Homemade Wasp Traps

Category Bees & Wasps
Buying wasp traps and the attractant at the store can be quite expensive. Making your own traps is easily done with items you may have around the house. This is a page about homemade wasp traps.


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I thought someone might want this tip since it's getting that time of year again. Wasps can be a pain, literally, to have around! It's not difficult to create a trap to help control them, however. Here are plans for a wasp trap that has worked for many people to reduce the number of wasps in and around the yard.

WARNING: Be sure to place your wasp trap away from any areas where you will be using the yard. Don't have one within 20 feet of your picnic table or children's play areas.

The simplest wasp trap can be made from a two or three liter pop bottle. Cut the bottle right under the funnel so that you have two pieces. After baiting the trap, you will fit the funnel shaped top piece into the bottom piece. The bait can be tied onto the pop bottle opening. Make three or four holes around the top edges where the fitted pieces meet, from which to attach string for a hanger. Don't tie these on too tightly because you will need to take the trap apart frequently to add new bait and remove dead wasps.


Add water with a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the container part of the trap. A little vinegar added to the water is reported to repel honey bees from visiting the wasp trap. The water should not come to the level of the opening of the funnel shaped insert. Put a bit of Vaseline or cooking oil around the top of the funnel so that the insects will lose their footing when they are investigating the wasp trap.

What sort of bait works well in a wasp trap? It actually makes a difference what time of year it is. In the early spring, wasps will be seeking protein foods because they will be making nests and laying eggs. Some good choices for protein baits are hamburger and lunch meat. Partially cook the hamburger so that it is easier to tie onto the trap. An advantage to setting a wasp trap in the early spring or even late winter is that you may catch a queen.


If you can catch and kill a queen, the rest of the wasps will go elsewhere to make a nest. Later on in the summer, sweet foods work well as bait. You might try floating a bit of root beer or other sweet liquid on the water in the trap in a small lid. Fruit pieces work well, too, but it helps if they are cut so that the juicy smell is evident. Mashed grapes are very desirable to wasps.

Place the wasp trap away from human activity and about four feet above the ground. The trap works best at about 85 degrees F. so you may have to move it into the shade on a hot afternoon or into the sun on a cool morning. The theory behind these traps is interesting. The wasp will fly down into the wasp trap to get the bait, but will not be able to find its way out. It will fly around inside until it wears itself out, at which time it will fall into the water. The detergent in the water breaks down the surface tension of the water, making it stick to the wasp's body instead of beading up around it.


Since the wasp breathes through it's body, it will drown. Many wasps are likely to visit these wasp traps, which means you will need to empty them regularly. If you don't, the bodies of wasps will create islands on which the new wasps can rest without drowning. You will need to replenish the bait every few days, too, for best results.

When you empty the trap, you need to be careful. If any living wasps escape, they may return to the nest and let the others know they are in danger. If this happens, wasps can become aggressive. They may even swarm. The same thing can happen if the dead wasps' bodies are crushed. The bodies release a chemical which can be smelled by the rest of the colony. It is probably a good idea to bury the dead wasp bodies. (Be particularly careful if it is a colony of hornets you are trying to control! It is probably wisest to have a professional exterminator take care of them.)


Wasps are beneficial insects. They are useful around gardens because they prey on garden pest insects. However, when they make their nests too close to the house, they become pests themselves. Many people are allergic to wasp stings and can die if stung. In fact, death from insect stings is not uncommon. Making a wasp trap is one way to keep them under control without having to use toxic chemicals.

By Kathy from Huntsville, AL

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While browsing another of my favorite blogs, Calgary Garden Coach, I found a great, simple, and free idea to make fake wasp nests. Basically you make a nest and hang it in potential nest spots to deter the real wasps from nesting there.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

I am looking for a concoction for my Wasp trap. You soak cotton balls and put them in, then it attracts and traps them. I know apple cider vinegar is the base for it, but can't remember or find the recipe with proportions. Thank you!


Hardiness Zone: 7a


April 21, 20060 found this helpful

Please reconsider using wasp trap...Wasp are some of the best bug eaters in the garden. They eat alot of the bugs that you have to spend money to get rid of.

kmcl59 in Pensacola, FL

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April 21, 20060 found this helpful

I would like to know the *concoction* also, due to my husband
being alergic to wasps/bees and most any other insect stings or
bites. The more often he gets stung the lower his own body defence
is. We will build a deck soon, we battle the little stingers daily.
Please post the wasp trap ingredients if you have them? Thanks.

