- 1 Do You Need A Wasp Trap?
- 2 How Wasp Traps Work
- 3 Types Of Commercial Wasp Traps
- 4 Where & When To Set Up Your Wasp Trap
- 5 Best Wasp Trap Reviews
Have wasps decided that the eaves of your house look like a fantastic place to move in? I know I’ve had troubles with them here in California well into the fall, although they’re at their most active in the summer. Eventually, you sigh and start shopping for the best wasp trap.
But do you really need a trap, and if so, what kind do you want? Are lures necessary, and if so which ones? Are those internet stories about dryer sheets and paper bags real, and if so, does it actually work? Should you buy a commercial-made trap or make one?
I’m going to walk you step by step through deciding if this is something you should be investing in, teach you all about how they function, and answer questions about home methods. When you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to deal with them no matter what!
Listen to this post on the Epic Gardening Podcast
Best Wasp Traps For The Money:
- Reusable Lured Trap: RESCUE! Non-Toxic Reusable Trap For Wasps, Hornets, & Yellowjackets
- Disposable Lured Trap: RESCUE! Non-Toxic Disposable Yellowjacket Trap
- Sticky Trap: RESCUE! Non-Toxic Trapstik For Wasps, Mud Daubers, & Carpenter Bees
- DIY Add-On: Fatal Funnel FFW-6P Wasp and Hornet Traps
- Protein-Specific Lure Gel: Safer 02006 Deluxe Yellow Jacket Wasp Trap Bait
Do You Need A Wasp Trap?
If you’re only seeing a few wasps, and they don’t seem to be preparing to move in and build themselves nests, you probably don’t need a wasp trap. Remember, just like bees, wasps are pollinators. They’re happy to flit from flower to flower and assist your local bee population.
But much like bees, while a few are great, too many can become a bit burdensome. While most species of wasps don’t typically bother humans, they can easily become defensive, especially if they start to build homes. And once they start to move in, you might have a problem.
It really all depends on the type of wasp that’s appearing.
A Little Information On Wasp Types
Most paper wasps are generally harmless, and in fact will help kill off other garden insects. While these build nests in our eaves, they often don’t pay a bit of attention to us other than to veer around humans as they visit flowers and go after caterpillars. I consider these good wasps!
On a slightly more concerning note are ground wasps like the digger wasp. Again, these don’t care much about humans, but they can become protective if you approach their ground-level nest. They also live in much larger colonies. Not a great thing in your flowerbed, alas!
There are two varieties which actively do become hostile towards humans, and one of those is the yellowjacket. Yellowjackets are irritable if you go near their nest, they’re irritable if you get in the way, and if you have meat or sweet food or drink outside they’re likely to swarm you.
The other problem is the hornet, and these are downright dangerous. Often venomous and with a particularly painful sting, hornets build large nests in trees and will deliberately go out of their way to run off people or animals in the vicinity of their home.
I personally have paper wasps who regularly visit my garden. They don’t bother me, I don’t bother them, and in fact I’ve picked tomatoes with paper wasps cruising around me to move on to the next bit of nectar. If your wasps are of that variety, you don’t really need a trap!
But if yellowjackets or hornets are around, or if you’ve got a particularly large colony of digger wasps who’re starting to become protective, it’s time to invest in a good quality wasp trap.
How Wasp Traps Work
There are a lot of methods online that claim to be inexpensive wasp trap methods, and in many cases they’re completely ineffective. Hanging up a paper bag as a decoy wasp nest doesn’t stop wasps from building their own nest, and dryer sheets don’t repel wasps at all.
In essence, there’s only one effective way that wasp traps function. Some sort of scent lures the wasp close or inside, and it cannot extricate itself. In nearly all cases, it will die in the trap, and then it’s a simple matter of emptying or replacing the trap when it’s necessary to do so.
How Well Do Wasp Traps Work?
A homemade wasp trap works, but often they are less effective than the commercial traps. This is largely due to the lure or bait inside the trap itself, not the trap’s design. In fact, a very effective trap can be made out of an old soda bottle! But the lure inside is really what draws them in.
Unfortunately, depending on what the wasp is looking for, different types of lures are required. If the wasp is trying to feed its young, it’s likely looking for protein-rich meats or fats. If it’s feeding itself, it wants nectar. And different wasps have different preferences at different times.
Commercial lures contain multiple different types of enticement for different species of wasp, and typically are much more effective than homemade solutions. They don’t smell as bad as some homemade solutions do, which also prevents your trap from filling with flies.
If the wasps are looking for just nectar, apple juice is extremely effective. Provided that you’re not trying to lure mud-daubers or other meat-seeking wasps, this can reduce the cost of lures. But if you have protein and fat-seekers, invest in commercial lures.
