Why Wasp Spray for Self-Defense Against Humans Won't Work: A Chemist Explains

07 12 2021

A recent attempted robbery was unsuccessful because of the robber's choice of weapon. The man attempted to steal food from a Safeway armed with a canister of Raid Wasp & Hornet Spray.

The only problem? Wasp spray isn't capable of incapacitating human beings. Store employees attempting to thwart the robbery were minimally affected by the spray.

The robber is nevertheless in significant legal trouble due to the fine print on the canister stating that the spray is "extremely flammable" and "hazardous to humans and domestic animals." He is being charged with first-degree robbery as opposed to a misdemeanor.

If you think wasp and hornet spray for self-defense is a workable alternative to other methods, think again. Be safe: pepper spray and other accepted methods of self-defense are far more reliable.

Self-Defense Facts

So, why doesn't wasp spray work against humans? We talked to our Nicole Robbins, SABRE Quality Assurance & Safety Manager, for an explanation. Here's what she said:

"The amount of active ingredients in the spray (according to the label) are 0.04% to 0.06%; the compound is typically 'pyrethrin or pyrethroids, which come from a species of chrysanthemum plant,' explains Extension.org. This active ingredient is meant to disrupt a wasp's nervous system.

"On the other hand, human pepper sprays target a human's eyes and respiratory system. Think of the biology and size differences between wasps and humans!"

"Independent testing concludes that wasp spray is 'minimally' irritating to human eyes, so how could it be expected to incapacitate a goal-oriented attacker?"

Designed specifically for use on humans, pepper spray causes: involuntary eye closure; swelling of the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat and nasal and sinus discharge. It also causes coughing, shortness of breath and drying of the eyes as well as painful burning of the skin, hyperventilation and psychological effects such as fear, anxiety and panic.

Watch the video for a demonstration, and see how wasp spray is not capable of stopping a goal-oriented human:

Accidentally sprayed wasp spray indoors would be a hassle, but it should not cause any immediate problems for humans. Of course, you should make sure to provide proper ventilation to get rid of the wasp spray as soon as possible.

Effective Self-Defense Against Humans

Instead of wasp and hornet spray for self-defense, trust tested and trustworthy products. SABRE produces the #1 pepper spray that's trusted by law enforcement and consumers around the world.

Available in various formulas and models, including extremely compact units, our pepper spray is specially formulated in our liquid chromatography lab to guarantee maximum stopping power.

Choose from compact pepper spray with clip, tactical pepper gel with belt holster and pepper spray key rings or pepper spray with adjustable hand straps. We also carry lipstick pepper spray, pen pepper spray and other innovative models that are compact, discreet and maximum-strength for self-defense.