(yes he carries an Epi Pen)

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April 21, 20060 found this helpful

Hooray! i found it under "yellow jacket bait" on here! i don"t like messing with the delicate balance of nature but when they nest above my garage and i have little kids and a dog i have to protect my own first! you can use soda pop citrus or sugar water and some recommended fish? my keyboard is messed up and my caps lock is stuck including punctuation so if this comes out really wierd i apologize!

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April 21, 20060 found this helpful

ariela - the trap that i have we bought at lowe's, you hang it on a tree or near the nest and it is cylindrical neon yellow. i believe it came with a refillable bait, and then dh and i put some cotton balls with bait in it. We also sprayed the nest and the combination seemed to help, but my neighbors have a nest this spring and we have seen them scouting our yard! I have so many birds spiders etc, i am sure the wasps won't be missed!

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By Larry (Guest Post)
April 29, 20060 found this helpful

Hi I found wasp traps on e-bay,Keyzplastic was the store Name they make wasp traps in 7 different colors.They sell for 3.00..

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By Mari b. (Guest Post)
July 28, 20080 found this helpful

I purchased a wasp trap at Lowe's (bait provided), but so far, havn't caught the first wasp. What can I replace the existing bait with that will be more effective?

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February 23, 20150 found this helpful

I have read you need to alter per season. Late winter and early spring they need protein. I have done this, used a little lunch meat. Summer more sugary sweet. Now I know why the meat didn't always work. I used it all summer. Maybe try this in your purchased traps.

Homemade traps dangle on string in bottom they suggested using a water and dish soap solution. To avoid bees, add a little vinegar.

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March 30, 20151 found this helpful

While wasps may be beneficial, they LOVE Monarch caterpillar babies, and do not eat the assassin bugs that also love the babies. I vote for the Monarchs.

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June 14, 20150 found this helpful

I agree with lynneolry. I raise Monarch butterflies and I have seen wasps kill Monarch caterpillars to snack on. I bought an (expensive) wasp trap at a garden center - nope not one single wasp. I am going to try making one with the 2 ltr. bottle and hope to rid my butterfly garden of wasps.

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August 8, 20170 found this helpful

that store is closed

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May 29, 2012

Does anyone know why a wasp cannot get out of a wasp trap by flying down and out ? They can fly downwards.

By Walter


May 30, 20120 found this helpful

I looked up wasp traps on google and found many sites that shows how to make a trap. One site had pictures. They used a clear plastic bottle and cut the top off. Then inverted the cut off top and stapled to the bottle. Pour some product into the bottle to attracts wasps and hang from a tree.

The wasp enter the trap from the top, not the bottom. They can't figure out how to escape. Also suggested to add oil to the insides of the bottle. If the wasp try to alight on the inside of the bottle they will fall to the bottom.

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June 1, 20120 found this helpful

I think they are just too stupid to think to do ths.

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April 23, 20160 found this helpful

The fly into the funnel of the trap with their wings open, and land on it, then, with their wings now closed, they walk into the trap through the opening. in order for them to escape, the hole would have to be big enough for them to fly out of with their wings open, but their wing span is too wide. There is no place for them to land and walk out of the opening with their wings closed.

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May 15, 20160 found this helpful

2 reasons, 1st once in they are likely to drown in the water. 2nd the relatively small exit hole makes it harder (not impossible) to escape.

minnow traps use the same principal.

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August 16, 20160 found this helpful

Insects will never attempt to escape downwards in a time of stress, they will always fly up

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July 8, 2012

I have tried to make a homemade wasp trap using a soda bottle and sweetened liquid bait. I cut the bottle carefully and put them together just like the instructions said. It doesn't work. I have made it over and over again and it still doesn't work. Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong, please?

By Lace


April 1, 20150 found this helpful

From what I've read, wasps are attracted to protein-rich foods in the spring and sugary foods in late summer. Some have suggested using canned cat food or raw hamburger meat in the traps along with fruit juices during the spring and early summer then switching over to all fruit juices or jams during the late summer / early fall.

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