Types Of Commercial Wasp Traps
There are a few varieties of commercial wasp trap out there, so let me go over exactly how these types work and where they’re most efficient.
Reusable Lured Traps
There are a number of reusable lured traps. Most of these consist of a tubular, clear exterior with some sort of funnel-like entrance point. Inside, a lure will entice the wasps to enter, and they will become trapped inside and die off.
This style of trap can be emptied, cleaned out, and the bait or lure replaced so that they can be reused over and over again. However, you will need to purchase additional bait to use in these traps.
Disposable Lured Traps
Generally made out of a thick plastic bag, these work identically to the reusable traps. Inside the bag will be a lure or attractant, and a funnel-style entrance allows wasps to enter but not to leave.
The biggest perk of these is that they are disposable, which means that you don’t have to worry about any remaining live wasps that may be trapped within. Simply take the trap down and throw it away. However, it’s not as eco-friendly as the reusable traps are.
There’s a number of sticky trap options available on the market as well. While standard yellow sticky traps used for catching whiteflies or other insects will work, they aren’t without drawbacks. They catch all insects, whether beneficial or not, and occasionally can stick on birds.
A few bird-proofed models have been made which have plastic strips preventing birds from brushing against the trap and getting caught, but these are generally only meant for wasps like mud daubers or meat bees and flies, things which are attracted primarily to meat scents.
There are a few other options available, mostly in terms of modifications to existing traps or DIY solutions.
For example, you can buy insertable funnel-style entrance points which will prevent the wasps from escaping from your homemade soda bottle trap. These seem rather effective, but you will still need to find a suitable lure to draw the wasps in initially.
Some reusable traps include a solar UV light, but it seems to do little other than to identify the trap’s location at night. As wasps are seldom active after dark, this may be useful to find the trap in the dark and empty it, but it otherwise serves no active purpose in catching them.
Finally, there are things which are reputed to be wasp repellants. Most of these are made to mimic the appearance of a large wasp trap or hornet’s nest hanging from a tree. They don’t work at all in my experience. Don’t waste your money on these unless you like how they look!
Where & When To Set Up Your Wasp Trap
Most of the time, your problem wasps will be outdoors, and that’s where a wasp trap will be the most beneficial. However, there are times when they may be required indoors as well.
If wasps have managed to infiltrate your garage or work their way into your attic, you may find that sticky traps paired with lured traps are an effective combination to eliminate them quickly. Remove any nests if possible. Make note of entry/exit points and place sticky traps there.
Outdoors, sticky traps are only effective during the dry months of the year. If you live in an area where summer rains are common, these really will only work under cover, so you may need to opt for a lure trap instead. Be sure to select one with a wide lid that will keep rain out.
You can put up wasp traps at any time if there is an existing problem. If you want to take preventative measures, put up your wasp trap in the early spring, as it can easily catch and eliminate queens who might be looking for a new place to build a nest. Remove all traps in the winter.
Select locations which are near current wasp hotspots, but out of active human-frequented zones for your lured traps. For sticky traps, you can place these directly over your patio table or around your lawn furniture without any worries.
If you can do so without danger to yourself, eliminate any nests from the property. This will reduce the number of wasps you’ll need to catch and prevent a future generation from appearing.
Ground-based nests are a little bit more difficult to deal with. If you can manage to do it without upsetting the nest, hang the trap directly over or next to the nest. However, you will need to empty or remove and replace the traps with surprising regularity at first.
Best Wasp Trap Reviews
My reviews are based mostly on how effective the trap style itself is, rather than the lure type. If you have protein-seeking wasps and are baiting with apple juice, not even the best trap is going to work for you! But I’ll include some information about lures that are available as well.
You may also note that in this particular case, one company seems to dominate the wasp trap industry. While there are other traps available from other companies, my experience has been incredibly favorable for this company’s products.
This doesn’t mean another company’s products won’t work for you, because they might. However, I like to highlight the top performers in each category, and in today’s list of products, one company stands head and shoulders above the rest!
Reusable Lured Trap
Best Wasp Trap: RESCUE! Non-Toxic Reusable Trap For Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets
The year that I had both mud-daubers and hornets lurking around my old apartment, this trap was a literal lifesaver. I had a second-story balcony and both the daubers and hornets were trying to build homes there. It was not at all pleasant trying to water my plants.
While that was a few years ago, in terms of design this Rescue wasp trap is still one of the best on the market. It comes with two separate lures. One of the lures is sweet, the other is protein-rich. These lures are at opposite ends of the trap tube, with separate sections.
Insects that crawl into the lower part of the trap tube will be caught within and will suffocate inside. Those which enter the top part of the tube will end up drowning in the water you put inside. Add a couple drops of dish soap to the water to prevent the wasps from trying to escape!
