Question about wasps/hornets - is this sucker dead or will it come back to get me?

I am allergic to stings and I carry an epipen. For this reason I am little paranoid around stinging insects. Usually I leave the killing of such things to the other person in the house.

Unfortunately, the other person in the house is three year old Lil’Poysyn and we had a wasp/hornet on the inside of the front window.

I sucked it up in the vacuum hose and used it around the house for about ten minutes, cleaning (why waste it?).

Now, is this thing dead by this point? Or is it going to come out of the hose with murder on it’s mind?

Excuse my paranoia, please

My suspicion is that a wasp subjected to banging around the interior of a modern vacuum is going to be pretty dinged up and likely with important parts (like wings) torn off. It’ll also be buried in all the other crud you sucked up. I seriously doubt that it’s going to be able to extricate itself and do you harm.

But if you’ve got any doubts, just throw out the bag (if it’s got a bag) or empty the trap into a container. Tape it all shut and throw it out. Now you don’t have any doubt at all.

Of course, you could avoid all this by not using a vacuum cleaner to do your dirty work for you. There’s nothing as convincing (or as satisfying) as reducing the beast to a glob of goosh. You know that’s not going to revenge itself upon you.

I know, I know, but I tend to get nervous squishing them, and what if I miss and tick it off?
Do they need air? I can’t remember…it would’ve suffocated by now anyway, ten mins is a long time to go without breathing.

Well, this isn’t going to cheer you up, but the time I removed a bat from my kitchen with a ShopVac, it was still alive days later when I summoned the courage to open it.

If you’re worried, plug up the vacuum hose.

If you get the notion to spray insect killer into the vacuum hose, please consider whether it’s flammable or not before you do it. Vacuum cleaner motors are likely to be sparky.


For the effects of flammable liquids sprayed into vacuum cleaners, read about the Corvette Owners annual Vacuum Competition, as told in Dave Barry’s Guide to Guys. I can’t find any references to this on the internet, but it’s a hilarious (and true, apparently) bit of Americana.

They need air, but they don’t need very much. There is still plenty of air in a vacuum cleaner bag so that a wasp could still be alive after 10 minutes, and probably much longer. In any case, a dead wasp can still sting by reflex, so if you are allergic I wouldn’t pick it up by hand at all no matter how dead it looked.

However, it will probably be damaged or stunned enough so that it won’t be able to fly right out if you open the bag. Take the bag off, spray insecticide inside, then seal the bag and discard it, if you want to be as safe as possible. As Finagle says, it would be unwise to spray anything into the vacuum while the motor was running.

Hah!@ Here it is. “Corvair”, not “Corvette”:

Thanks for the nightmares!

Sucking up the spray output of a can of insecticide might not be advisable, but I think you’d be safe enough in tipping out a little pile of ant powder and vacuuming that up. Ants and wasps are sufficiently closely related to make me suspect it would kill an individual of either kind, given the situation and method of application.

Vacuuming a bat seems excessively cruel. You didn’t have a bag or basket to capture it in? :frowning:

I’ve been stung by a wasp that crawled out of a vacuum cleaner. It was unable to fly, but stung me on the foot.

Dude, you have no * idea * how creeped out I was. The bat was on the kitchen floor * hissing at me *. I did, after opening the shop vac and having done some research just how low the incidence of rabies was in the bat population, release it back into the wild.

I wouldn’t advise using any spray instecticide, partly for the flammability concern, but also since a a lot of the vapours are going to come right back out of the exhaust of the vacuum cleaner. Back in the day, I once helped a friend destroy a wasp colony that had built a nest in the wooden frame of his parents house by wedging the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner adjacent to the entrance and leaving it running for about 30 minutes. It wasn’t particularily energy efficient, but it was fun to watch in a cruel boys fashion. Once we stopped the machine, we tried listening through the nozzle, the wasps were still very much alive and sounded extremely pissed. I smoked a pipe back then, so we tried firing the pipe up, then I held the stem in the nozzle and my friend turned the vacuum on again for a few seconds. The combination of the nicotine and the particulates in the smoke killed the wasps in a minute or so. We dumped the bag out after to check, and there were about 100 bodies.

If you don’t smoke, try to suck up some fine dust - wasps breathe through tiny pores in their skin, clogging the pores will suffocate them, no chenicals needed.

Ever been bit by a dead bee? :wink:

It is probably dead but, unless you were VERY quick, it probably gallantly radioed for some air support before you got him.

This is closer to the truth than you might imagine; some social insects, including some social wasps, secrete distress pheremones when attacked or injured and these can provoke other individuals of the same species to swarm or generally act aggressively towards perceived threats in the area.

Where else could a plain ordinary joke segue into a science lecture?