By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Homemade wasp trap instructions abound on the internet or you can also purchase ready-made versions. These easy-to-assemble traps simply catch the wasps and drown them. Almost any household container can be converted quickly and easily into an effective wasp trap. The best wasp traps on the market can’t hold a candle to your homemade version. Learn how to make a homemade wasp trap in this article.
Wasps are terrifying to many people who have been stung. They are, however, beneficial insects whose main job is to eat other insects. Wasps are attracted to proteins and sugars which can make those summertime picnics less than comfortable.
Sprays and baits can be helpful but generally contain toxins that may not be appropriate around your family. A safer and non-toxic way to minimize the insects is to use a little DIY wasp trap info to construct your own. Do homemade wasp traps work? The effectiveness of any trap, whether homemade or purchased, depends upon the timing used and how vigilant you are about keeping it clean.
The most efficient use of a trap is to set it out early in spring before the insects become numerous. This is because the females, or queens, are moving about in the early season. Each queen caught is estimated to represent 1,000 workers later in the season.
It is also important to keep the trap clean. The buildup of dead wasp bodies will create a raft for living wasps that get trapped. These live surfing wasps can then find their way out of the container.
Attracting the wasps to your trap doesn’t rely upon bright colors or fancy styling. Instead, wasps are attracted to sweet smells and imprint or bookmark the location of any sugary food. Even the best wasp traps are reduced to useless junk if you aren’t baiting correctly or cleaning out the dead.
First, you will need an empty jug. Plastic is easiest to work with and it should be large enough to accommodate both several inches (7.5 cm.) of liquid and some flying space. A large liter soda bottle works very well.
Cut off the top of the bottle just below where the container broadens. Take the top and invert it so the spout is inside the bottle. Some homemade wasp trap instructions suggest dipping the spout into honey or jam but this may not be necessary.
Pour a few inches (5 cm.) of sugar water into the bottle. The idea is to have the insect fly in to get the sugar and not be able to fly out. If the opening is too large, use a piece of packing tape to cover it with a small punched hole just large enough for the insects to fly into.
If you are worried about attracting honeybees, add a teaspoon (5 ml.) of vinegar to the water. You can also enhance the chances of the trap working by putting a few drops of dish soap into the water. This prevents the insects from gaining any traction on the surface of the water and will speed their demise.
Wasps are more interested in protein in spring and early summer. It is only near the end of the season that their cravings for sugar spike. For early season use, you might consider the same trap build but with rotten meat in plain water inside the bottle. This will encourage early season insects to investigate your clever trap.
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Nothing can ruin a summer barbecue or evening by the pool like the threat of a wasp’s sting. Mind you, wasps aren’t all bad—the adults are nectar-eating pollinators, and they kill other insects (often those harmful to crops) to feed their carnivorous larvae. Still, a nearby nest can be dangerous, especially to those who are allergic to their sting. Should you find an infestation around your own home, you have a few options: call a pest-control company, kill them yourself with sprays, or trap them. While wasp traps are available for purchase, save yourself some money and get rid of your buzzy problem by crafting this hands-off solution using items you most likely already have sitting in your house.
Photo: flickr.com via noricum
Dig through your recycling to get the materials you need to make this trap, and get crafting. First, remove the bottle cap and cut the 2-liter soda bottle just under the neck, where the bottle becomes a straight cylinder. Invert the top portion of the bottle to serve as a funnel, and fit it inside the bottom half of the bottle. Tape the two pieces together around the cut edge so the funnel stays in place. Finally, poke two holes on opposite sides of the rim and attach some string to make a handle for hanging.
You’ll never catch any wasps without the right kind of bait—and the perfect lure is wholly dependent on the season. In early spring, when wasps are reproducing, they are looking for protein later in summer, they want sugar.
Start with a base of water and a few drops of dish soap. (The dish soap will break up the surface tension of the water and aid in drowning the wasps.) In spring, add grease from cooked meat to the soapy solution in summer, try vinegar and something sugary like jam. Pour the bait solution into the bottle, leaving an inch or so underneath the funnel so wasps can enter.
Note: Do not add honey to your trap. That particular sweet will attract honeybees, and you don’t want to kill these very important, nonaggressive pollinators.
You can set your traps out on the ground, but hanging them about four feet high will probably attract and catch more wasps. Find a good tree limb or fence post on your property—one that is at least 10 yards away from your family’s play, work, and gathering spaces—and hang up the homemade trap by its string handle.
