Once again the suggestion to use wasp spray for self-defense has reared up.
No. No. No.
This is a terrible idea.
You could find yourself in a lot of legal trouble. City, County, State and Federal laws vary, but in general to use wasp spray in this manner is illegal. You’re a law-abiding citizen (right?) – why would you choose to do something illegal, especially when there are legal products – pepper spray – specifically designed to be used as chemical deterrents? Yeah I know, you’re being attacked, all bets are off. But after the attack is over, there will be an aftermath and it will be filled with lawyers and legal issues. Why should you risk complicating matters for yourself? There are acceptable and more effective alternatives (pepper spray), so why would you choose otherwise?
Pyrethrin’s are not designed for this purpose. It’s questionable if they will be effective at stopping an attacker, and they could cause great harm. You might think “great harm to my attacker? that’s what I want!” Well, there’s always risk of failure to properly identify your target, splash and spray back (into you…), and other ways that innocents could be affected. But ignore the “harm” factor because we aren’t out to harm people — the goal is to stop the attacker. If pythreins are of questionable effectiveness, why would you use them?
Can you really carry a can of wasp spray around? You can carry pepper spray. OK sure the small keychain cans can’t spray 25 feet, but you can buy cans that can, such as this model from Fox Labs or this one from SABRE RED. Keychain model on your person, larger spray cans at home.
If one of the touted reasons for using wasp spray in self-defense is because you can hit targets at great distance, have you ever tried to hit a wasp nest that was 25 feet away from you? I don’t know about you, but I never hit them on the first shot because there’s no way to aim, the nozzle isn’t really designed to be highly accuracy, that stream is very thin and small, and let’s not forget about the wind. How effective do you think you will be in deploying this under grave pressure at someone attacking you? Consider then purpose-built, purpose-designed pepper sprays tend to present a “fog” or “cloud” pattern out to such distance, effectively making a wall of pepper spray.
Watch the difference in spray patterns (1:55 into this video)
Bottom line: there is no reason to use wasp spray for anything other than ridding the exterior of your home of wasps and hornets. There are legal, effective, products on the market — pepper spray — that serve the same touted purpose, but do so in a more effective and legal manner.
Please, please, please, stop recommending wasp spray. That means you, Today Show.