Nobody likes bugs, and wasps are among the most dreaded of all insects due to their nasty sting and tendency to nest in the most inconvenient places for humans. For those in the mobile lifestyle, this can go from an inconvenience to a major problem. So what are you supposed to do when wasps nest in your camper or motorhome?
To remove wasps and nests from your camper or motorhome, you can use the trash bag method. Using WD-40 is also effective as a prevention measure and wasp killer. Regular prevention is important to make sure that wasps don’t place nests in the future as well.
This article will go into greater detail regarding how to identify a wasp infestation, prevention, and how to remove any nests in your camper or motorhome safely.
Most wasps aren’t actually native to North America and have generally made their way here from other continents by way of stowing away in transports.
Most people think of wasps as just an annoyance whose sole purpose in life is to annoy people by nesting in the most inconvenient places and stinging people at the worst of times. Surprisingly, wasps are actually a beneficial presence in the ecosystems they usually thrive.
Vital Yet Irritating
Wasps are among the most dreaded insects out there, but they do actually serve a positive role in the environment and ecosystems in which they live. Some people keep wasp nests around to get rid of other pests in gardens, like caterpillars, for example. Caterpillars are very dangerous for a gardener, as they’re known to destroy entire crops and plants.
This is where the wasps come in. Wasps need large amounts of protein in order to feed their larvae in the large papier-mache nests you’ve no doubt seen. This protein is why they eat caterpillars and similar small pests. Wasps are social animals with a single queen and many larvae; with the wasps you see buzzing around acting as workers and soldiers.
In addition, wasps are actually prolific pollinators, just like bees! At the same times of year that bees become prevalent, wasps generally do too because they like the nectar of flowers just as much as bees do. Unfortunately, that thirst for sugar is also why they bother humans with food so much.
Not only do wasps eat pests, but they eat decomposing bugs and animals that may produce toxic compounds that harm other animals or the environment. They basically take bites of roadkill and other decomposing animals and return it to their nest, where it’s chewed into manageable mush for larvae to eat and grow.
Types of Wasps
It can be important to know the different species of wasps that exist in order to accurately identify what you’re dealing with in your home. Some species are more aggressive than others, and some just want to live in relative peace.
Yellowjacket wasps are probably the most well-known and likely to disturb an outside meal. These guys can be relentless in their quest for your soda, beer, or food. They have distinctive yellow and black stripes all across their body. These wasps have been known to go as far as 1,000 feet away from their nest in order to find food, making finding their nests in the wild a pain.
Yellowjackets build nests that resemble papier-mache combs with layers built inside. These nests can be located nearly anywhere there are space and adequate food sources nearby. Generally, they search for protein sources in the spring to feed their larvae, and when the larvae are grown up in the fall, they mainly look for sugar. They don’t care whether that sugar is natural or your food, so watch out!
Mud daubers are among the most harmless of wasps, but make no mistake: they sting when provoked! These wasps are identified by their long black and yellow or black and blue bodies, characterized by their slim waists. Mud daubers are special among wasps because they’re not territorial about their nests and won’t swarm you the way other wasps will.
True to their name, mud dauber wasps make their nests out of mud just about anywhere there’s a supply nearby. Unlike yellowjackets, mud daubers are mostly solitary and spend their time building nests for their larvae.
Mud daubers are also known to take over abandoned nests, even of other wasp species. This is where your knowledge of their appearance comes in.
Mud daubers are some of the most useful wasps to allow living outside your home because they kill dangerous insects like black widow spiders using paralyzing venom. If you have a spider problem, consider letting those mud daubers outside of your camper live.
Paper wasp nests are easy to identify, resembling inverted paper umbrellas that are open to the air, unlike other wasps that construct closed nests. They have a yellow and black body, but with more black than yellowjacket wasps.
Generally, paper wasps aren’t that aggressive, but they will sting repeatedly if their nest is threatened. Unlike some other wasps, paper wasp nests are typically small and don’t house more than 100 wasps at a time.
These are what most people know as hornets. They have a yellow and black body, not unlike that of a yellowjacket, but are noticeably larger. While normally harmless, if hornets live too close to people, they can become aggressive over proximity to their nest and food sources.
