Paper Wasps Attack

Last weekend I needed to rid the back door of our home of some paper wasps. Not knowing of a sure fire way to safely get rid of them, I turned to a trusty bottle of Mortein. As it turns out, paper wasps really don’t enjoy getting dosed with Mortein. In fact, as soon as I sprayed the paper wasp nest – they immediately reacted by flying around furiously looking for something to lay into. Expecting that they were going to go berserk, I was able to get away without getting stung.

Today, I was weeding in the back yard and I unfortunately chanced upon another paper wasp nest in an unlikely position. Worst though, is that I had no idea it was there until I felt the crisp, sharp pain of a paper wasp stinging my thumb! Initially, I thought I’d just brushed it against something sharp and didn’t think anything of it until it happened again, at which point I could see the paper wasps swarming away from their nest. I was pretty lucky in the end, there were about a dozen paper wasps and I was only stung twice on the thumb and it didn’t swell that much. That said, its about six hours since I was stung and I still can’t bend my thumb completely pain free.

Moral of the story, only get close to live paper wasps and their nests if you’re packing a bit fat bottle of Mortein.

37 thoughts on “Paper Wasps Attack

  1. they hurt like a bitch dont they! Last time I got stung was when I was 16 and I can still remember the discomfort. It was similar to what you describe, except that they stung me in the webbing between my index and middle fingers.

    Best approach with getting rid of them is to wait until just after dusk. They generally all come back to the nest by dusk and you can usually be sure of getting rid of all of them in one go without having to worry about missing some and the nest going back up the next day.

  2. Ouch.

    I was stung on Saturday as well! They nested on the side door of my garage and I did not notice it (it was dark) until I shut the door and got stung ON MY BACK. (Plus another one on my index finger but the one on my back really hurts).

    They are still there, but I’ll bring a bottle of Mortein this time.

  3. I have found the best thing to clean them up quickly is a can of WD40. It seems that the super penetrating power of the oily WD40 is unfriendly with wasps and their nests.
    Drops them in about two minutes.

  4. you guys got off lightly, I seem to get stung a couple of times every summer, I can’t see the nest as it is hidden in the bushes. But I get massive swelling. Last year I was bitten on the hand, my arm swelled up to past my elbow. Last week I got bitten again on the stomach of all places. I ended up with about a 9 inch round area of severe swelling followed by bruising, I have just been bitten on the neck and it is past dusk!

  5. The paper wasp is supposed to be beneficial to the garden by cleaning up caterpillars but to hell with that; those damn paper wasps give me nightmares! They are so aggressive and their sting is like a snake bite! There must be a natural predator to these creeps!?

  6. This was wierd. I wasn’t 100% sure whether these were exactly paper wasps, but they sure did look like it, with nest and all. Anyways, i was taking in the clothes of the washing line one day, when i felt a prick on my hand; i look around and saw wasps flying around, then there nest which was about 2 inches away from my hand. However, this sting didn’t hurt. It didnt sting, and barely swelled up. After 15 min, it was barely noticable anymore…???

  7. Kollen,

    Given that you said that it didn’t really hurt, I doubt that they were paper wasps. I’ve been bitten a few times over the years and it certainly hurts enough that you know you’ve been bitten.


  8. I’m like you guys, got stung this in December and it stung like hell. Unlike a green ant bite that went away shortly after the bite but its 2 days later and I still have swelling and it hurts quite a bit!

  9. Apparently there are native paper wasps and a number of introduced species, also called paper wasps because they all build papery nests. Our paperwasps tend to be smaller and are also less aggressive – they will usually only sting if you bother them or their nest, whereas the introduced ones may not need a reason! I think the mostly brown, smaller ones tend not to be such a problem, whereas the ones with more yellow, that are larger and that build the disc-shaped nest suspended from one stalk tend to be more aggro in my experience. Reactions to a sting depend on the person, and probably also on how many times they are or have been bitten before and on which part of the body they cop it! I go for the LARGE can of Baygon Flying Insect killer (to give a big soak) and then run like hell while still spraying. Any flying insecticide that says it kills wasps would work and Ive also heard of WD40 being used with effect on people who have been bitten at sea by jellyfish and other marine stingers.

