Yellow jackets are a wasp with yellow and black stripe markings that are sometimes mistaken for bees. They live in gray, honeycombed nest located below or above ground. Worker yellow jackets hunt for food such as meat, sugar or insects. Workers carry the food back to the nest where it is distributed to the colony.
Each colony has a queen that lays eggs. A queen begins a nest in springtime by laying a few eggs and raises them to adult workers. By fall, a new generation of yellow jackets leaves the colony to find a new nest. During the winter months only the queen will survive and she reemerges in springtime to start a new nest.
An effective method of controlling yellow jackets is to make a simple trap. Remember, that traps will provide temporary relief be reducing the worker population in your yard. The only way to illuminate the yellow jacket population is to eradicate the colony.
Items You Need for a Simple Trap
- One, empty 2-liter soda bottle
- Scissors or a knife
- Single hole punch
- Staples or duct tape
- Wire or string
- Fruit juice, soda or apple cider
Simple Yellow Jacket Trap
- Cut the top off of a 2-liter bottle; make the incision where the slopping top meets the straight side of the bottle.
- Invert the top tapered piece into the main bottle and staple or tape it together,
- Punch a hole near the top of the rim with a hole punch or use a knife.
- Insert a string or wire through the hole and tie it together. Now you will be able to hang the trap from a tree.
- Add an inch of fruit juice, soda or apple cider in the bottom of the bottle. Splash some juice or soda on the outer funnel to attract the yellow jackets.
- Hang the trap on a tree; keep it as far from the house entrance as possible.
Cleaning the Trap
Once the trap is full, be sure to fill the bottle with soapy water and let it sit for a while to drown any surviving yellow jackets still alive. Remove the inverted cap; dump the yellow jackets into the trash or your compost pile.
Basic Yellow Jacket Control Tips
- The simplest way to keep yellow jackets away is to keep the garbage cans sealed and clean.
- Keep pet foods inside the house, yellow jackets will eat pet food sitting in a bowl.
- Don’t leave any left over foods, candy or table scraps exposed outside that will attract yellow jackets.
- Make sure awnings and sidings are properly sealed to prevent yellow jackets from constructing nest in your home.
- Warning: Some people are allergic to the venom of yellow jackets. If you are sensitive to yellow jacket venom, consider having someone else put up the trap.