Using Lysol for Wasp Control: Effectiveness and Safety

Will Lysol Kill a Wasp?

Wasps are stinging insects that can become aggressive when their nest is disturbed, posing a hazard. Lysol spray is a household disinfectant that contains ingredients like ethanol, alkali salts, and essential oils. With wasp nests frequently found around homes, using Lysol against wasps may seem like an easy solution. However, there are important factors to consider before using Lysol in this manner.

This article covers:

  • Active ingredients in Lysol and how they work
  • Risks of using Lysol against wasps
  • Correct procedures to spray wasps with Lysol
  • Signs Lysol has been effective in killing wasps
  • Limitations and low effectiveness of Lysol for wasp nests
  • More reliable wasp control alternatives
  • Preventing wasp nests around the home

While Lysol can kill some wasps with direct contact, it has restrictions that make it far from an ideal wasp control option. With improved understanding of proper pest management tactics, wasps can be safely deterred without resorting to improvised and potentially hazardous solutions.

beekeeper harvesting honey

How Lysol Kills Germs

The active ingredients in Lysol spray that enable it to kill microbes like bacteria and viruses include:

  • Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium saccharinate – Disrupts cell membrane function
  • Ethanol – Denatures proteins and dissolves cell membranes
  • Essential oils like cedar and lemon – Disorganize cell contents

When cellular structures and processes are damaged by these compounds, microorganisms cannot survive. Viruses are unable to replicate. The ingredients work synergistically to terminate contagious germs on surfaces.

Dangers of Using Lysol on Wasps

While Lysol can kill microbes under certain conditions, there are risks to using it against wasps:

  • Inhalation of fumes may cause breathing difficulty, coughing, and lung irritation
  • Flammable ingredients like ethanol pose a fire hazard near ignition sources like grills or cigarettes
  • Contact with skin or eyes causes irritation, burning, redness and possible corrosion
  • Lysol has not been scientifically evaluated for killing wasps or bees and may be ineffective
  • Spraying may agitate wasps and provoke aggressive stinging attacks
  • Harmful residues contaminate areas, endangering pets and beneficial insects

The Centres for Disease Control specifically discourages attempting to apply Lysol directly to stinging insects like wasps despite some claims of effectiveness. The dangers generally outweigh any benefits.

bees landing on a beehive

Procedures for Using Lysol on Wasps

If choosing to spray wasps with Lysol despite the hazards, procedures should include:

  • Spraying from a minimum distance of 6-8 feet to avoid provoking attacks
  • Wearing protective clothing like goggles, gloves, and long sleeves
  • Avoiding ignition sources as Lysol can be flammable
  • Ensuring proper ventilation to dilute fumes during and after spraying
  • Checking that spray does not contact pets, edible plants, or Bee hives
  • Limiting spraying to targeted individual insects rather than extensive surface application
  • Stopping immediately if stinging behavior increases and evacuation is necessary

The limited effectiveness means extensive exposure is unlikely to control substantial wasp numbers, especially within protected nests. Safer alternatives exist.

Signs Lysol Was Effective in Killing Wasps

Indications Lysol sprayed directly on wasps had lethal effects include:

  • Wasps dropping immediately to ground after contact and cessation of movement
  • Failure to move or fly off after several minutes
  • Lack of recovery even once Lysol residue dissipates
  • Absence of wasps exiting the nest out of disturbed sites previously active
  • Reduced returns to areas where wasps were sprayed

However, such definitive lethal effects may be sporadic. Knockdown without mortality allows wasps to quickly recover and even become more aggressive.

a lot of bees landing on a beehive

Limitations of Lysol for Wasp Nests

Several factors limit Lysol for eliminating wasp nests:

  • Cannot penetrate nest interiors where wasps are protected
  • Very short residual effectiveness as alcohol evaporates
  • Insects have higher resistance than microbes to surface disinfectants
  • Does not prevent new wasps from entering and refurbishing nest sites
  • Requires spraying large numbers of individual insects for population control
  • Nests may be in difficult to reach spots like wall voids or under eaves

Consequently, Lysol has low efficiency at truly eliminating infested nests. Targeted pesticides or professional removal are more effective strategies.

Better Wasp Control Alternatives

Instead of improvising with Lysol, recommended ways to remove wasp nests include:

  • Insecticide dusts, concentrates, or foams applied directly into nest openings for sustained kill effect. Use according to precise label directions.
  • Residual sprays around nest building surfaces to repel initial colonization. These have lasting repellent effects.
  • Removing food attractants like open garbage cans, pet bowls, and ripe fruit. Installing lids and screens.
  • Calling professional pest control to inject nests in hard to reach areas and strategically apply the optimal concentrated products. This maximizes effectiveness and safety.
  • Traps lure foraging wasps in with nectar but prevent escape for population reduction.

With patience and the proper tools, wasp nests can be eliminated without resorting to improvised, dangerous methods like Lysol spraying.

bees in a glass beehive

Preventing Wasp Infestations

The best approach is preventing wasp nest establishment altogether:

  • Seal cracks, holes, and crevices so wasps can’t enter enclosed voids in walls, roofs, vents, etc. where they like making nests.
  • Ensure window and door screens have tight seals and repair damaged screens. Add fine netting if needed.
  • Check under roof overhangs and eaves for small starter nests and remove immediately before large colonies develop.
  • Remove fallen fruit from the ground so wasps aren’t drawn into yard areas.
  • Use scent deterrents like essential oils that discourage wasps from settling.
  • Limit outdoor lighting which attracts night-active wasps. Direct lights away from doors and windows.

With vigilant exclusion and maintenance, homes and yards can be made far less accommodating to problematic wasps. Population prevention is most effective long-term.


Lysol can kill some wasps through its surface disinfecting ingredients, but carries substantial safety risks and often fails to provide adequate nest control. While wasps near homes should be humanely deterred as needed, methods specifically designed for insects like targeted dusts, traps, and professional removal will control infestations most reliably and safely. Lysol may seem an easy shortcut, but this improvised solution too easily creates bigger problems. With some sensible effort invested into pest prevention and purpose-built treatments instead, wasps can be managed responsibly without resorting to dangerous chemical sprays.