If you’ve ever been stung by a wasp, you know they live up to their reputation of being angry, aggressive and producers of mean, painful stings.
Once you start regularly spotting them in your yard, it’s a good bet that there’s a nest on your property or nearby.
These are not pests that you want zipping around, especially if you have children playing outdoors.
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, use traps to tempt them away from high-traffic areas to another part of the yard to kill them.
Jam Jar Trick
Here’s a quick DIY I saw on my local news (tv) using an empty jar, orange juice and a bit of jam:
(No worries! You’ll still find the soda pop project I previously shared down below)
- Punch a hole into the jar lid that’s about as wide in diameter as the base of your pinky finger (you want the critters to have room to crawl in but not be able to fly out).
- Pour OJ into the jar until it’s about half full (orange soda or some sweet & fruity smelling liquid will also work).
- 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 fruity jam. They’ll crawl into the jar and eventually fall into the liquid and drown.
- Wait until it’s dark outside before emptying the container of its contents and refilling with a fresh batch of juice/jam.
DIY Soda Bottle Solution
Here are directions for two easy homemade traps, they require the same materials and have the same concept, but different designs (one’s ideal for hanging, the other for setting on the ground or other surface). I used graphics that show soda inside the containers, 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 variety that has a consistently even width along the sides.
- Using a sharp knife, cut off the top just below where the start of the sides are at even width.
- Fill the bottom with bait about 2″ deep (suggestions below).
- Insert the top piece upside down into the bottom part (remove the cap first). The pieces should fit together nice and snug, but use duct tape along the rough edge to secure them together if you need to.
- Set this contraption out wherever you’ve seen them (in flower beds, close to a hedge, near the bird bath, etc.).
- The wasps will fly into the vessel to get at the food, but have trouble finding their way out through the small neck opening. They’ll eventually lose their strength and drown in the liquid.
- This setup also works 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 bottle, tighten on the cap then cut off the bottom few inches.
- Taking a second two liter pop bottle, remove the cap and cut off the top part right underneath where the width is the same as the rest of the vessel.
- For the bigger piece, puncture two small holes, one on either side (at the top) and push through each end of a length of heavy string or yarn, knotting at each end inside the vessel (this will need to be long enough to hang the container 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 section, securing together with duct tape around the bottom edges.
- Fill with bait through the top neck about 2″ deep, replace cap and hang.
- Do not make it so full of bait that there isn’t plenty of air space between the bottom (or top) of the vessel opening, you want them to be able to fly in with no trouble.
- Empty and refill contents regularly, wasps won’t be too tempted if they’re packed with the floating dead. Submerge the trap in a bucket of water for about 1/2 hour to make sure they’re all dead before cleaning and refilling.
- Simpler Yet: Just set out half-full cola cans or glass bottles, the openings are small and the contents are sweet enough to attract them. Just keep the liquid levels deep enough to drown them but not so full they’ll be able to stand on bodies to get out.
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 different traps to see which bait tempts them best, then continue to cater to them with that type. Or you could do a sugar & protein duo (for example: mixing juice with a chunk of meat).
- Jam dissolved in water (sweet enough to attract them but diluted enough so they drown)
- Fruit juice
- Sweet Cola/Pop
- Maple syrup or Molasses diluted with water
- If you need protein treats: Try adding a piece of raw hamburger or a chunk of canned tuna, dog or cat food to a trap with fruit juices or even plain water (deep enough to drown the critters but the piece of meat needs to be standing 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), they could be sticking around for that reason (they get thirsty too).
- If you have fruit trees, keep the produce picked and remove any that have fallen on the ground.