Wasps can be a difficult neighbor to coexist with, as they tend to be more aggressive than some of their bee cousins. They also have a pretty nasty sting. While there are a number of chemical products that you can use to either kill or repel wasps, you can also make a trap out of some basic household items and ingredients from your pantry. This is a great trick to know about for home or out in the field during a crisis, and it’s very easy to put together.
1 empty ½ gallon paper carton of juice (preferably orange with pulp)
Some jam or jelly
Some fruit juice such as cranberry, grape or apple
The first step is to remove the cap from the container and carefully unfold the top so that the carton is wide open. Feel free to drink or dump out any remaining liquid, but resist the temptation to rinse it out. The pulpy bits will help to attract wasps, especially once they dry and stick to the side walls of the carton.
One you’ve opened up the carton, all you need to do is add a teaspoon or two of the jelly inside and let it rest on the bottom. Pour in some of your juice until the level of the liquid is a couple of inches deep. You can also smear some of the jelly along the side walls of the carton at a point where it touches the liquid. This can serve as an extra layer of entrapment that will hopefully contain more wasps and prevent them from escaping.
Once you’ve finished preparing the inside of the container, fold the top back up and staple or tape it closed. Do not attach the cap.
The idea is that the wasps will enter the carton as they are attracted to the smell and then drown in the liquid as they rest on the bits of jelly or jam. Once they get wet from the liquid, they will fall under their own weight and not be able to escape. If you smear some of the jam near the liquid, the wasps can get stuck and eventually get exposed to the liquid to the point where they fall. Once you’ve trapped enough wasps, simply attach the cap and dispose of the container. Problem solved.
You can also modify an empty tall beer or cider can to accomplish the same thing in a few easy steps as well. The drawback is that it is much smaller, so you won’t be able to capture as many wasps. However, it’s ideal to use in places where you want to keep it concealed or if you want to enhance your wasp control efforts by scattering smaller traps around your property.
The first step is to cut off the top section of the can, about an inch below where it begins to taper. Set aside the top piece. Carefully trim or fold down any jagged bits, and consider adding a layer of duct tape around the edges to prevent injury when handling the can.
Next, add the preserves, jelly or jam and fill the can with juice until it’s at least 1½ inches deep. Next, invert the top piece of the can, and fit it inside the bottom. Press down so that the opening of the can is at least an inch below the top edge. Again, consider using some tape to cover the sharp edges. All you need to do is wait, and wasps will come, go inside, and stay there in most cases. Cover the hole with some tape or stuff a piece of tissue or paper towel inside before disposing when finished.
In both cases, place the traps in an area that is away from where people or pets tend to congregate or move about. You also want to check the traps and dispose of them every day or two as they will attract ants and other pests. Keep re-positioning the traps until you find the most effective spot and your wasp problems get under control.
Try this out for yourself, and feel free to modify it so that the traps can be hung or secured to surfaces as necessary. This is a great, effective and safe way to trap wasps as long as you are careful when collecting and disposing of them.