Hornets love all the same things wasps do, including sugar and protein. Hornets pollinate just like bees and can sting repeatedly when they feel threatened.
Hornet nests appear to be covered in paper because they are – they chew up wood and produce a paper-like substance that they use to cover their nests from light. If dark spaces are available for them to nest in, they may forgo the paper covering.
Inspecting Your Motorhome for Wasps
If you’ve seen wasps around but aren’t sure whether they’re in your home or just the area you’re located in, the natural first step is to fully inspect your home for any potential nests.
This can be a dangerous task because if you suddenly uncover a nest, wasps may swarm and sting you. Always exercise caution when looking for nests. If you’re allergic to wasps, consider asking a trusted friend or professional to check for you for the sake of safety.
Where To Look
There are a lot of places to look, especially in a larger camper, but anywhere there are crevices that may remain undisturbed for long periods of time.
A few of these places are:
- Wasps love to take up residence in vents because there are usually lots of them in any mobile home.
- Wasps especially love cabinets because food and food debris may be there, and there’s a greater chance of a nest in your cabinets if your home has been left undisturbed for a long time.
- Refrigerators have a lot of small crevices that wasps can worm their way into and nest. These include the ventilation system and spaces behind or around the fridge.
- Unused stoves run the risk of wasps nesting there, especially if you’ve left any food debris or residue in or around it.
Can You Remove a Wasps Nest From a Camper, Caravan, or Motorhome?
It can be a daunting task to remove such a dangerous infestation by yourself, and you may wonder if it’s possible at all. After all, there are exterminators out there that take care of this sort of thing all the time, right?
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly doable to get rid of wasps on your own, with the help of a little know-how and the correct precautions and tools. If you have serious doubts about your safety or just need an extra hand, consider asking a friend or family member to aid you in this brave venture.
Even if you have a nest infesting your home, it’s always a good idea to practice prevention for the future, and so you can advise any friends or relatives of what to do if they’re on the road. Killing the nests is fine, but prevention is forever. Believe me, taking the proper precautions today can save you a lot of trouble down the line!
Wasps and other flying insects generally don’t just go around looking to annoy people. Wasps, like most animals, are primarily motivated by food. Another bug to look out for is bees, which are attracted by many of the same things wasps are.
Strong-smelling perfumes, lotions, soaps, or other hygiene products can also attract these bugs, so try to minimize using products with a strong smell, even though they may be pleasant!
When you’re done eating in or around your camper or motorhome, always be sure to put any leftovers where bugs can’t get to them, such as your refrigerator. Even in a fridge, it may be wise to use locking containers so bugs still can’t smell the food.
The fewer smells that may draw wasps, the better. Remember, wasps have no reason to enter your home or bother you at all if you make it seem like you don’t have anything they like.
When dining outdoors, try to keep food covered unless you’re actively eating it. As pleasant as those wafting aromas smell to you, they smell just as good to hungry wasps.
Keeping food dishes covered when not being eaten can greatly reduce the likelihood that any nearby nests will sniff out your dinner. Remember, yellowjackets can go very far for a meal!
Another common source of wasp-attracting odors is trash. Trash stored anywhere but a locking trash can will emit food odors that essentially send out buffet invitations to wasps and other bugs. Immediately disposing of trash bags is also an option. If you choose to keep a can, there are even some defensive steps in our next section that you can take to minimize wasps coming near.
On the flip side, there are certain colors of clothing that may attract wasps. Rather, brown-ish and reddish clothing may actually antagonize wasps in your area – this is because those are the colors of their natural predators out in the wild. Bright colors and floral patterns can also attract bees that wander around and mistake you for a flower!
Take Defensive Measures
If you’re going to eat outside, try putting a bottle of water with a piece of fruit and some sugar in it away from your campsite. This will act as a decoy to bugs like wasps which may come investigating the delicious smells emanating from your home. Sugar and fruit attract them, and for some reason, wasps can’t find their way out of water bottles, so this is an effective wasp trap.
We talk more about WD-40 later, but it is an effective way to kill and deter wasps from specific areas you don’t want them in.
