Recently wasp spray has been a hot topic of discussion for its use in self defense, particularly as a substitute for pepper spray. In this article we’re going to address and try to answer the question, is using wasp spray for self defense a good alternative to pepper spray?
What is wasp spray?
Wasp spray is a chemical insecticide that is packaged in an aerosol canister intended to kill wasps and other flying insects. It works by freezing the nerve signals from the motor neurons, essentially suffocating the insect to death due to a lack of oxygen. Therefore a wasp spray will have a similar respiratory effect as pepper spray.
Effects of Wasp Spray on Humans
Wasp spray is capable of inducing similar effects to pepper spray when used on humans. A person sprayed by wasp or hornet spray will experience discomfort in the eyes including tearing, swelling, redness, and reduced vision. Additionally, it can cause inflammation and swelling if it comes into contact with the skin.
If inhaled, wasp spray has the potential to inflict far greater damage than pepper spray. Breathing the vapor can cause effects including irritation, severe injury to the lungs, and even death. Sprays that contain petroleum distillate have a higher chance of entering the lungs and other internal organs.
In terms of treating the effects of wasp spray, it follows a similar process to treating the effects of pepper spray. The only other thing that will help relieve the effects in addition to washing the area with water and calling poison control is using a topical Vitamin E. Tocopherol acetate (Vitamin E) applied to the skin is a highly effective therapeutic agent for wasp spray treatment.
There are inherent problems with using wasp spray as a self defense weapon, mainly to do with the design of the canister. Firstly, wasp spray expels in a stream pattern meaning it’ll be less effective against multiple attackers and will require greater aim.
A positive note is that wasp spray does fire up to 20 feet which is a considerable distance. However, the size of the canister restricts you from carrying it in your pocket or even while jogging (imagine how funny that would look).
Additionally, wasp spray is not proven to incapacitate an attacker meaning it may or may not work. While the formula is surely strong enough to induce serious effects on a human, there is not enough evidence to support the claim that it can be used as an effective self defense weapon.
Legal Issues with Using Wasp Spray
Wasp spray may be an option to individuals looking to defend themselves but don’t have access to pepper spray. However, anyone caught using wasp spray on humans will likely face criminal and civil charges. Every can of wasp killer states “It is against federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling”.
Therefore it is certainly not advised to use wasp spray as substitute for pepper spray.