DIY Yellow Jacket Trap: Get Rid of Yellow Jackets Naturally in 3 Simple Steps

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Like many bees and hornets, these nasty flying nuisances are very well-known for attacking people without any apparent reason. After they establish their nest, they declare all the surrounding areas as their territory and you will instantly realize how much of a threat they are.

Yellow jackets have their benefits: they can get rid of harmful caterpillars and other unwanted insects and they are also pollinators like bees. Yellow jackets are usually not an issue and you can coexist in peace with them. It’s better to leave them alone most of the time; however, the problem is when their numbers get out control since this insect is highly aggressive and will inevitably try to attack you if you come any closer to its nest or its path, making your outdoor activities problematic and even dangerous in severe cases.

Sometimes, using pesticides or other chemical substances as a solution is out of the question since pesticides can harm your garden by killing other beneficial insects and ruin the ecosystem. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of preference for some people who don’t like to use products that could be potentially harmful to the environment.

Therefore, in this guide, we’ll show you a number of simple 3-step DIY solutions you can create using everyday products you can find at home. With these simple yet powerful yellow jacket traps, you will see the results in no time. Let’s get to work!

Yellow Jacket Trap 1: The Death Funnel (Or simply Bottle Trap)

If you’ve ever thought about recycling those 2-liter soda bottles or you have any type of bottle lying around, this is your chance to kill two birds with one stone.

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This simple trap is guaranteed to dramatically reduce their numbers and defeat their quest of conquering your home. It’s easy to do, cheap, and non-toxic.

What you need to make it:

  • A transparent plastic bottle: A ½-liter soda bottle (or any other drink). It needs to be transparent so you can see what’s going on and make sure it’s working
  • Bait: wasps love sweet things so what you need here is a very attractive sweet drink. You can use syrup (water + sugar), soda, fruit juice or wine (especially red wine)
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • A pair of scissors
  • Tape (optional)

Step 1

Grab the soda bottle, remove and discard the cap, and then use the scissors to cut the top off—this is going to be our funnel (the entrance for the yellow jackets). Invert the top of the bottle and insert it into the bottle. You can secure the top in place with some tape if you wish.

Step 2

Pour some syrup or red wine inside the bottle to make it inviting; it doesn’t need to be a lot but deep enough for a lot of yellow jackets to drown in it. Then add a drop of dishwashing liquid to break the surface tension of the liquid. This way, yellow jackets won’t be able to safely stand on it while trying to drink.

Step 3

Check your house surroundings and try to find the yellow jacket nest. You can place this trap as close as possible to the nest for a faster effect or in areas where you see the most activity. Be careful not to get stung when placing the bottle and make sure it doesn’t fall with the wind.

Expected Results:

Within a matter of hours, you will see the yellow jackets swarming around the bottle and going in through the funnel to try and land in the liquid to have a feast. Luckily they don’t learn from their friends’ mistakes so they will continue to go in and drown one after the other until you get a bottle full of exterminated yellow jackets. You can reuse the trap by emptying it out and repeating.

Yellow Jacket Trap 2: The Dome of Doom (or a plastic bowl over the nest)

This is a solution for yellow jacket nests on the ground. They can nest on the ground or sometimes even in the ground by nesting inside cracks or any type of opening. Their nests are not always easy to find but with a little patience and caution you can track their moves and they will eventually lead you to their nest.

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This is a more active trap which will require you to go straight behind enemy lines and find the yellow jacket nest to destroy the threat from its source.

What you need to make it:

  • A bowl: Preferably a transparent plastic bowl—as big as possible to ensure you can cover the nest properly. Alternatively, you can use a pot. The only disadvantage is that you won’t be able to check when they die without opening up the trap
  • A heavy object: Here, you can use literally anything that is heavy and won’t fall. A regular rock, a flowerpot, a brick, etc. For this guide, we’ll use a brick
  • A flashlight: To spot any nests during nighttime
  • Clothes that cover your body: Wear pants and long sleeves, also gloves. Cover as much skin as you can

Step 1

What you need to do first is to find the ground nest. This can be done during the day by standing in an open area and observing their moves. Yellow jackets move in straight lines from and back to their nests—you have to pick a sunny day to see them better. Since they are yellow, they are easy to spot under the sun.

After you see their moves and detect a line coming back and forth, you have to follow the track back to their nest. Sometimes, their nest can be hundreds of feet away from your home so you may have to walk a bit.

If finding their trail is becoming difficult, you can also use bait to lure a trail of yellow jackets to a convenient place where you can observe. Using fruit, fish, meat, or syrup is a good way to get them attracted. After they form a line you can follow them.

After you’ve found the nest, remember the position as well as you can. You can mark it somehow if you like.

Note: Be extra cautious and keep your distance when tracking their nest. Remember that yellow jackets are very aggressive and their stings are really painful. Wear your protective clothes to be as safe as possible.

Step 2

Wait until nightfall. Yellow jackets are not very active during the night so this time is perfect because all the workers go back to the nest to rest. Remember the path you followed and grab your plastic bowl, a flashlight and brick, wear the right clothes, and go to the nest.

The flashlight must only be used to quickly and accurately see where the nest is in dark. You must not keep it on for extended periods since this can attract the yellow jackets to you.

Put the bowl over the nest entrance and secure it to the ground with the brick. The extra weight will keep any from escaping.

Step 3

Wait it out. Having no escape from their nest, the yellow jackets will eventually starve and you will wipe out the entire nest without doing anything further—this can take up to 2–3 days.

Expected results:

As mentioned before, the yellow jackets should die of starvation if the nest was sealed properly. Always check for multiple entrances so you can seal them all and eliminate this pest once and for all.

In the case of dealing with more than one nest, you can repeat the same process for each one. Sometimes, this solution is not possible since yellow jackets can nest inside walls, between cracks, or narrow openings and there are also aerial nests on top of trees.

Alternative solution

After you’ve located the nest:

  • Grab a bucket and fill it with plenty of water
  • Add liquid soap to the water: Soapy water works like a charm killing wasps. If you have concerns about harming the environment, check the ingredients of your soap or buy a biodegradable soap

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This has to be done during the night as well so be careful not to get attacked by any yellow jacket still flying around. You have to move fast and attack their best directly by pouring all the contents of the bucket down the nest entrance; this will drown and kill every single one of them.

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Another way to reinforce this method is to boil some water and pour it right after the soapy water. If there’s any survivor, the heat will inevitably destroy them.

Pro-life method

If you’re not into killing the wasps, you can also use the first method to trap them without the need to eliminate them. Simply add enough bait (syrup, grenadine, etc.) to make a shallow puddle inside the bottle, which is enough to lure them in but not to drown them. This way you can close the bottle once a good amount of yellow jackets are in and take them to a place further away where you can safely release them.


Yellow jackets are not friendly but they are a good part of any ecosystem. If you see there are some around your home, it doesn’t mean you need to act right away to exterminate them. They also contribute to the environment. However, if they start reproducing too fast or they establish many colonies, they will become an issue since they can attack your family and friends, preventing you from enjoying a nice barbecue or just relaxing under the sun.

Don’t let yellow jackets invade your property. Stand up right now and make the solution yourself!

Sources of information

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