Guest Post: Wasp Control that Works, by Patrice Lewis

A few days ago I put up a post about the horrifically bad wasp year we’re having. Outdoor activities had to be suspended except before dawn or after dark because of how many stinging insects were swarming the area.

We’re not alone — everyone we know is experiencing similar issues. Recently Don was in a hardware store, and he noticed they had shelves and shelves of wasp traps for people desperate to control them.

Wasps in this volume aren’t just annoying, they’re dangerous — particularly for people who have reactions to stings. Everyone felt they were being held hostage indoors. Nearly every day, we would set a trap and it would fill almost to the brim. Every. Single. Day.

Then a commenter named “MissV” (and possibly a second commenter, Anon5:29) posted a sure-fire method of killing wasps using fibronil, the active ingredient in Frontline (and knock-off brands) tick repellent for dogs. We just happened to have some (since Mr. Darcy was getting ticks up the whazoo this summer), so we decided to give this a go. This is what is being passed around on Google:

Fipronil is a broad-spectrum insecticide that disrupts the insect’s central nervous system. Fipronil is the main ingredient in Frontline and other flea and tick killer used on dogs. Recall that Frontline is placed on the dogs back at the withers and keeps the dog free of these pests. It is not harmful to pets or humans in the dosage of casual contact. It will kill other yellow jackets that come into contact with it as it dies in the nest.

Several of the flea and tick killers available at your pet store or at Big R (Petco, etc.) contain Fipronil. But be careful to get the product that contains only Fipronil as its active ingredient. When Fipronil is coupled with other ingredients, the wasps will ignore it.

Mix 6 to 10 drops into a golf ball sized gob of raw hamburger (if you macerate it in a blender it works better). Place this gob of poisoned meat into a small plastic cup. Add 1/2 of a cotton ball on which you squirt half the contents of a tube of RESCUE Yellowjacket Attractant found at most hardware stores. Place the poison bait cup in the shade 2 to 4 feet off the ground and 10 to 15 yards away from doors, patios, grills – people trafficked areas. 80% of the Yellowjacket nests within 100 yards will be dead within 24 hours. 95% will be gone in 48 hours. Renew the bait every day (Yellowjackets don’t like dried or rotting meat). After 4 days 100% of the Yellowjacket nests within 400 sq. yds. will be dead. Repeat baiting after 4 weeks for a few days. It should end your problem.

As a monitor on the success of the project this person kept one of the Rescue Yellowjacket Traps in the yard and dumped it every night to check on the quantity of wasps in the area each day. The count dropped from several hundred/day to 2-4 wasps/day in 2 days and in the forth day, there were none.

1. Use only Fipronil – no other active ingredient. It’s found in flea and tick killers.

2. Mix 0.1% with hamburger. 6 to 10 drops per golf ball sized gob. Macerated burger is better.

3. Add Rescue Attractant

4. Renew bait daily.

5. Continue use for 4 days.

6. Repeat after a month for a few days.

We decided to give this a try and set two traps. We started with two golf-ball sized balls of ground beef…

…and four small paper cups.

In two of the cups, we punched holes in the bottoms.

Then we got two cotton balls.

We already had on hand Rescue wasp attractant and Frontline Plus tick repellent.

We put the cotton balls in the bottoms of the paper cups that did NOT have holes punched in them…

…and added wasp attractant to the cotton.

Then we loosely fitted the paper cups with the perforated bottoms over the other cups.


Next we took the ground beef and mashed it up a bit more in a food chopper.


To this meat, Don added 16 drops of the fipronil tick repellent. Each meatball needs about eight drops of poison (I gather too much isn’t good) and since we had two meatball’s worth of ground beef, he added 16 drops.

Then I donned latex gloves (just in case) and mashed the meat and poison over and over and over.

Then we re-formed the meat into two meatballs and put them in the upper cups (the ones with the perforated bottoms). We put these in jars, capped them, and put them in the fridge overnight. You never want to put wasp attractant out during daylight hours — the stuff works instantly — so we stuck it in the fridge overnight so the meat wouldn’t go bad.


Early the next morning (well before sunrise), I removed the lids and put the jars in two locations, where doggies couldn’t go. Both locations were in the shade so the meat wouldn’t dry out too fast. One I put in the orchard, and the other I duct-taped to a small tree trunk along our driveway. In neither location were congregating wasps likely to bother anyone.

At first nothing happened. I think the chilled wasp attractant wasn’t doing its job until it had a chance to unchill. But within a couple of hours — my goodness — the bait was swarming with wasps.


All day long the wasps carried snippets of poisoned meat back to their nests.

By the next morning, the volume of meat was reduced by more than half, and there were some dead wasps in the jar.

I checked on some nearby nests and noticed the insects looked very lethargic. They weren’t moving much, and certainly weren’t flying around.


As the day progressed, the lack of wasps was extremely noticeable. There were a few, yes; but we estimate the quantity was down by 95 percent or more. To test this, Don baited a trap in the morning and set it out. by afternoon, it had caught maybe five wasps. Remember, previously this trip would be full to the brim.

The difference outside is staggering. We can walk around without a problem. The tension is gone — I didn’t realize how tense we were until the threat was removed.

We still have some wasps, so we’re going to repeat this procedure a second time, and possibly a third if needed.

This works, folks! If you’re plagued by wasps, I urge you to try this to control them.

And the nicest part of all? It doesn’t bother honeybees, which don’t eat meat and aren’t attracted to wasp attractant.

