Make Your Own Yellow Jacket Trap
Do you like Yellow Jacket Wasps? While they serve an important role in the ecosystem, these yellow and black stinging wasps do not have a lot of fans. For beekeepers, controlling the number of wasps near the hives can be a part of good beehive management. Perhaps it is time to make your own Yellow Jacket Trap.
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. Fast moving, sleek meat eaters, they are very common at late season picnics.
Their buzzing and random flying patterns cause people to scatter. From spray to fly swats to a Yellow Jacket Wasp Trap – nothing is ruled out in this war.
Swatting at Yellow Jacket Wasps is an exercise in futility. If you are lucky enough to get 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.
Yellow Jackets Are Meat Eaters
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 (baby bees) inside the beehive. They even catch weak adult bees at the front of a hive.
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.
Peak Yellow Jacket Wasp Time
Like many Wasps, the Yellow Jacket colony does not over-winter like honey bees. 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.
Posing no real threat to a strong colony, Yellow Jackets are a nuisance to late season beekeeping in my area.
A hoard of Yellow Jackets buzzing around during hive inspections is a distraction.
I must worry about getting stung by my bees and the wasps. Their presence also sets the honey bees on edge.
Are Wasp Traps Effective
A Yellow Jacket Wasp trap reduces the number of wasps at your picnic or attacking your bee colonies. You can buy a trap ready to use.
Or you can make your own Yellow Jacket Wasp Trap from common items you may have at home.
The internet is filled with various designs of Yellow Jacket Wasp Traps. The liquid “bait” is also known to contain various concoctions. I will share the method I am using – feel free to experiment.
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.
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Yellow Jacket Trap Bait Recipe
The vinegar, sugar water and banana 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. Don’t make it sweeter as the added sugar may cause more honey bees to take an interest.
Experimenting With Other Baits for 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.
Saving Bees One Step At A Time
Your honey bees have worked hard through out the season making honey and raising young.
The beekeeper has worked hard feeding bees, controlling mites and other pests. Don’t let Yellow Jackets destroy your colonies.
And for the non-beekeepers, no one enjoys having a lot of Yellow Jackets at the Summer picnic. Using traps to capture and kill Wasp Queens may result in fewer nests next year.