Pros: Safe around people and pets.
What is this stuff?
It is a wasp and hornet killer that can be sprayed on a nest from several feet away. It works in seconds, and is non-toxic to humans and pets.
What's in it?
Mint oil, sodium lauryl sulfate, water, and carbon dioxide. That's all. Essentially, it is mint oil in a foaming agent, with a propellant.
Does it really work?
It does! Vespids of any kind, hit with this stuff, drop to the ground as though flash frozen. And their little vespid carcasses just stay there, exuding a nice scent of mint.
Precautions and special instructions:
You should keep this stuff out of your eyes because of the foaming agent, and wash with soap and water if any gets on your skin. If you are allergic to sodium lauryl sulfate, take precautions to keep it away from your skin.
This is a contact poison for vespids, so it has to be sprayed on the nest while the wasps are "at home". There is little or no residual effect, so it is best to spray a nest in the evening after all of the residents have returned for the night. If the spray has not dried, it will still kill any latecomers who land on it, but you may need to spray again if you didn't get them all.
In order to activate the foaming agent and mix the CO2, the can needs to be shaken upside down for at least 15 seconds before use. If you forget to do that, the resulting (non)spray will be disappointing. I also prefer to store the can upside down to keep the CO2 from leaking.
It's a metal can under pressure, so the usual precautions apply: keep away from open flames and do not incinerate the can.
Normally, I prefer to sign a mutual non-aggression treaty with local wasps. Mud daubers and paper wasps eat a lot of bug I'd as soon be rid of as not, and they are generally non-aggressive. There are times, though, when the vespids and I just don't get along.
In my area, there's a red paper wasp with an evil temper, which is particularly bad in late July and August. They get very aggressive if anything human or animal gets within 10 feet of the nest. (Hey, I know some people like that too, but this spray will not work on them.) Unfortunately, their favorite spot to nest is on the side of my house by the breaker box and the outside water faucet. When I go to get water, I feel a bit like King Kong being attacked by those little planes, and I don't enjoy it any more than he did. My own little squadron of attackers has to go, and the Victor spray works nicely. I just wait until sunset, then spray the nest, salute the fallen aviators, and go home. By the time I have reached the corner of the house, there's a cleanup crew of hungry birds willing to gobble down the (minty fresh) little wasp bodies, and there is nothing harmful to the birds in the spray.
Oh, and hornets. I had good evidence, a couple of years ago, that there was a hornet nest in my yard. If you have never been stung by a hornet, you just don't know what you are missing! There's a certain clinical interest in watching your arm swell to twice its size and turn interesting shades of green and purple, but it is also a bit painful. And having experienced it once or twice, the novelty wears off. I finally located the nest in a secluded corner of the eaves where it was particularly hard to reach. Because if the shape of the nest, I wondered if I could really get the hornets before they got me, shielded as they were inside the egg-shape of the nest. After sundown, I stood back about 10 feet and sprayed the outside of the nest until it was covered in foam. To my astonishment, hornets began falling out of the nest and hitting the ground dead. I was not all that sure I wanted to get close enough to spray inside the hole, so I retreated far enough to see what would happen. In a few minutes a local skunk came to call and ate the fallen hornets. (I doubt the mint will make that much difference to the skunk smell, but it can't hurt.) The next evening, I sprayed the outside of the nest again, and some more dead hornets fell out. I used a long stick to knock the nest down and sprayed inside while a hopeful skunk lurked nearby. (I didn't actually see the skunk, but I had evidence that one was upwind.) The next morning, I found a shredded nest and no sign of hornets.
Ground-dwelling yellow jackets are easy: wait until dusk and cover the entrance with foam. It will sink down and saturate the nest.
I have been using the Woodstream poison-free sprays for about four years, and I always keep some on hand. Woodstream also makes roach, ant and fly killers that use the same mint oil mix. Your mileage may vary with these, since I have yet to see a roach that will sit still while you spray it with mint oil, and ant nests are usually too deep for the foam to penetrate all the way.
Woodstream products: www.victorpest.com