  10. Well i can tell you i got stung 4 times just before Christmas 2008 when i was pruning a hedge. I copped 2 on the arm 1 on the back and 1 on the cheek. It felt like some one butted their cigarette out on me on 4 different spots. The pain lasted about 1/2 hour but no side affects. Then would you believe i copped it again just into the new year, there was a nest in my garage just about head height and as walked past it, bang!! 3 more stings, this time 2 on my chin and one on the side of my neck. I thought ok this isn’t much fun anymore and destroyed their little nest with some strong fly spray..In the meantime the stings were calming down and became itchy and i thought that would clear up soon, but when i woke up the next morning my throat had swollen up to the extent i looked like the elephant man.I could breathe and swallow ok so their was no need to panick, so off to the doctors for some medication. It seems the more times you get stung the more chance of getting stronger side effects to the stings. What gets me is, you don’t know they are there until you cop it.

  11. I got attacked yesterday and got hit several times. The worst was one that flew straight at my eye and got me on the eyelid. Yesterday the swelling was minor, today I look like I’ve done 10 rounds with Anthony Mundine! Anyone know how long this swelling lasts?

  12. I got done by two this week – it kills, it was the first time too. Turns out I can die from being bitten, well that’s what the doctor said when I came to in the hospital. My Dad killed them today with hair spray frist so none could get out of the nest than with fly spray.

  13. I live in South West Western Australia, having just moved from the central wheat belt. We have all sorts of nasty critters out there but these South West wasps are the worst!

    We have about 30 nests around the house and contrary to what i have read, a few of the nests are over 20-30 cm in diameter and with up to 30 wasps on each.

    I’ve found the most effective way to kill them is with a can of hairspray and a cigarette lighter. Once you hit them with the flames it burns their wings, making it easier to kill them without risk of getting stung.

  14. I got stung awhile ago at my place while pruning a palm got me just below the eye no biggy just gets itchy, but I have a bismark palm out the back and they love it. I find it best and most entertaining for my missus and the neighbours if I rug balaclava overalls gloves can of de-solve it citrus in the pump spray and a lighter I hit em then run like hell …

  15. I have a paper wasp nest and it must have a 1000 of the little buggers, got hammered this morning, caused me all sorts of pain, jumped in the shower real quick. They might be small, but gee they protect their home

    Will try doing something after dark, they are on my solar hot water system that I need to fix so have to get rid of them

  16. I got whacked by something twice in one go on the palm and the wrist in france. i dont know if it was a euro paper wasp??? The critters that got me were greeny yellow and much bigger than a common wasp The pain was similar to shea’s experience intense like an electric shock then a swelling of the effected area for about 24-36 hours.felt like lava following through my veins, as my wrist and hand expanded. My advice is if you get stung don’t kill the stinger, however tempting this is, run for it.I think they release a pheromone that tells their mates they copped it and then things really kick of. Within a few seconds half a dozen of them were airborn. Also if your handling anything wooden inspect it carefully first the one that initially got me was munching on the side of a gate and i cupped it.I always kick that gate open now.

  17. I was watering the garden a couple of days ago and disturbed a nest of those rotten little paper wasps. Did they come at me fast I got over dozen bites on my left hand and a couple on my right.

    That night after I went to bed I woke up in the middle of the hight and my left hand was hot and really itchy, I had to put under the cold water then put ice on it.But the next day my hand had swollen right up, so when I tried to make a fist I couldn’t see my knuckles. Then later that day my wrist started to swell up as well.

    It was a couple of days before the swelling started to go down. So it seems that the more you get bitten the more of a reaction you get. (Nasty)

  18. Got stung on the arm just above the elbow on Saturday, put ice on it straight away. Felt ok next morning but today it’s the size of a peach, very hot to touch and very red. This has been about my 4th time stung by the little mites….

  19. Have been stung by these buggers and have to take antihistamine tablets and a quartazone tablet from my doctor. You get multiple stings from the same one, the best way I have found to remove the buggers is to by an aerosol product from the hardware called Funally Wasp Kill and the best thing because it shoots 4 metres if you hold it correctly buggers die quick nest and all.

  20. I hate them, they once sting my mother on the arm and finger but luckily I found a cure on the internet. But seriously can’t we just kill them and the caterpillars too.

  21. I got stung 3 times last week on the arm and underarm. It is still itchy but the redness and swelling went down yesterday. I was watering and pulled the hose off rocks and they came at me. I did not see them come, go or bite but this is the 3rd time I have been bitten.