This article first appeared in Patrice’s excellent The Rural Revolution blog. Be sure to bookmark her blog site and visit it often!


  1. I dislike and don’t recommend introducing any broad spectrum insecticide into the environment this way, at least not if there’s a decent alternative that uses natural methods. It just so happens that I discovered one such way to rid an area of wasps, including yellowjackets, hornets, mud-dawbers, and just about any other type of wasp you can imagine.

    The simple trick, which cleared all the wasps out of a 3 city block area in a week, was to get a nice bone in pork shoulder roast, hang it off the cross brace for the clothes line in the back yard, place a bucket underneath it 2/3 full of water with a little dish soap mixed in. in the first 24 hours, the bucket was near full of dead wasps. Over the next two days, the body count became less and less, and the roast was stripped to the bone once and had to be replaced. At the end of that time, there wasn’t a single wasp of any kind to be found anywhere in the neighborhood. Prior to that, you couldn’t walk in the yard outside without shoes on or you’d get stung, they were so bad.

    Once you find their weakness, you exploit it. Wasps will gorge themselves on raw meat when they find it, and they can’t fly away, so they drop to the ground. In this case, they drop in the bucket and drown instead. You might think that a pork roast hanging out in the heat would start to smell, and it did for a bit, till the wasps got a whiff, then they ate it so fast it didn’t have time to spoil.

    One warning. You need to make sure you hang the roast so other critters can’t get to it. A fenced in yard should keep the neighbor’s dog out. You just gotta be smart about it and think who might be around. If need be, you could enclose the whole setup in a temporary cage setup of some sort. The wasps won’t care about it being caged, as long as they can get to it.

  2. We do it a little different,
    Fill a 5 gallon bucket with a couple of gallons water, hang a fish over bucket, wasps eat fish, fall into bucket. All the wasps magically disappear from around your living space and end up in the bucket . It’s amazing to see the wasps eat all the flesh off a trout, all thats left is the bones and head. Depending on how many wasps, they can consume a whole fish in a couple of days, Just make sure you empty the bucket and refill when the surface of the water is full of dead wasps. We do it in the early morning hrs before it starts getting warm.

  3. What a wonderful submission. It is on the list to try immediately. We have the wasp attractant and will purchase the Frontline product. My wife is allergic, and after being bit/stung twice in two weeks my first year in the redoubt I went to war with the critters. Hopefully this will resolve the issue quickly every spring.

  4. I saw this post yesterday, too, and was intrigued by the idea the wasps themselves would return treated proteins to the nests and kill everyone, including the queen, in record time.

    But I didn’t understand why the flea and tic treatments had to contain ONLY FIPRONIL. I put out research requests to our County Extension and a site called, which markets itself as a do-it-yourself pest control source.

    After Do My Own regurgitated the ubiquitous PTA pap about not being able to recommend any poison be added to something edible to humans, the bottom line was that FIPRONIL, the active ingredient in pet flea and tic treatments Frontline and Sentry, was by itself incredibly effective against all kinds of insects.

    However OTC “Plus” products contain other ingredients such as methoprene, which interrupts the flea and tic lifecycle so it gets eggs, larvae and pupae / nymphs too.)

    The rep explained this extra ingredient could be slightly repellent to some wasps, which is contrary to the whole point of poison bait, but that it had no action on them and shouldn’t really be a factor in a DYI wasp bait.

    Being a sales rep, he of course recommended two of the company’s own products, TAURUS, which is 9.1% FIPRONIL, and ONSLAUGHT, the active ingredient of which is ESFENVALERATE, a synthetic pyrethrum.

    They have an entire kits and offer online instructions here:

    (Insert here the usual I have no financial association, don’t get nothin’ for talking about it, yadda yadda yadda….)

    I also found an interesting study conducted between 2012 and 2014 published in the International Journal of Pest Management entitled “Controlling Yellow-jackets with Fipronil-based Protein Baits in Urban Recreational Areas.”

    They suggest micro-polymere water absorbing crystals, such as are used in potting soil, mixed with FIPRONIL and the juice from canned chicken as an alternative to hamburger. It’s supposed to last longer than fresh meat, and since honey bees go for sugars, not proteins, they won’t be exposed.

    There’s a wasp sting on my stern that’s been itching for 5 days now, and we’re pretty much paralyzed here, getting nothing done outside. I’m going to try them all!

  5. This is better than pouring gas on a ground nest, accidentally igniting the gas vapors and then nearly catching the fence on fire on a hot summer day! Thank you for this good idea.

  6. Back on the farm we had a maggotry i.e. a cone of 1/4 in. hardware cloth hung up in the chicken yard that we dumped all of your noncompostable food and meat trimmings. The fly’s would lay eggs and the maggots would drop to the ground and be eaten. I wounder if chickens could eat gorged wasps without harm?

  7. Thank you so much for this post!!! I am nursing a bad wasp sting on my hand from yesterday.

    The war is on and now I have the ammunition to do battle and WIN.

    Excellent post 😉

  8. If you want to have fun and get some target practice in while ridding the yard of yellow jackets, try the Bug-A-Salt gun. I tried it out on the yellow jackets raiding the apple tree, and found that the first hit will either mess em up good or at least partially cripple them. They don’t seem to make the connection to the person firing the gun, so they don’t attack you if you miss. The Bug-A-Salt is a air powered shotgun using table salt. It’s a LOT of fun!

  9. TIP: After spraying and killing wasps working on their cone, do not remove it. Leave it in place and you will find that wasps will not return at a later date as they detect something is wrong with that location.

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