens and an acre or so of veggies plus my 20x30 high tunnel (greenhouse). My electric provider came through last year spraying poison (herbicide) all over the power cut. I now have a huge swath of property where even grass won't grow, and it attracts my previously organic, free-range chickens because they can scratch and dig for bugs and dust baths (in spite of providing them numerous dust baths in other locations). Needless to say, I had words with my electric co-op. They insist on their right to "maintain" the easement in spite of the fact that it is MY property. They could have come through with a brush hog, there was nothing big in there, but chose to spray poison instead because it is cheaper. heck, I would have come through with my brush hog if they had asked. I am now pricing out wind/solar for my property so the ****** power company can come take down their poles from my land and have no more reason to poison my family. I am at the end of my line, so there is no reason for them to stay. They are going to lose about $5k per year in business from me because they wanted to save a few cents on the dollar for maintenance.
Building maintenance is a necessity regardless of the cause of the damage. Termites do alot of damage to older structures not built to resist them, even when taking the appropriate steps to mitigate them, such as clearing debris from foundations and stacking firewood far from the structure. I do building maintenance here constantly (or so it seems). In fact, I need to repair some sagging gutters on my garage and barn or I will be replacing some wood there soon. I consider it to be one of the necessities of property ownership. Like oil changes in a car or shaft seals in your spa. If you aren't prepared to maintain it, then perhaps you should not own it. It is no excuse for poisoning the local environment.
Maybe that is "typical US logic", as I am a typical US guy. I have no idea what you mean by "straw man" but I will assume it is not an insult. And I never said it should be "banned", just not used out of typical US laziness and self entitlement. You do not have the right to destroy my environment for your convenience. Termites, wasps, or otherwise.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
1,357
Corona de Tucson, AZ
So.. interestingly enough I had a farm in Iowa. I had to termidor the house, but I had to permethrin the chicken coop. If I had used "organic means" neither the house nor the coop would still exist. But the termidor will kill the chickens and the permethrin would kill my cats. I killed neither. The reason why is that I used BOTH of those chemicals properly. I saved the coop and and house. And I only killed an ant colony on top of the termite colony.. But then again the ants were a problem too. I had a nearby local bee keeper. I asked him if his hives were okay after I had treated everything. They were.

I also was a firearms instructor at one time, but I decided not to keep that current because I never made any money at it. I have similar feelings about firearms. You need to know how to use them responsibly, but I certainly don't think they should be banned due to the minimal accidental misuse and the criminal misuse will happen anyway. Diesel fuel, for example is known to be a great pesticide also... I don't advocate using that either... there is really no good way to control that.

Regulating people has never really been a successful way to stop thisanything. Honestly this thread has covered the proper use of this stuff pretty well as it is. If someone reads this and decided "I'm going to collapse a bee colony", I don't think we are going to stop them anyway.
 

A.O.

Well-known member
Apr 12, 2016
310
Kershaw, South Carolina
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
You are absolutely right, it is the commercial and industrial use of these things that does the real harm. But the individual use (misuse) by millions upon millions of people can't be helping. And awareness is half of the battle.
I have a small, organic "farm". In quotes because it is for personal use, not profit. I raise free-range chickens and an acre or so of veggies plus my 20x30 high tunnel (greenhouse). My electric provider came through last year spraying poison (herbicide) all over the power cut. I now have a huge swath of property where even grass won't grow, and it attracts my previously organic, free-range chickens because they can scratch and dig for bugs and dust baths (in spite of providing them numerous dust baths in other locations). Needless to say, I had words with my electric co-op. They insist on their right to "maintain" the easement in spite of the fact that it is MY property. They could have come through with a brush hog, there was nothing big in there, but chose to spray poison instead because it is cheaper. ****, I would have come through with my brush hog if they had asked. I am now pricing out wind/solar for my property so the ****** power company can come take down their poles from my land and have no more reason to poison my family. I am at the end of my line, so there is no reason for them to stay. They are going to lose about $5k per year in business from me because they wanted to save a few cents on the dollar for maintenance.
Building maintenance is a necessity regardless of the cause of the damage. Termites do alot of damage to older structures not built to resist them, even when taking the appropriate steps to mitigate them, such as clearing debris from foundations and stacking firewood far from the structure. I do building maintenance here constantly (or so it seems). In fact, I need to repair some sagging gutters on my garage and barn or I will be replacing some wood there soon. I consider it to be one of the necessities of property ownership. Like oil changes in a car or shaft seals in your spa. If you aren't prepared to maintain it, then perhaps you should not own it. It is no excuse for poisoning the local environment.
Maybe that is "typical US logic", as I am a typical US guy. I have no idea what you mean by "straw man" but I will assume it is not an insult. And I never said it should be "banned", just not used out of typical US laziness and self entitlement. You do not have the right to destroy my environment for your convenience. Termites, wasps, or otherwise.
Power company did the same to me a couple years ago and killed about 1/4 mile of wild blackberries.. I also was not happy.
 
