Make Your Own Yellow Jacket Trap
Are you eager to know how to make your own yellow jacket trap? If it is late Summer, you are probably not alone. Yellow Jacket Wasps are insect predators. While they serve an important role in the ecosystem, these yellow and black stinging wasps do not have a lot of fans. For those of us who keep honey bees, controlling the number of wasps near the hives can be important as they also eat bees.
Yellow Jackets are Wasps – Not Bees
Yellow Jackets are one type of bee that few people love, right? Not exactly! Despite public opinion, Yellow Jackets are actually not bees.
They belong to the wasp family – a cousin of the bee family. Fast moving, sleek meat eaters, yellow jackets are very common at late season picnics.
This is the time of year when colony size is at its peak. Their buzzing and random flying patterns cause people to scatter.
There are many strategies for dealing with these pesky wasps. From insect killer spray to the old reliable fly swats – even yellow jacket wasp traps – nothing is ruled out in this war.
While it may seem like a good idea at the time, swatting at Yellow Jacket Wasps is an exercise in futility.
If you are lucky enough to kill one, a pheromone will be released that calls others to the area.
Unlike honey bees, who only sting once, Yellow Jackets have smooth stingers and can sting many times.
One wasp is bad enough, four or five is a nightmare and dozens ! Let’s not even think about it.
Why Beekeepers Dislike Yellow Jackets
Yellow Jackets will enjoy a taste of sweet honey (or your can of Coca Cola). However, they are primarily meat eaters.
These wasps will prey on honey bee colonies when given the chance. They will eat brood (developing baby bees) inside the beehive and steal honey.
Beekeepers often see wasp predators near the entrance of hives. Here, they may attack adult bees at the front of a hive – even though guard bees try to fight them off.
Generally, a few of these wasps are not a major danger to the honey bee hive. However, that is not always the case.
A large number of Yellow Jackets can pose a serious threat to weak bee colonies.
The wasps may kill increasing numbers of guard bees making the honey bee colony even weaker.
When Is a Wasp Trap Most Effective?
Like many Wasps, the Yellow Jacket colony does not over-winter. A mated female “Queen” Wasp hibernates during Winter under leaves bark or other debris.
In the Spring, she emerges and begins her nest. Raising only as many young as she can tend until the colony grows larger.
This is why we don’t see large Yellow Jacket nests until later in the season.
For beekeepers, a group of Yellow Jackets buzzing around during bee hive inspections is a distraction. This gets worse as we move into the Fall season.
So, let’s get those wasp traps out in late Spring/early Summer. We want to catch those early queen wasps and prevent some of the nest growth.
Will My Yellow Jacket Trap Work?
In most cases, yes, a wasp trap can catch Yellow Jacket Wasps. The number of wasps you capture depends a great deal on where you live.
Those of you with a large population of wasps nearby will catch more than someone lucky enough to have few area wasps.
Also, the available food sources that wax and wane throughout the season can affect how well your trap works.
Reducing the number of wasp nests in the general area has some benefits. The number of wasps at your picnic or attacking your bee colonies should be fewer.
You can make your own Yellow Jacket Wasp Trap from common items you may have at home.
While there are many different styles of traps – this one is made from an empty soda bottle.
How To Make A Yellow Jacket Wasp Trap
- a tall plastic bottle (2 litre soda?)
- 1 banana peel
- 1 cup of vinegar
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of water
Step 1 – You need a plastic bottle. An empty 2 liter soda bottle is ideal. If that is not available, any plastic bottle of the correct shape will do. (I like a clear bottle so I can see the little suckers in there.)
Step 2 – Carefully cut the top 1/3 of the bottle off. Throw away the lid if you have one. You now have 2 parts.
Step 3 – Gather your ingredients: 1 cup of vinegar, ½ cup of sugar, 1 cup of water and 1 banana peel
Step 4 – Mix liquid ingredients in the bottom half of the bottle. Then add banana.
Step 5 – Invert top portion of bottle into bottom half – forming a funnel.
Step 6 – Sit outside in a place that is protected from rain.
This was what I found after 2 hours. You may catch a few honeybees but overall the vinegar will repel them.
Yellow Jacket Trap Bait Recipe
This vinegar, sugar water and banana mixture will attract yellow jacket wasps. It is not as attractive to honey bees. You should see few if any honey bees in your trap.
Follow the yellow jacket trap bait recipe in the steps above. Don’t make it sweeter as the added sugar may cause more honey bees to take an interest.
Other Baits for Wasp Traps
You can use other types of bait for your wasp traps. I hear reports of success with yellow jacket traps that are baited with meat.
Hmm… If you choose to do that – I would certainly hang it far, far away. A few days in the sun and heat will not result in a nice smell – of that I am sure!
If you don’t have the time or desire to make your own trap, you may decide to try one of the commercial ones.
Thoughts on Trapping Yellow Jacket Wasps
Yellow Jacket Wasps are predators that feast on many undesirable insects. They are useful members of the ecosystem and certainly not our enemies.
However, due to the aggressive nature of these wasps it is a good idea to reduce the number of colonies in areas close to human activity.
Using traps throughout the Summer to capture and kill Wasp Queens may result in fewer nests next year.