    My husband usually waits till night and then uses the blow torch on them. We have had huge nests in the fruit trees and gum trees up the padock at times.

    Sally what was the cure you found on the internet? I found ice pack and SOOV jell the best but did use bicarb past when it happened.

  22. 10 bite story…..I was having a great day out on my friends property, wonderful, beautiful peaceful place but then aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! Next thing I knew I’m running for my life, my partner screaming RUN!!RUN!! like a war zone.

    I’m stinging like never before. I had no idea what it could be as I’m French/Canadian out in the Australian bush, then I look down at my dress and see these two huge wasps clinging and stinging into my clothes. My partner flicked them off and we continue on our exit from their zone.

    When we were clear in the distance we counted 10 good bites, 2 stomach, 2 hand, 3 right side ribs and 3 on my ass! I felt buzzed for an hour and still quite itchy the next day. A swim in the local water hole definitely helped ease the initial pain.

    I don’t like wasps.

  23. Yesterday I was cutting some bushes outside the bedroom window. I had been working in this area for a while until I got stung by something on the arm. I went inside and applied Tea Tree Oil which took the sting away. I hadn’t seen any insects so I thought I had accidentally disturbed whatever and I went out and carried on. Straight away I got stung again and this time I saw the small paper wasps in the air. Ouch! and in for some more tea tree oil! I decided to give gardening in this part of the garden a miss and went to retrieve my ardening tools. Big mistake! They came down on me like an organiized armada and got me on the nose and on the cheek. More tea tree oil and an antihistamine tablet (I only had Claratyne tablets). With a fly net over my head and a bottle of Baygon in front of me I finally retrieved the garden tools. The bites settled initially but the following morning I woke up looking like I had been punched in the face. I had previously been stung by a paper wasp in a finger and the whole hand got swollen and it lasted a good week. This happened in the same area of the garden about four months ago. I coudn’t find the nest then. I think it is still there and I am not game enough to go lookin for it so I don’t where to spray. However, having read the previous 25 replies I will try and get WD 40 and Wasp Kill to be prepared. PS. I live in the south-west of Western Australia.

  24. The more one gets stung with these little beasties the worse the reaction – the venon is residual.
    The local swelling recedes but the itch seems to remain for much longer.
    Dangerous little devils.

  25. Mate these paper wasps are a pain in the ! i got bitten yesterday in the eye well my eye lid i think there smart they go for ya eyes anyways wasnt that painfull but it did sting wouldent of been as bad anywere else but in the eye stings i guess the more u get stung the worse it would be someone should blow em all up.

  26. Well, here I was, out admiring my palm gardening – talking to the plants like they tell us to – telling them I am admiring their growth, how big they have grown, and as long as we own this house, they will continue to grow…then, wham, something flew up my right nostril!!!

    Next moment as my hand goes to my nose, there is a stinging sensation and a crawling insect in my nostril. Finger goes there to try to remove it and bam, stinging again and again, everytime I tried to scrap it out of my nostril,it stung me. Evenutally I got it out and threw it to the ground so it didn’t bite me again then quickly ran inside to collect my thoughts.

    Little begger stung me in my inner nostril. Luckily it didn’t get a chance to get in too far. Before you ask – I have tiny nostrils. Then I grabbed a face mask and hat and can of insect spray and went a hunting. Found one little nest of black wasps on the side of the house and sprayed them.

    Slowly I went back into the garden, and found this huge papery type nest about 30cm long with masses of these tiny bright yellow wasps. At least 100 if not more as the nest is aprx 15cm across. Bye Bye wasps!!! Will venture out again this evening and have another go. Will also try the WD40.

    So now, I am waiting to see how I will be reacting to these stings. Hubby had about 30 sting him over his face whilst he was mowing with the ride-on last year – poor dear – looked as if he coped a beating and stayed that way for about a week.

  27. Everyone seems hell bent on killing them and, like many organisms, being attacked gives them motive to attack back.

    There’s another path:

    Paper nest wasps are located in places where instinct suggests the nests will not be rained upon — under eaves or big leaves or anywhere sheltered. So it stands to reason that if they get rained on they will either:

    1) fail or;
    2) relocate

    but wasps can’t sting rain, they have no motive to try.