Because of the dual lures, one side or the other may fill up more quickly, and it will help you to identify the type of insects you’re dealing with.
My biggest complaint with this trap is that Rescue recommends placing it at least 20 feet away from human-inhabited areas. While that may be effective if you have multiple traps ringing your yard, it’s not as useful for smaller space control.
In a balcony situation, placing it as far away from your entrance/exit as possible works quite well, even if that’s only about 10 feet away. Even in an open space, I try to situate it about 15 feet away from my most-trafficked spaces, as it seems very effective at that range.
Disposable Lured Trap
Best Wasp Trap: RESCUE! Non-Toxic Disposable Yellowjacket Trap
This Rescue wasp trap is a disposable water trap. Available in two formulations (described as “east of the Rockies” or “west of the Rockies”), it is designed to lure the particular yellowjackets that are typical to those portions of the United States. Pay close attention when you order!
To use this is simple: place water inside the bag with the lure solution in it and hang it up. The yellowjackets will enter and drown inside. When it’s full or is no longer drawing insects, simply pop the top cap on and put it in the trashcan, and put up a new one if necessary.
I really love the ease of use, but at the same time, I dislike that you can’t see how many bugs you’ve caught in this yellow jacket trap. I prefer to have a little more idea of which lures are the most effective. Having said that, if you’re squeamish about bugs, this is great for you!
For people in the western U.S., there is also a variation of this trap which works on not only yellowjackets but on meat bees and ground hornets as well. If you have more than one type of insect (and many of us do), you may want to opt for that instead.
Best Wasp Trap: RESCUE! Non-Toxic Trapstik For Wasps, Mud Daubers, & Carpenter Bees
What I like about this wasp trap is that it’s mostly bird-safe. With yellow sticky traps, the slightest brush of a bird’s wing can cause it to get stuck, risking injury to the bird and seriously damaging your trap. The Trapstik has a plastic “cage” around the sticky surfaces to prevent that.
I also really like that the sticky surface has a slight lure in its coloration that will draw wasps, mud daubers and carpenter bees to it.
One of the biggest benefits of this type of trap is that it can be used directly under the eaves, beneath an awning, or in the garage, and doesn’t need to be at a distance. Without an aromatic lure, the only insects that get caught in this are those who come across it in their path.
But what I don’t like about this trap is that it is, in the end, still a sticky trap. If any insect of any type gets too close and bumps one of those sticky panels, it will be stuck. This includes not only the ones you want to catch, but honeybees and butterflies as well.
Provided that you put it in the right place, this can be incredibly effective when new. However, when the sticky surface is coated with dead bugs, you’ll have to throw this out and replace it. It’s best to use a trap like this in conjunction with a slightly more distant lured trap.
Best Wasp Trap: Fatal Funnel FFW-6P Wasp and Hornet Traps
Are you a DIYer? Do you already have variations on wasp traps that you already make at home out of old soda bottles? If so, you can take your game to the next level by adding a Fatal Funnel in your construction.
Designed to snap into the side of a standard 2-liter bottle, these funnel-shaped entrances allow insects to go in, but don’t let them exit again. This means that all you need to catch a sweet-lured insect is a little flat Mountain Dew in a 2-liter bottle, one of these, and some string.
Baiting a 2-liter bottle trap with apple juice is also extremely effective if you’re aiming for the nectar-loving bugs, and this style of entrance is much harder to exit from than the mouth of a normal 2-liter bottle. All things considered, it’s a great upgrade that allows you to upcycle waste!
Protein-Specific Lure Gel
Best Wasp Lure: Safer 02006 Deluxe Yellow Jacket Wasp Trap Bait
Are you trying to avoid luring in honeybees or other beneficial, nectar-drinking pollinators? Are your wasp woes of a variety where protein lures will work? If the answer to both of these questions is “yes”, then you will want this Safer wasp bait.
This bait attracts all manner of protein-loving wasps, yellowjackets, and hornets. It also may lure in meat bees and a few stray flies, but it’s mostly effective for the wasp family of insects. As it doesn’t have anything sweet in it, it doesn’t draw in the bees that pollinate your garden.
The only downside that I can see to this is that if the wasps are not on the prowl for protein, these may not do any good for you. In situations like that, you may want to pair this bait with a little apple juice to try to provide incentive for the wasps to stop by.
This lure will not be good on its own. While it is an incredibly effective bait, it does not include a trap. But if you have an existing trap or have made a homemade wasp trap, this should work well for you and is worth the money spent on it!
So no matter whether you’ve got slightly-annoying paper wasps or demonic hornets, there’s something out there which will be effective for you. The only question is which you’ll choose. Do you have a wasp issue in your yard? Tell me about it down below!
Last update on 2018-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API