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Wasps in the bilge

JRT

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Feb 14, 2017
1,868
Catalina 310 211 Lake Guntersville, AL
So I seem to kill several wasps in our boat everytime we go out. I find them under the sole when I pull up the center board, I've sealed up the hatch boards pretty much with window foam so I don't think that is the source. Over the winter wasps have used my main sail to hide under and I've cleaned them out several times. I think they are flying down the mast to the bilge based on pics I've seen of an open tube that runs the wires to the cabin.

Any ideas, and would really like to get them off the boat and sails with a solution. My wife has bad experience with being stung in the past so they very much upset her.
 

GSBNY

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May 9, 2019
138
O’Day 192 New York
I had a similar problem on my O’Day (and my gf is terrified of wasps) and found some mud dauber wasps had built a nest in the middle of my electrical harness behind a bulkhead. Then they made a hive in the rear of the cockpit liner. I sat and watched them one day and caught them coming out of a tiny vent hole not much bigger than them. Once I found that I removed the nests and sealed up the hole. I was also told that if you kill one you need to get it away from the boat ASAP as they release some sort of pheromone that attracts more.

Look in places you would never expect them to be.
 
Mar 29, 2017
538
Hunter 30t 9805 littlecreek
Simple bug bombs you buy at grocery store kills them and give u a chance to find all holes in boat get a 3 pack put around in boat set off and look for smoke coming out. u can painter tape any big holes u know about
 
Oct 22, 2014
14,215
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Different wasps require different methods. But the overall strategy is the same as with bee keeping. Get the Queen and you pretty much have solved the issue.

The How is dependent on the space and the wasps.

Get to know the wasp species you are dealing with. Are they singles or a hive?
Attack swiftly with chemicals and thick clothing covering your body. Wasps can inflict multiple stings. Unlike bees, wasps stingers have no barbs. They use a poison needle to get you. And they are quick about it. Yes they do scent you and they will follow you. I have seen grown men reduced to sobbing by wasp attacks. Riding a large tractor clearing a stump from a field, the operator pushed the stump that released a swarm. He leaped from the tractor and did a hundred yard dash away. When we got to him he was covered in welts. Rushed him to the hospital and medical assistance. They can be vicious buggers.
 
Oct 22, 2014
14,215
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
I have heard that the wasps dislike original bounce dryer sheet smell.

might be worth a try.
 
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Likes: JRT
May 11, 2014
28
Catalina 310 Lake Texoma
I've had good results over the years putting a few of the most aromatic of citronella candles I can find aboard, (they're cheap and plentiful each year just before July 4th). I never light the candles but place them in the cabin and rear storage areas to repel wasps and mud daubers, (this seems to help with spiders also).

I also keep a spray bottle of soapy water in the cockpit Lazarette to spray any remaining flying pests and for general cleanup. The soap on their wings eliminates their ability to fly and lowers my risk of getting stung without chemicals being spread all over the boat. I adjust the spray pattern for the situation I'm facing; broad mist spray when I'll be at close quarters like taking the cover off the BBQ grill or long fine stream for shots across the cockpit.

Good Luck.
 
Oct 26, 2010
1,272
Hunter 40.5 Beaufort, SC
Simple bug bombs you buy at grocery store kills them and give u a chance to find all holes in boat get a 3 pack put around in boat set off and look for smoke coming out. u can painter tape any big holes u know about
Bug bombs will work but be careful of the type of bug bomb and the propellant used. Unless it has been regulated away, some of the bug bomb propellant can be flammable if in enough concentration and boat interior volumes are pretty small, relative to the bug bomb design for a typical room in your house. Look on the can to be sure you are not using the kind that have the flammable propellant. I'd hate for a bilge pump or something sparking to cause you to lose your boat to a wasp.
 
Jan 1, 2006
5,414
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
Under the deck of a home I had in the past wasps liked to nest. When I saw a nest forming I would wait until dusk and hit the hive with a product called TAT. It was very effective at killing them. It streams 10 to 15 feet so you can be a good distance away. If you hit a flying wasp with, it the wasp will fall out of the air. I don't know what's in it and I don't care. It kills. The inside of a mast is a very happy place for those buggers.
 
May 3, 2008
188
Catalina 310 Catawba Island
So I seem to kill several wasps in our boat everytime we go out. I find them under the sole when I pull up the center board, I've sealed up the hatch boards pretty much with window foam so I don't think that is the source. Over the winter wasps have used my main sail to hide under and I've cleaned them out several times. I think they are flying down the mast to the bilge based on pics I've seen of an open tube that runs the wires to the cabin.

Any ideas, and would really like to get them off the boat and sails with a solution. My wife has bad experience with being stung in the past so they very much upset her.
My Admiral said - sell the boat!