Hornet/yellowjacket traps?

Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)October 17, 2013

I have been building up a population of European hornets and other similar sugar-loving hornets/yellowjackets/bees, to the point where its now getting out of hand: its hard to pick the figs with all the stinging critters on them, and they are doing major damage on some crops. I am thinking of getting some of those hanging traps which I guess are sugar baited. Does anyone have experience trapping hornets in an orchard?


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I picked up some plastic wasp traps at my local
fleet farm in their farm section. I got 3 for use in my grapes as the wasps love sucking them dry once they are sweet.

Do they help? Yes, I re-use them every year and fill them with MOuntain Dew. Every two days I have to empty them as each one will be packed with wasps.

Putting 3 traps in my row of 5 grapevines helps reduce the wasp damage quite a bit but not all. Without the traps, I fear I would get very little fruit to harvest.

I have heard of some local growers around here making their own trap by filling a 5 gallon pail part full of a heavy
sugar syrup and adding dish soap? They claim it works as the wasps land on it and drown. I presume the soap must do someting to coat their wings.

Any other readers have info on wasp traps? This is just from my experience/use.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 11:35AM
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I had the same problem with yellow jackets. I tried the traps but they filled up too quick and didn't seem to put a dent in them. Finally I called a pest control company, and the guy hung 3 or 4 pill bottles that had holes in the sides filled with a poison that looked like oatmeal. Within a couple of days they were gone!! He said they take the poison back to the nest and all they eat it and die. I don't remember what it cost, but it wasn't that expensive.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 11:50AM
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try doing a search on yellow jacket traps and beekeeping. Beekeepers can have serious problems with these guys attacking hives in the late fall.
There are many simple effective homemade traps and baits (which often include some from of protein in addition to sugar).

I would be more precise, but fortunately the damage we see to the fruit and hives has been minimal and I have not had to do it myself yet.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 12:26PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

You might want to hire a good pest service to find and eliminate the nests, Even if not on your property, most people have no objection to removing them. As people stated, if you buy traps, you will have lot's of workers, so you're keeping the queen busy, but she can produce as many as you eliminate. Go for the queen, and "check mate" the nest! Game over!
Oh, i see someone already mentioned this. It is the way to go for sure.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Thu, Oct 17, 13 at 15:40

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 3:38PM
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alan haigh

I use traps most seasons and order the Victor reusable traps on the internet. They keep out the rain and I can bait them with 1/3rd Chinese concentrated apple juice to water. The trick is that you need a whole lot of them- I use up to three in a tree. A touch of citric acid and detergent will be helpful- the first to slow the turn to vinegar and the second to make cleaning easier.

It does take a week or two to get them under control this way and dumping and refilling the traps every week or two is a pain, but it works and you can fertilize your trees with the dead wasps.

You actually have a problem with hornets? It's always wasps here. Yellow jackets or their horrible dark with white face cousins.

While you are waiting you can make just as affective a trap (except when it rains hard) out of a plastic soda bottle by cutting off the top and then inverting it back into the base. I bet you can figure it out or get help on the internet to do that.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 3:48PM
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Did I read here a couple of weeks ago that they seem to prefer tequila?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 9:38PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Add some borax to those traps. Might work? The stuff you use to kill any colonies. I myself again would just call a service, and 2 days later gone completely for the year.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 9:50PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

You can make your own traps using 2 liter soda bottles

Or like dad used to make, with 5 gallon buckets and window screen cones. I hear that the yellow jackets love a can of chicken noodle soup as bait under the cone.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 10:11PM
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