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RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,290
Cabool, Mo
had a nearby local bee keeper. I asked him if his hives were okay after I had treated everything. They were.
I'm glad to hear that. Unfortunately, in my experience, most people do not bother to educate themselves on the safe and responsible use of these type of products, or anything really. They just buy whatever advertises itself as appropriate and never look back. It's like that with many pool/spa chems as well, which we hear about all the time here.

You need to know how to use them responsibly, but I certainly don't think they should be banned
Again, I did not say anything should be banned, just not used wantonly out of simple convenience. I am not an advocate of regulating people, but I do believe in personal responsibility. I also believe that we (meaning all of mankind) like to think we know a whole lot more than we do about most everything. It is easy for a chemical manufacturer or regulatory agency to run a few (possibly biased) studies and proclaim something to be safe for the sake of profit, convenience, or social pressure when the true long-term repurcussions are completely unknown. There was a time not long past when tobacco use and radioactive substances were thought to be healthy, just as one example. Who can say what we will discover about the effects of pesticide use, or anything else for that matter, in the next century. I've been hearing lately about plummeting fertility rates and rising autism in children, but have yet to hear a definitive reason. Perhaps it is permethrin, I don't know. Nobody knows. So, in my opinion, it's better to not use anything that is acknowledged as being potentially harmful when even things thought to be harmless are turning out to be bad news in one way or another. Call me paranoid or whatever you like, but my belief, and argument, are reasonable and logical. Not a "straw man" (I looked it up) at all.
 

jandersen13

Well-known member
Feb 27, 2015
177
Grand Rapids MI
Well this discussion really took off. I don’t want to distract from it but just provide an update.

I was able to open the spa in the afternoon and scare them out. Only about 3 or 4 at the time and the nest was just starting. I ruined the nest and did spray some peppermint oil mixed with water around the cover. Closed up later and checked back the next day. They had come back. Did the same thing and sprayed a bit more peppermint oil / water around the cover. That seemed to do the trick, they moved on.

Today I found out they moved on to our patio umbrella that is currently open (bees get in there in spring on cool nights so I leave it open). Had a fairly good nest started. I destroyed that tonight so hopefully they will be gone now.

I did see some mentioning about using peppermint oil might not be good. Is there something I need to be concerned about with peppermint oil? I didn’t think so, but now am curious. It’s an “essential oil” that my wife has.
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,290
Cabool, Mo
It is an irritant that can cause a rash on skin, especially if the pores are open from sweating. I spray it on my pant cuffs and waist to keep the ticks out when I am in the woods. Ticks are BAD around here, of course, as I am surrounded by national forest. And they have a variety of diseases you can get, from Lyme disease to some creepy thing that makes you allergic to red meat. 😲
I have even used permethrin myself (it is sold as a hose attachment sprayer for ticks) 3 years ago before I knew it was so harmful to other insects and fish (I have a creek for a property line down the hill from my house).
Yep, that's right. I used to be one of those who just bought what they were selling and used it. But then I had no more crickets singing, or bees on the wildflowers, or butterflies in the yard, or treefrogs chirping, or stick bugs and praying mantis roaming around. My yard in the country became as desolate as my old yard in the city. So I did 10 minutes of research via Google and discovered what I had done to my little slice of heaven. Ten more minutes of research led me to peppermint oil, which is the main ingredient in most organic, pet safe, kid safe flea and tick repellents.
Now I keep my grass short and clear the leaves from the 2 acre clearing around my house and have very few ticks there. But a walk through my woods is a tick collecting adventure. 😉
And now I research BEFORE I buy. Better late than never...
 
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A.O.

Well-known member
Apr 12, 2016
310
Kershaw, South Carolina
Surface
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It is an irritant that can cause a rash on skin, especially if the pores are open from sweating. I spray it on my pant cuffs and waist to keep the ticks out when I am in the woods. Ticks are BAD around here, of course, as I am surrounded by national forest. And they have a variety of diseases you can get, from Lyme disease to some creepy thing that makes you allergic to red meat. 😲
I have even used permethrin myself (it is sold as a hose attachment sprayer for ticks) 3 years ago before I knew it was so harmful to other insects and fish (I have a creek for a property line down the hill from my house).
Yep, that's right. I used to be one of those who just bought what they were selling and used it. But then I had no more crickets singing, or bees on the wildflowers, or butterflies in the yard, or treefrogs chirping, or stick bugs and praying mantis roaming around. My yard in the country became as desolate as my old yard in the city. So I did 10 minutes of research via Google and discovered what I had done to my little slice of heaven. Ten more minutes of research led me to peppermint oil, which is the main ingredient in most organic, pet safe, kid safe flea and tick repellents.
Now I keep my grass short and clear the leaves from the 2 acre clearing around my house and have very few ticks there. But a walk through my woods is a tick collecting adventure. 😉
And now I research BEFORE I buy. Better late than never...
So for ticks, especially when we lived in Missouri, I used to get powdered sulfur an put it in an old sock, then we would tap that around the bottom of our pants legs and legs.. it kept the ticks off real well
 
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Snoobug

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Iowa
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So for wasps we could spray peppermint oil on the soffits and around our deck (around the house, not pool)?
 

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