Can You Use Wasp Spray Against An Attacker?

Can you use wasp spray as an alternative to pepper spray for self defense? You might have heard rumors that wasp spray works better than pepper spray. Suggestions to purchase bee spray for self defense have been circulating via email for the past few years. If you've gotten an email telling you to buy wasp spray for self defense, think twice. This rumor should not be relied upon for your safety. Although wasp spray might work in a pinch, there are far better options when it comes to protecting yourself.

Using wasp spray against an attacker would be using it in a manner that is inconsistent with its labeling. If your attacker is injured by the spray, you might even be held liable (yes!), since it is illegal to use the product in this manner. Many forms of wasp spray even warn directly on the label that using it against a human is a punishable offense. This stands even if the target of the spray attacked you first. Wasp spray is a poison, and will affect the attacker until they visit the hospital for an antidote. You could find yourself sued if you used wasp spray and it harmed your target.

Of course, if you're attacked in your home you are justified in picking up ANY object and defending yourself, even wasp spray or bleach or whatever you can grab. But it may be a different story if you are caught carrying wasp spray in your car or purse. 

Wasp spray has not been tested on humans. Its effects are unknown. Sure, it kills bees on contact, but what about a much larger attacker, such as a human? Though it might work against your attacker, it might not. On the other hand, pepper spray has been specifically formulated to cause the target to involuntarily shut their eyes, leading to temporary blindness. This product is formulated specifically to work against a human, even if they have consumed alcohol or drugs. Wasp spray, meanwhile, is meant for use against wasps. 

One of the major reasons email rumors suggest wasp spray for self defense is because most canisters have a range of 20 feet. This is frankly ridiculous because pepper sprays of the same size have always been available that will match or surpass this range. Plus, you can find pepper sprays in the form of a keychain, a pen, and many other small devices, unlike the huge canister you'd have to carry around if you opted to go with wasp spray. Because there are so many different formulations of wasp and hornet sprays, the exact effects will be completely unknown until you deploy the canister. At a time when you're being attacked, do you really want to be caught by surprise when your self defense product does not work as intended? Some say that wasp spray will require a longer contact with the attacker in order to stop the attack. Pepper spray, however, requires just a short 1-2 second burst of the spray to have an effect.

With pepper spray, you're getting legal and reliable stopping power. There is simply no reason to trust your safety to something meant to stop wasps. The US Customs and Border Protection Agency, the United States' largest user of chemical agents such as pepper spray, does not recommend the use of wasp spray for this off-label use.

Neither do the top 8 manufacturers of wasp sprays.

On the other hand, pepper spray is legal in all 50 states, its effects on humans are known, and it has been used by police and military forces across the world for more than two decades.

By James Shaw
Omega Phi Alpha Self Defense Class
Omega Phi Alpha Self Defense Class

Sharing is nice for everyone: