Late this summer, our favorite outdoor living areas got infested with some aggressive wasps and yellow-jackets. We were not too worried about it until one of the yellow-jackets stung my boy in the foot. The sting turned into an infection. The wasps had to go! We did not know where the nest was, we didn’t want to use toxins that would kill the mild bees. So we found a simple trap that used fruit juice and meat. Within a couple of days, the wasp (more specifically, yellow jacket) population appeared to be back under control.
Wasps Are Dirty Creatures
After 24 hours of children’s allergy relief medicine, our son’s foot got worse, not better. So we took him to the doctor. According to her, wasp stings can turn into a bacterial infection because they are drawn to human food, garbage, pet droppings, dead stuff… Our son’s infection could also have been amplified because he was stung on the foot, one of the dirtier areas of the body. While we did get the stinger out quickly, using hindsight, we should have washed his stung foot with some antibacterial soap. We should have also coached our son to minimize scratching the bitten area. At any rate, we started him on a regiment of antibiotics. Luckily, after 24 hours, the redness and swelling went down. But we didn’t want to go through that again, if possible. So out came the traps.
Criteria for a Trap
We wanted a trap with the following criteria:
· catches lots of wasps
· doesn’t harm bees in their hives We didn’t want a chemical brought back to a bee hive.
· reusable I’m cheap. I don’t want to keep buying traps all summer.
· non toxic to kids and pets
There are several online articles about how to make a trap that fits the criteria above. I’ve tried a few of them. I have found that the geometry of the hole that the wasps enter in is key. Thus far, I haven’t been able to make a trap that gets that geometry quite right. Thus far I’ve only found one commercial trap that fits all of these criteria but I also haven’t looked too far because the one I found works great. It’s called a “Yellow jacket and Wasp Trap” and it is made by PIC. It is so simple. It is a honeycombed shaped plastic container that has holes the wasps can enter but cannot exit. You add a mixture of juice, sugar and meat into it. This attracts wasps who like the sweet juice and the meat. The meat is key. Bees are not attracted to the meat but the wasps are. It is especially attractive to female yellow jacket workers who eat only the sweet juice but seek protein to bring back to the next.
How to Catch Wasps
For each trap, mix one cup of any juice with 1 TBSP of sugar. Dissolve the sugar as best as you can but don’t worry if there are sugar crystals left in the juice; it is not an exact science. We found that while the wasps seem to initially be more attracted to apple juice, the apple juice turns vinegary in the hot sun pretty quick. It seems like the wasps are not as attracted to this vinegar smell. Typically I use a cranberry-apple juice blend.
Pour the sugar-juice mixture into the trap. Add a few chunks of whatever leftover meat you have. Week old rotisserie chicken and stinky, wet cat food seem to work the best. I think we’ve tried everything from old meatloaf to left over hot dog chunks and they’ve all worked pretty well.
Screw the cap on top of the trap and hang up in the area you’d like to “de-waspafy”. It won’t take long and the wasps will come. Within a few hours, you’ll be amazed at how many of the pests you have caught. The mixture generally stays effective for 4-5 days. Then the trap has to be taken down, emptied out, and re-filled.