Is It Safe To Remove a Nest From a Camper, Caravan, or Motorhome?
Now that you know it is possible to remove a wasp’s nest from your mobile home yourself, your next question is probably whether it’s safe to do or not. Safety is always a legitimate concern when dealing with any kind of wildlife. Still, stinging insects like wasps present an understandable risk that not everyone wants to or can deal with.
Some people are allergic to wasps and may be at risk of deadly anaphylactic shock if stung by even one wasp, requiring emergency medication like epinephrine, or even professional medical services.
If you’re one of these people who are allergic to wasp stings, there are precautions you can take to reduce your chances of being stung if you decide to try doing this yourself.
Also, as mentioned above, there’s no shame in asking for help out of concern for your own safety.
Precautions When Inspecting and Removing Wasps Nests
The number one thing you want to do when preparing for inspection and removal of a wasp’s nest is to cover your skin. And yes, I mean all of it. No matter the weather, you want long sleeves, pants, hat, scarf, and ideally a hoodie and protective eyewear.
Safety glasses are best, but any kind of glasses should work as long as they cover the entirety of your eyes and eye area. And most importantly, but not least, gloves!
You should tuck your outerwear into your pants and wrap the scarf around your face for maximum protection. Remember, the idea here is to completely cover every inch of exposed skin so that you don’t get stung. Tuck your ears into your beanie or hat, and inspect yourself to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
Wasps are crafty creatures, so they’ll also let you know if you leave any skin open for attack!
Another consideration is anyone with you or nearby your mobile home. If you’re at a campsite or other populated area, consider moving to a more remote area such as a backwoods road or abandoned urban area. If you’re certain that you have wasps, be careful to protect yourself as much as possible when relocating your home, but not so much that you can’t see or navigate!
How To Safely Remove a Nest From a Camper, Caravan or Motorhome
Now that you’ve located the wasp’s nest and have protected yourself with armor/clothing, you want to plan your attack for, ideally, the dead of night or a little while before sunrise. This is the time that wasps are all most likely back at their nest and the least active out of any time of day.
Getting rid of the nest at this time will maximize your chances that you kill all the wasps that have been congregating at that nest.
Trash Bag Method
This may not be possible in small nooks and crannies inside, but if a nest has made its way onto the outside of your camper, you can try this method. Have a can of bug spray nearby for any stragglers!
- Take a black trash bag and slowly, carefully place it over the nest. You must do this extremely carefully, so you don’t disturb and agitate the wasps in or around the nest.
- When you have the nest covered, detach it from wherever it’s attached to your home.
- Take great care to completely seal the bag because you’re certain to have extremely angry wasps swarming around in there looking for a way out!
- Dispose of the bag. You may try putting it in another bag before putting it in your locking trash can if you want to be extra sure the wasps can’t get out.
Professional bug exterminators have their own proprietary chemicals they use to kill bugs. Still, not everyone can afford to hire a professional and just need the wasps gone quickly and for as cheaply as possible.
This is where the trusty WD-40 comes in. WD-40 has been used for everything from actual lubrication to removing paint, but the point is that the stuff is very common to have around the house, on wheels or not.
You may or may not already have a can of WD-40 lying around for its many, many uses, but did you know that yet another use of this miracle lubricant is as a bug killer? Amateur wasp killers have been using WD-40 to kill wasps for many years with great success. So how does this supposed miracle wasp killer work exactly?
- Spray the WD-40 liberally into any areas you suspect or know wasps are nesting. You should make sure to thoroughly soak the area to kill any wasps that try to flee.
- When taking aim at a nest, soak it extremely well. I mean, get it totally saturated and dripping with the WD-40. Ideally, you should do this during the evening hours when wasps are more likely to be at the nest. Plus, wasps are less active and move more slowly at night.
- Wait 30 minutes to an hour to ensure that all wasps are dead. If you see any flying around trying to escape your wrath, spray them down.
- Making sure you’re protected, remove the nest carefully, and dispose of it in a thick bag. Get rid of it in a locking trash can.
You can regularly spray WD-40 on and around likely areas for wasps to nest as a deterrent. As long as you keep food where they can’t get it, they’ll have no reason to bother you anymore.