Found all over North America, yellow jackets (scientific name Vespula or Dolichovespula, family - Vespidae) can be easily distinguished by the characteristic black and yellow bands on their body. These insects sting repeatedly, which results in painful redness, itching, and pain. It is best to avoid getting stung by these insects by building traps to keep them away. A homemade wasp trap can work wonders to effectively eliminate this nuisance. Described below are a couple of ways to build traps to keep the wasps away.
Homemade Yellow Jacket Trap ~ Method 1
- Cut the top of the plastic bottle off, near the bottle neck where the bottle starts becoming narrow and slopes upwards.
- Apply jam or maple syrup to the external side of the smaller part (that is shaped similar to a funnel).
- Put the soap water solution (a little less than half the way up) into the bottle.
- Make two holes on the bottle near the top (the part that looks like a cylinder) and string the wire or thread into it and secure it tight. This is done to hang the bottle from a tree branch.
- Invert the smaller part that is layered with the jam/syrup and insert it into the bigger cylindrical part of the bottle. Join the two parts securely by stapling them or use a duct tape to bind them.
- Voila! The trap is ready. Hang it on a branch near the hive. Or if you are having a picnic and do not want the pesky insects disturbing you, you can simply place the trap on the ground at a good distance from where you would be sitting down to eat.
How it Works
- The wasps get attracted to the sweet scent of the jam/syrup.
- They will enter through the bottle neck and slip into the soapy solution, unable to find their way back up. The wasps will eventually drown in the water, too tired to struggle to get out.
- Make sure to clean the trap by emptying it and throwing away the dead wasps. This is important, or else the layer of dead wasps will prevent new wasps from drowning and they may be able to simply crawl their way up and fly away, rendering the trap useless.
- Replenish the water solution and whatever bait you are using from time to time. If you no longer need the trap, recycle the plastic bottle.
Homemade Yellow Jacket Trap ~ Method 2
- Make a tripod stand using the three sticks, tying them securely at one end using the cord or wire and place it in the tub.
- Attach the string to the wire hook and fasten it to the top of your wooden tripod.
- Put the piece of fresh bait into the wire hook.
- Fill the tub with water and add the detergent to it and swirl it around. Make sure no bubbles are formed over the surface.
- Bear in mind that the piece of meat must hang an inch over the surface of water. The meat should not touch the soapy water at all.
- Keep the trap at a safe distance from pets and children, and on a stable surface to prevent it from toppling over.
How it Works
- The wasps will get drawn toward the meat and attempt to bite away pieces of it.
- They will inadvertently fall and slide into the tub of soapy water, unable to make their way out, and drown.
- As with the earlier trap, rid the water of dead wasps and replenish with fresh bait as and when needed.
Did You Know?
Yellow Jackets are social insects and strictly live in colonies. They thrive in warm weather but die off as soon as winter sets in. Yellow jackets are half an inch to one inch in length. Some, like the bald-faced hornets, build their nests on branches, while some (like the western and eastern yellow jackets) build it in the ground. Wasps can turn hostile and sting if they are provoked and their nests are disturbed. In summer, worker wasps feed on decaying fruits and garbage, which make them a nuisance to humans.
Making these traps is fairly simple and hardly costs anything, since most materials are usually available at home. These are effective and inexpensive approaches to get rid of yellow jackets. Another way to get rid of the wasps is to buy lure traps, which are available in many stores. These use certain chemicals and meat as bait. Yellow jackets are drawn to meat, especially fresh fish or turkey. Try to keep yellow jackets away by keeping all garbage in tightly sealed bins. Do not leave any pet food outside. Avoid going near the hives. Follow the steps above and enjoy a wasp-free summer.