Wasp Spray for self-defense

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.

4 thoughts on “Wasp Spray for self-defense

  1. If you’re out in your yard using a can of wasp spray when you’re attacked, by all means turn the can on your attacker. But otherwise? If your whole point is to avoid using a gun (and almost every time I see the suggestion of wasp spray it is) why the f*ck would you use wasp spray instead?? Sure, pepper spray is nasty stuff if you accidentally get it on yourself, or spray the wrong target, but its a whole lot less likely to do permanent damage…..

    • In a case like that, I wouldn’t count on the wasp spray to do anything more than “be annoying”. That is, it’s a normal reaction for most living things that if something gets thrown in their face, they will flinch. So that’s about all I would expect… them to flinch because suddenly there’s a spray coming at their face. And that could be useful to reset their OODA loop and buy you a couple seconds to take other action. But, you better have some effective “other action” plan ready to go.

      You are right that usually sprays are suggested as a gun-alternative, so yes… why would you choose something inferior and not something proven? But you know… there’s all sorts of stupid stuff that still gets passed around these days.

  2. Just wait until the antis start suing the manufacturers of Wasp sprays for the injuries to criminals; just like they try to do with gun manufacturers.

    Bob S.

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