If you’ve ever been stung by a wasp , you know they live up to their reputation of being aggressive and having painful stings. When you regularly spot them in your yard, chances are there’s a nest on your property or nearby. These are not pests that you want hanging about, especially if you have children running around. The best way to get rid of them is to find the nest and destroy it, but if you can’t find it or if it’s not on your property, you can use traps to tempt them away from high-traffic areas to another part of the yard to kill them.
New for 2012: Here’s a quick DIY I saw on my local news (tv) using an empty jar, orange juice and a bit of jam (you’ll find the soda pop bottle versions I published previously underneath):
- Punch a hole into the jar lid that’s about as wide in diameter as the base of your pinky finger (you want the wasps to crawl in but not be able to fly out easily).
- Fill jar about 1/2 full with orange juice (can also use orange soda or some sweet & fruity smelling liquid).
- Smear raspberry or strawberry jam underneath the lid.
- Seal jar with the lid then place it at the back of the yard or some place away from foot traffic.
- The wasps will be attracted to the sweet smelling juice and jam and will crawl into the jar and eventually fall into the juice and drown.
- Wait until it’s dark outside before emptying the jar of its contents and refilling with a fresh batch of juice and jam.
Here are directions for two easy homemade wasp traps, they require the same materials and and have the same concept, but two different designs (one’s ideal for hanging, the other for setting on the ground). I used graphics that show soda inside the bottles, but you need to use empty pop bottles (ignore the soda levels shown in the images).
- Take an empty two liter pop bottle or any plastic bottle that has a consistently even width along the sides.
- Using a sharp knife, cut off the top of the soda bottle just below where the start of the bottle sides are at even width.
- Fill the bottom of the bottle with bait about 2″ deep (ideas below).
- Insert the top of the bottle upside down into the bottom of the bottle (remove the bottle cap first). The pieces should fit together nice and snug, but use duct tape along the top edge to secure the pieces together if you need to.
- Set the trap out wherever you’ve seen them (in flower beds, close to a hedge, near the bird bath, etc.).
- The wasps will fly into the trap to get at the bait, but have trouble finding their way out. They’ll eventually drown in the liquid bait.
- This setup will also work for killing fruit flies .
This is well suited for hanging in tree branches or along the eaves of a house (away from entrances since this will attract live wasps). They will fly up into the trap from underneath, but have trouble finding their escape by flying down and out.
- Take an empty two liter pop bottle, tighten on the cap then cut off the bottom few inches of the bottle.
- Taking a second two liter pop bottle, remove the bottle cap and cut off the top part of the bottle right underneath where the width is the same as the rest of the bottle.
- For the bigger bottle piece, puncture two small holes, one on either side of the bottle (at the top) and push through each end of a piece of heavy string or yarn, knotting at each end inside the bottle (this will need to be long enough to hang the bottle and strong enough to hold the weight).
- Seal the holes where the string runs through with duct tape to prevent them crawling out and escaping.
- Place the small piece up inside the bigger piece, securing together with duct tape around the edges.
- Fill with bait about 2″ deep and hang.
- Do not fill it so full of bait that there isn’t plenty of air space between the bottom (or top) of the pop bottle opening, you want them to be able to fly in with no trouble.
- Empty and refill the traps regularly, wasps won’t be too tempted if they’re filled with drowned critters. You can submerge the trap in a bucket of water for about 1/2 hour to make sure they’re all dead before cleaning and refilling.
Just like ants , wasps can be looking for two different types of food sources depending on the colony’s needs at the time: protein or sugar. Set out two different traps to see which bait tempts them best, then continue to fill with that type of bait. Or you could do a sugar & protein bait together (for example: mixing juice with a piece of meat).
- Jam dissolved in water (sweet enough to attract the wasps but diluted enough to drown them)
- Fruit juice
- Sweet Soda Pop
- Maple syrup diluted with water
- Molasses diluted with water
- If you need protein baits: Try adding a piece of raw hamburger or a chunk of canned tuna, canned dog or cat food to a trap with fruit juices or even plain water (deep enough to drown the wasps but the piece of meat bait needs to be sticking out above the liquid surface to effectively attract them).
- Keep garbage cans and recycle bins covered.
- Don’t leave food or beverages sitting outside, keep beverages covered with a lid. Wipe up spills as soon as they happen.
- If you have water sources in your yard (bird baths, ponds), the wasps could be hanging around for the water (they get thirsty too).
- If you have fruit trees, keep the fruit picked and remove any that have fallen on the ground.