Will Bleach Kill Yellow Jackets? How to Deal with Wasps

Dealing with yellow jackets can be overwhelming. These insects can be aggressive and downright scary. If you have found yourself in the predicament of needing to get rid of them, you’ll likely find several suggestions, such as bleach, ammonia, and wasp spray. Some of these recommendations are legitimate, while others may not solve your problem. 

If you have considered using bleach, you will need to find some information on whether or not this is an effective way to kill yellow jackets. Below is all the information you need to address this issue.

What Are Yellow Jackets?

Will Bleach Kill Yellow Jackets?

When you’re out in your yard or garden, it’s not uncommon to catch sight of a black and yellow flying insect. Often, we assume these are bees, but sometimes they are something different.

Upon closer inspection, you will likely notice that it lacks the bee’s round, soft body. Instead, it is long, with a hard and shiny exterior. While people use two different names for these animals, the yellow jacket is another name for a wasp, although this species is particularly pesky.

Are Yellow Jackets Beneficial?

Before you start trying to kill yellow jackets, you might want to stop and ask whether or not they’re important for the environment. Although these insects can be scary, it may not be in the best interest of your yard or garden to get rid of them. Here is a short list of why yellow jackets are beneficial:

  • Pollinates the landscape
  • Hunts common pests like fly larvae and aphids
  • Help balance the ecosystem

Yellow jackets are common all over North America. If you have noticed a few on your property, you shouldn’t panic. They may not have built a nest in your yard or garden.

Reasons To Remove Yellow Jackets

Will Bleach Kill Yellow Jackets?

Unlike common paper wasps, yellow jackets can be significantly more dangerous. If you are experiencing a true infestation or you are allergic to their sting, you may have no other choice than to completely eradicate them. 

Otherwise, you may be interested in taking steps to reduce their numbers around your home and prevent them from sticking around. In cases like these, using bleach could be an option.

Bleach and Yellow Jackets

Bleach will kill yellow jackets, but they have to come in direct contact with the solution, and there is a risk of harming yourself with the bleach.

If you do want to try to kill them with bleach, you can mix a solution of two parts water to one part bleach in a spray bottle. Cover all areas of your skin, including your face and eyes. Soak the nest and all visible yellow jackets until they are dead.

Other Ways To Kill Yellow Jackets

Will Bleach Kill Yellow Jackets?

For several reasons, using bleach to kill jackets is not recommended. Bleach is corrosive and can injure you or others if it gets into your eyes, on your skin, or in your mouth. Below you will find other ways to deal with yellow jackets:

  • Hairspray
  • Dish soap
  • Traps
  • Exterminator 

While these methods will kill yellow jackets, the safest and most effective way to extinguish these pests is to use a wasp specific spray. Wasp sprays are formulated to work, and you can spray the nest from further back, which will keep you out of harms way.

Preventing Yellow Jackets

If you live in an area where yellow jackets are common, it can be easier to prevent them from nesting than to remove them. 

Yellow jackets love sweet smells and garbage. Keeping your home neat and clean will help deter these insects from hanging around. You can also use vinegar to keep them at bay or herbs like thyme and peppermint.


Using bleach to kill yellow jackets is an option for controlling their population. However, you shouldn’t depend too heavily on this method. If you find yourself dealing with an entire nest of yellow jackets or a true infestation, it is wisest to use wasp spray or call a professional.