    So instead of reaching for pesticide, I grab the garden hose and simulate some rain. Not a forceful blast, but a misty spray that saturates the nest. They hunker down. After a couple of treatments they conclude they picked a bad spot and relocate. No stings, no chemicals, no kills.

  28. I have just moved to the South West of W.A. from the city and this is the first time I have seen our little friends the Paper Wasps.

    Unfortunately, this is the second time I have been stung by them & the swelling and itch is really bad this time round. I was cutting the large fonds off a tree fern and didn’t see the nest underneath the fond. The wasps came at me so quickly I was stung on the hand before running into the house.

    I returned with the Mortien & gave them a serve. In the past I have treated them to a shower of water daily and it does seem to work and they’ll move on eventually. However, when you don’t know that they are there – they have the advantage.

    Cure… trusty old Family Medical book suggests that we use a little vinegar or rubbing alcohol and even good old Calamine lotion.

    Some people are allergic to the stings of wasps and bees, so don’t always dismiss the sting as “it will be all right”.

    I have declared war on them now.

  29. I was stung by a paper wasp (or wasps, yellow and black type) on the side of my neck and behind one ear lobe a week and a half ago when I unpegged some clothing about half a metre away from their nest under the eaves of the verandah. The swelling has only just gone from those bites but one week later I was bitten on the back of my hand. This time the swelling is much worse and more painful. Aspirin is easing the pain but only alternating hot and cold water immersions of the hand are easing the swelling (for a few hours at a time). The location is bushland at the foot of the Watagan Mountains, Lake Macquarie, NSW. I have lived here for 45 years but this is the first time I have been bitten here. My only other wasp bite was about 60 years ago on lower Yorke Peninsula, SA, and that bite made me almost unable to walk the km or so back to the farm house where I was put to bed and did not wake up until the next morning. I do not know what type of wasp that was but the offence was walking on a farm track near a tree where the nest was. I was about 10 years old then.

  30. Hmm, native paper wasps ( red or red and yellow) aren’t very aggressive, although they pack a very nasty sting. (worse than that of european hornets) Yes, they are beneficial to the garden and I’ve never been stung once by them, although they no doubt will if you f*ck with ’em.

    The european paper wasp, which looks more like a yellow jacket, is actually smaller than the native variety, although I don’t think their sting is any less painful. They’re more aggressive than the native species and can be a pest, so you might wanna get rid of those.

  31. I think i was stung by paper wasps last week during the morning hours, when I uprooted a bush that the wasp were inhabiting. The swelling took place maybe a couple of hours after the sting, but subsided by the evening. However, the swelling induced once more over night, covering a good part of my arm coupled with redness and itching. This went on for almost 72 hours, but my real concern is…every time I go outside the house, soon after there are about 3 to 5 wasps surrounding me. One seems to grap my attention while the another gets behind me. Is this really happening? Am I being hunted and if so, for how long? The color of the bees seems like a reddish brown, and there tails seem to be pointed towards the ground-(maybe some time of attack position). Mostly, they surround me as I take a smoke near my car-(around the corner of the old hive and atleast 30 feet away). The wasp show up after about spending 7 to 10 mins outside. It’s been over 4 days, could it be the wasp somehow know me? How long will this go on?

  32. I’ve been tearing around on my ride-on and taken out a nest with my shoulder. After feeling like the whole nest stung me on the shoulder I floored that ride-on outta there. Best way to do it is at night..they can’t see then. Know where the nests are and get them all at once. Tie a bit of rag around a long stick and soak the rag in fuel. The bigger the flame the better so none get away to make a new nest. Burn the wings off and the ants get them by the morning. The fun part is, you get to run around with a burning stick like a caveman. It’ll put carbon on whatever is above it, like your house, but it can be cleaned off the next day. Maybe there’s a risk of setting your house on fire. Don’t hold it under your eaves, etc for more than 4 seconds. Thought I better add that. A risk free solution that eventually rids you of them.

  33. I was bit yesterday afternoon by a stray paper wasp that made its way into my house and bit me on the lip while i was sleeping. It was the thin long brown kind, and it definitely hurt for a few hours, but by the end of the day it was barely a reminder, and the swelling was down. Woke up this morning and finally found the culprit on the floor. Think I’m going to go buy some pesticides today and get rid of some nests. >.<

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