Check back often to dispose of the drowned wasps and refill the bait. Be sure the wasps are dead before you open the trap to remove them—an escapee will go back to the nest and warn the colony.
Bury the wasps you’ve caught, or shut them tightly in a plastic bag to dispose of in the garbage. Be sure not to crush the wasps while disposing of them, as the bodies release a scent that alerts other wasps of danger, potentially attracting a swarm. Even easier, just dispose of the whole trap altogether and make a new one from the week’s recycling. There’s no need to wait for a colony to become well established before making your traps. As the old adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
As mentioned above, making a wasp trap at home, is a simple task that requires only a few minutes. For this purpose, you need a two/three liter plastic water bottle, string, knife, water-resistant tape, sugar water, vinegar, a few drops of dish-wash liquid and a stapler (optional). It is better to avoid bottles with ribbed surfaces.
Remove the label, so that you can see the contents of the bottle. Cut off the top part of the bottle, as shown in the second image.
Discard the cap of the bottle. Push the smaller, funnel-shaped piece into the larger part, in an upside down fashion.
Attach both the parts by sealing the edges with water-resistant tape. You may also staple the edges. The first method will be beneficial for those who want to reuse the trap. It may get difficult to remove the staples, every time you want to refill the trap.
Once done, punch two holes (one facing the other) along the edges, so that you can put a string through them, for hanging the trap. Your homemade wasp trap is almost ready. It will look like a jar with a wide opening, which narrows inwards.
Now you have to bait the trap. In order to trap wasps, you must use a bait that has a sweet and sour flavor. Another advantage of such bait is that it will not attract bees. A mixture of sugar, water, and some drops of vinegar will do. You may also add two, three drops of dish-wash liquid. However, you must ensure that the outer surfaces of the trap, including its entry point, do not have any trace of the bait.
The wasps should have access to the bait, only if they enter the trap. So use a funnel to pour the bait into the trap. The funnel-shaped entry route to the trap, must have a slippery surface, so that the wasps fall into the trap easily. You may apply some cooking oil, for that purpose.
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Attracted by the smell of the bait, wasps will fly into the trap. Once inside, they will not be able to find the way out. In the course of their search for the opening, they will get tired and eventually, will drown and die. The dish-wash liquid in the bait covers the body of the wasps. Since they breathe through their body, the soap coating will suffocate them to death. Thus, it can be ensured that the trapped wasp will die eventually, even if it manages to escape from the trap. Remove the bait, along with the dead wasps, once in every three days. Otherwise, the dead wasps that float on the bait, will form a platform that will prevent drowning of the wasps that enter the trap, subsequently. You must bury the dead wasps or flush them.
Draper hook or other wire hook
Kill wasps naturally with homemade bait. In winter, wasps are attracted to protein sources. Partially cooked hamburger, fish, chicken, or liverwurst attract foraging wasps. In spring, summer and autumn, wasps are more attracted to sweet, sugary food sources. Apples, grapes, sugar and vinegar water are effective at attracting wasps during these warm months. Homemade bait lures wasps to traps, where the wasps drown.
Make a depository for wasp bait. Using a razor knife, cut a clear plastic soda bottle just above the hip near the top of the bottle. Discard the bottle cap. Invert the top of the bottle and place inside the bottom of the bottle. Punch three holes equally spaced around the perimeter of the bottle using a hole punch or ice pick. Make holes large enough to insert wire or cording for a hanger. Set hanger aside until you bait the trap.
Observe the top of the bottle inverted into the bottom of the bottle. With a permanent marker, indicate on the bottle bottom the location of the bottle neck.
Punch a hole on the line indicated in the step above. Make the hole a tight fit for a drapery hook or piece of wire shaped into a hook. Insert the hook on the inside of the bottle.
Place a piece of meat securely on the hook. You can use chicken, liverwurst on stale bread or red meat.
Combine 12 oz. of water with 1/4-cup sugar and 1/4-cup vinegar. Pour the solution into the bottom of the bottle, making certain that the sweet solution does not reach the meat.
Replace the inverted bottle top and attach the hanger. Gather the wire or cord together at the top and twist the wire or knot the cord. Hang from a hook.
Remember that wasps are beneficial inserts. Trap wasps in areas where they may pose a threat to humans and pets. Whenever possible, just leave them alone and they will leave you alone.
