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Yellow Jacket Traps

Summary: Yellow jackets present an ongoing problem during the summer months. Yellow jacket traps are an effective way to reduce the yellow jacket population without the use of pesticide sprays. This article will present several cheap and easy methods of creating a yellow jacket trap.

Every year it is the same problem. You try to enjoy your backyard only to find that yellow jackets own the space. No matter how many repellents you spray around the yard or on your person, yellow jackets invade your space.

It’s not that we care so much about yellow jackets being in our area, but the darned things get pretty aggressive and are not afraid to sting. And heaven forbid you squash a yellow jacket. Instantly, you find yourself in the middle of angry wasps that are responding to the alarm pheromone put off by the dead yellow jacket.


So, here are several easy and inexpensive yellow jacket traps that really work. Keep in mind that these traps will not eliminate existing yellow jacket nests. The traps are meant to draw yellow jackets away from your personal space. Putting these traps around the perimeter of your lawn, well away from the area you hope to occupy, will draw the wasps away in sufficient numbers to give you some needed relief.

The first yellow jacket trap is the most common. It’s the bottle trap. You can use a gallon or half gallon milk jug or a large plastic soda bottle as the container. Cut two thumb-sized holes in the upper third of the container. Fill the bottom container with about two inches of water and add a squirt of liquid dish soap like Joy. The detergent breaks the water tension so that the wasps immediately break the water surface, preventing them from escaping the surface of the water.

You will need to add some bait inside the bottle. Some people smear jelly inside the holes of the bottle. Others take long toothpicks like you get when you eat kabobs at a restaurant, and speak a piece of bacon so that it hangs down from the inside of the neck of the bottle. Lots of different food baits attract yellow jackets including raw fish, various meats or sweets. Experiment with your trap.

Some people like to take a soda bottle and cut off the top third of the bottle. Then, they take the cut piece that includes the bottle neck, turn it upside down and put it in the opening. Once again, they fill the bottom of the bottle with about two inches of water and add a little detergent. You can even substitute fruit juice for the water and the juice will serve as the bait.

Don’t have a bottle handy? Take a roasting pan and fill the bottom with water and detergent. Use a meat skewer to hold a piece of bacon across the pan. Works just like the bottle traps.


You will find that it will be necessary to frequently empty the traps especially if your trap is located near a yellow jacket nest. These nests can contain thousands of insects and your trap is going to quickly draw their interest. So, expect to find loads of dead yellow jackets in your traps. Keeping the trap clean of dead insects will encourage more insects to visit.

The more traps the better the protection. If you are planning an outdoor party set your traps out days ahead of the event to help reduce the yellow jacket population. Put out one trap every twenty feet around the perimeter to get the best protection.

Click here to watch my short video on how to control wasps.

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