Yellow jackets can often be a nuisance at backyard barbecues and picnics. However, by making this easy homemade trap you can limit or eliminate their interference on your fun.
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Making a Trap for Flying Yellow Jackets
Making an easy homemade wasp trap will easily control yellow jackets from infiltrating your backyard fun. The only supplies needed are one two-liter soda bottle, a sharp knife or scissors, and some juice or soda.
Take a two-liter soda bottle and cut it at the shoulder (about one-quarter of the way down), removing the spout, but keeping the spout intact. Invert the spout into the bottom portion of the bottle so that the spout faces the bottom of the bottle.
Baiting the Trap
Fill the bottle, through the spout that now faces downward, with 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid. You can use juice, soda or simple syrup (sugar dissolved in water) to entice the yellow jackets to the trap. You can also use water laced with dish soap, although the wasps may not be as drawn to the trap without a sugary enticement. Adding a little vinegar to this mixture will help deter honey bees from getting caught in the trap.
Be sure to pour the mixture through the spout and allow it to coat the bottle a little bit so that it will appear to be readily available to the yellow jackets. When they drop down through the spout, they will have difficulty getting back out and will drown in the liquid at the bottom of the bottle.
Be sure to empty the trap regularly, at dusk or at night when yellow jackets are not as active, so that the bodies do not pile up and create a perching point for others to drink the liquid and find their way out again.
Place the trap away from the area where people will be so that you do not invite yellow jackets to try and take advantage of other food and drink in the area.
Although not as full-proof as the two-liter trap, an alternative homemade wasp trap can be made by stringing a piece of fish on a tripod a few inches over a pan of water with a little dish soap in it. The yellow jackets will often fall in the water when they try to fly away with a little more food than they can reasonably carry.
In addition to traps that eliminate individual insects, an easy homemade nest eliminator can be made with a plastic bowl. Yellow jackets nest in the ground and they are often stumbled upon when mowing the lawn or playing on it. Once a nest is found, use a clear plastic bowl and place it upside down over the nest. Do this at night when most yellow jackets will be in the nest. Weight the bowl so that it fits snugly on the ground. The wasps will attempt to fly out when they see daylight but will not be able to escape the bowl. Within a day or two they will die of starvation.
Jessica Ferguson writes mainly on gardening, organic gardening, small and urban farming and homesteading (including beekeeping and chickens), nature and cooking. She is a freelance writer for Demand Studios and Suite101. Other interests include Middle-Eastern food and dance, literature, home improvement and decor, and music.