Episode 330 S11-6
Wasp spray: yes or no?
Changing Earth Audio Drama Ep 6
Wasp spray as an alternative to pepper spray? NO! Although many people claim you can use it this way, you shouldn’t. Here’s why.
As someone who has trained in self-defense techniques for over twenty years, I don’t carry pepper spray or wasp spray. I learned the wasp spray trick from a respected mentor of mine, so I added its use as a self-defense tool into my teaching. It made sense to me. The foam sprays far, sticks to its target, will disrupt the attacker, and can buy you time to escape.
However, during my podcast last week, I mentioned using wasp spray. I received feedback from a listener requesting that I stop mentioning wasp spray for self-defense. He pointed out legal issues with its use. As someone who loves to learn and welcome’s feedback, I dove into my computer, researching the details of using wasp spray for self-defense. Here’s what I found.
Wasp spray is made from derivatives from the chrysanthemum plant. Pyrethroid and pyrethrin chemicals compose the spray. These chemicals are designed to devastate the nervous system of insects. Besides hearsay on the internet, there is little evidence that wasp spray affects a human in the short term. However, there is evidence that it can cause long-term problems with the human nervous system and even cause permanent blindness.
On the other hand, Pepper spray is made from capsaicin or oils from very hot peppers. People who eat lots of peppers are indeed less susceptible to the effects of pepper spray, but it works on most people. It is designed to immediately swell the mucus membranes, instantly halting the activities of the assailant. The effects wear off in about an hour, and it is the choice of police forces throughout the United States.
Distance spray is a big excuse to favor wasp spray. However, many types of pepper sprays can spray just as far. There are many types of pepper sprays available. Some pepper sprays shoot streams, and some spray fogs. It is essential to choose the correct product for your circumstance. There is an excellent video from Lucky Gunner Ammo that walks you through the various types and potency levels.
Pepper spray gives you a non-lethal option to stop an assailant when a firearm might be too extreme of a choice. Animals like dogs and bears also halt their activities when they encounter an individual spraying pepper spray at them.
The bottom line is, planning to use wasp spray as a self-defense tool is against federal law. The label clearly states, “It is a violation of Federal Law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.” In the heat of the moment, if you are in your garage and wasp spray is all you have available, then you may be able to defend yourself legally, but if you are carrying it around, intending to use it on an assailant, you may be in big trouble. I know that it sucks to have to defend your actions when you are the victim, but as soon as you protect yourself, you will have to defend that action. What if witnesses are friends of the assailant or only saw the part where you whipped out a can of wasp spray and started hosing someone? The legal expenses can add up quickly. Even though you survived, your life might be very different from that moment forward.
There are other options to wasp spray other than pepper spray. However, Chuck Haggard, a self-defense instructor, favors pepper spray as well. Bludgeoning weapons are effective but require close contact and are illegal in some states. Stun guns are a fun party favor. Chuck says that because they also force you to make contact and they require recharging. How often will you remember to charge something that you may never use? If you didn’t charge it, you might as well be carrying a toy. Tasers are effective, but they require training to use them effectively. If both barbs do not contact the skin, there will be no effect. The barbs also have to cross a major muscle group, or the result is tolerable. The adrenaline-fueled assailant will not be incapacitated. Clothing can stop barbs from making contact, and many lawbreakers have learned to wear bulky clothing or have an object they can use as a shield to prevent the barbs from hitting them. Tasers also cost around $800 and are about as durable as a cell phone.
When it comes down to it, if you want to carry pepper spray, I recommend you research and train with the tool. The most effective self-defense tool is being situationally aware. Any situation you are not in is one you will survive. After that, train your body! Know how to protect yourself without a weapon and then add weapons to your arsenal after that. Learn to use a firearm responsibly and carry a knife that is accessible at all times.
Do not rely upon wasp spray! It is illegal to plan on it for defense. The short-term effects have not been proven to stop an assailant instantly. However, the long-term effects have the potential to cost you thousands of dollars in civil court.
The Changing Earth Series
Chin Gibson is the mystery prepper. Friend to all and known to none. His real identity hidden from the public, Chin is well known to the online prepper community as the go to resource for finding a community member to solve your problem. He is an awesome people connector and does his best to unite the voices educating the masses about being ready for a unforeseen life challenge. Chin will be joining Sara to co-host The Changing Earth Podcast.