Hoaxes & Rumors

Is Wasp Spray Better Than Pepper Spray?

Is Wasp Spray Better Than Pepper Spray?

An internet rumor claims that using wasp spray is a better alternative for self defense than pepper spray. Is there any truth to this claim?

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While wasp spray could be used to thwart an attacker, there is no evidence that it is better than pepper spray, and there are several reasons why you shouldn’t choose wasp spray over pepper spray. The suggestion to use wasp spray is not recommended by police forces or personal security experts.

Let’s take a look at the version of the claim being circulated in 2014:

This photo of wasp spray has been circulated with this story. Why it shows this can on a scale is unknown.

This photo of wasp spray has been circulated with this story. It isn’t clear why it is shown on a scale.

If you don’t have a gun, and even if you do, here’s a way to wreck someone’s evil plans for you. Did you know this? I didn’t. I never really thought of it before. I guess I can get rid of the baseball bat.

Wasp Spray — A friend who is a receptionist in a church in a high risk area was concerned about someone coming into the office on Monday to rob them when they were counting the collection. She asked the local police department about using pepper spray and they recommended to her that she get a can of wasp spray instead.

The wasp spray, they told her, can shoot up to twenty feet away and is a lot more accurate, while with the pepper spray, they have to get too close to you and could overpower you. The wasp spray temporarily blinds an attacker until they get to the hospital for an antidote. She keeps a can on her desk in the office and it doesn’t attract attention from people like a can of pepper spray would. She also keeps one nearby at home for home protection. Thought this was interesting and might be of use.

On the heels of a break in and beating that left an elderly woman in Toledo dead, self defense experts have a tip that could save your life.

Val Glinka teaches self-defense to students at Sylvania Southview High School . For decades, he’s suggested putting a can of wasp and hornet spray near your door or bed.

Glinka says, “This is better than anything I can teach them.”

Glinka considers it inexpensive, easy to find, and more effective than mace or pepper spray. The cans typically shoot 20 feet; so if someone tries to break into your home, Glinka says “spray the culprit in the eyes”. It’s a tip he’s given to students for decades.

It’s also one he wants everyone to hear If you’re looking for protection, Glinka says look to the spray. “That’s going to give you a chance to call the police; maybe get out.” Maybe even save a life.

Please share this with all the people who are precious to your life.

Did you also know that wasp spray will kill a snake? And a mouse! It will! Good to know, huh? It will also kill a wasp!!!
And best of all, immobilize a human.

One version of the helpful hint above claims that a “police department” recommends using wasp spray over pepper spray. No police department is specified, so this claim cannot be verified and its veracity is dubious at best. Variations of the text above have been circulating online for several years. There are several things to consider in the debate of wasp spray vs pepper spray.

Val Glinka

The text circulating mentions self-defense expert Val Glinka, who did in fact suggest placing a can of wasp spray near your front door back in 2009. This suggestion was made because Glinka claimed it was easy to find, could shoot up to 30 feet, and was – in his opinion – more effective than mace or pepper spray.

Glinka’s suggestion, however, has been refuted by a number of experts.

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  • Usage. Police, body guards, postal carriers, and personal security all carry pepper spray. We found no evidence of any police force endorsing wasp spray over pepper spray.
  • Legality. If you use wasp spray in a questionable situation, you could be sued for using it. The litigious nature of our country – and the fact that it is a violation of federal law to use wasp spray for personal defense – means that you could end up being arrested or sued for using it on a person. Wasp spray may cause permanent eye or lung damage.
  • Tested. Wasp spray has not been thoroughly tested as a self-defense product, while pepper spray has. Further, pepper spray is formulated specifically for use on humans. It forces the subject to close his or her eyes, allowing the victim a chance to escape. Wasp spray may or may not work at all.
  • Convenience. Pepper spray is sold in a variety of sizes, many of which are designed to fit into a small purse. Wasp spray is sold in large cans which are not convenient to carry around.
  • Accuracy. The claim above that wasp spray is “a lot more accurate” is completely false. Pepper spray typically has a larger spray pattern, which doesn’t require the accuracy needed with the smaller spray pattern found in wasp spray. See the video below for a better example.
  • Distance. One of the pillars of the wasp spray argument above is that it has greater range than pepper spray, but this is not entirely accurate. While some pepper sprays do have a smaller distance, there are some products on the market which match the 25-foot range claimed above.
  • Indication. None of wasp spray brands indicates that wasp spray can be used for any other purpose than on wasps. Further, they also say the product should not be used indoors.

Can you use wasp spray in an attack?

Certainly if you are being attacked, you should use anything at your disposal. If it is wasp spray or nothing, then wasp spray would be a valid option. If you are going to carry around a personal defense item, or place one by your bed, wasp spray should not be the choice over pepper spray.

The video below featuring Personal Safety expert David Nance provides an excellent summary of the Wasp Spray vs Pepper Spray debate:

Bottom Line

Wasp spray is not superior to pepper spray for self defense, nor is it recommended by police or personal security experts. Pepper spray is formulated for use on humans, and is available in a variety of sizes and options. Further, the use of wasp spray for personal defense is prohibited in many areas, and using it for this purpose could have legal consequences.

Sources & Further Reading


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