For Judy Kilpatrick, gardening is the best mental health therapy of all. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications.
I thought someone might want this tip since it's getting that time of year again. Wasps can be a pain, literally, to have around! It's not difficult to create a trap to help control them, however. Here are plans for a wasp trap that has worked for many people to reduce the number of wasps in and around the yard.
WARNING: Be sure to place your wasp trap away from any areas where you will be using the yard. Don't have one within 20 feet of your picnic table or children's play areas.
The simplest wasp trap can be made from a two or three liter pop bottle. Cut the bottle right under the funnel so that you have two pieces. After baiting the trap, you will fit the funnel shaped top piece into the bottom piece. The bait can be tied onto the pop bottle opening. Make three or four holes around the top edges where the fitted pieces meet, from which to attach string for a hanger. Don't tie these on too tightly because you will need to take the trap apart frequently to add new bait and remove dead wasps. Add water with a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the container part of the trap. A little vinegar added to the water is reported to repel honey bees from visiting the wasp trap. The water should not come to the level of the opening of the funnel shaped insert. Put a bit of Vaseline or cooking oil around the top of the funnel so that the insects will lose their footing when they are investigating the wasp trap.
What sort of bait works well in a wasp trap? It actually makes a difference what time of year it is. In the early spring, wasps will be seeking protein foods because they will be making nests and laying eggs. Some good choices for protein baits are hamburger and lunch meat. Partially cook the hamburger so that it is easier to tie onto the trap. An advantage to setting a wasp trap in the early spring or even late winter is that you may catch a queen. If you can catch and kill a queen, the rest of the wasps will go elsewhere to make a nest. Later on in the summer, sweet foods work well as bait. You might try floating a bit of root beer or other sweet liquid on the water in the trap in a small lid. Fruit pieces work well, too, but it helps if they are cut so that the juicy smell is evident. Mashed grapes are very desirable to wasps.
Place the wasp trap away from human activity and about four feet above the ground. The trap works best at about 85 degrees F. so you may have to move it into the shade on a hot afternoon or into the sun on a cool morning. The theory behind these traps is interesting. The wasp will fly down into the wasp trap to get the bait, but will not be able to find its way out. It will fly around inside until it wears itself out, at which time it will fall into the water. The detergent in the water breaks down the surface tension of the water, making it stick to the wasp's body instead of beading up around it. Since the wasp breathes through it's body, it will drown. Many wasps are likely to visit these wasp traps, which means you will need to empty them regularly. If you don't, the bodies of wasps will create islands on which the new wasps can rest without drowning. You will need to replenish the bait every few days, too, for best results.
When you empty the trap, you need to be careful. If any living wasps escape, they may return to the nest and let the others know they are in danger. If this happens, wasps can become aggressive. They may even swarm. The same thing can happen if the dead wasps' bodies are crushed. The bodies release a chemical which can be smelled by the rest of the colony. It is probably a good idea to bury the dead wasp bodies. (Be particularly careful if it is a colony of hornets you are trying to control! It is probably wisest to have a professional exterminator take care of them.)
Wasps are beneficial insects. They are useful around gardens because they prey on garden pest insects. However, when they make their nests too close to the house, they become pests themselves. Many people are allergic to wasp stings and can die if stung. In fact, death from insect stings is not uncommon. Making a wasp trap is one way to keep them under control without having to use toxic chemicals.
By Kathy from Huntsville, AL
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If you are going to kill wasps yourself it’s important that you do not make things up on the fly as you go along. By doing so you’ll end up on the receiving end of a wasp sting. Through observation, research, and trial & error I have come to the realization that there is a right way and wrong way to go about killing off wasps.
The right way is to wear protective clothing when attempting to kill wasps. If by chance you get overrun by wasps by wearing protective gear you minimize the likelihood of being badly harmed. It is important to consider the time you attempt to kill wasps. You should avoid trying to kill them when they are active. Wait until nighttime or early morning when they are asleep and less active.
This type of trap is also easy to make. Indeed, it has the advantage of not filling with rainwater, which dilutes the bait and reduces its effectiveness.
A yellow or fluorescent orange cap (colors that attract wasps) and string or adhesive tape in these colors optimize the trap’s effectiveness.
I am a chemistry researcher and research various household products to make life easier and enjoyable for people around the world.