Wasps can be a big nuisance. Some folks can ignore them, but most people jump, dodge or even run at the sight of wasps. You could live with a can of chemical wasp spray in your hand every time you head to the yard or you could hang up some wasp traps.
How about a DIY water bottle wasp trap that is quick and easy to make? The idea is that once the wasps are lured into the trap, they have a difficult time finding their way back thru the hole to freedom. Eventually they drown. Traps are readily available commercially, but I would rather re-purpose something for a trap, Gardening On A Dime style. A simple trap can be made in about ten minutes, using two water bottles (or two liter soda bottles), string, and duct tape or modeling cement.
I chose two one liter OWATER bottles because if their straight sides and size.
Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut the first bottle into two pieces a few inches down from the top, just below the point where the sides straighten out and are parallel to each other.
The results is two tops from the bottles, one tall and one short. We’ll save the left-over bottle pieces for seed starter pots.
Use an awl or small drill bit to drill a hole in the center of the cap.
Run a length of string through the hole and secure it from coming out of the top by tying a double knot inside the cap.
Assembling the trap…
Gently wedge the short bottle top inside the tall bottle top, being careful not to crimp or bend the plastic.
When the inner piece looks even and feels like it is firmly “stuck” to the inside wall of the outer bottle, trim just enough of the bottom edges to make them flat and even.
Secure the edges together by wrapping duct tape around the bottom, folding half of the tape’s width inside the bottom.
Squeeze the tape evenly around the bottom, working out as many wrinkles as possible. Bright yellow and orange tapes are attractive colors to wasps. I happen to have blue tape when I was making this trap.
Screw on the hanger/cap.
Filling and hanging you trap…
Fill the your new trap with bait, keeping the level just below the top of the inner bottle.
Hang the trap twenty feet or so away from sitting area. You don’t want the attracted wasps buzzing the area where you are trying to sit and relax.
Place it three to six feet of the ground to be in the wasps flight path.
Now, my experience has been that even with the short top wedged tightly inside the tall top and the duct tape pressed firmly over the edge, this trap will leak a little bit. By “a little bit”, I mean less than a teaspoonful per day at most. You could replace the tape with some modeling cement around the bottom edges for a better seal, but for me, I don’t mind checking up on the trap every week or so to see if it needs emptied and the bait refilled.
It is important to remember that before cleaning or refilling, keep the trap under water for half an hour or so to drown any living wasps. Don’t let your trap get filled with dead insects. It won’t continue to work if it is all wasps and no liquid bait. You will end up with a bunch of dried up dead wasps and some very angry live wasps.
About the bait…
Here are a few widely accepted ideas.
Mix water with:
Adding dish soap to these sweet mixtures will make it harder for them to survive.
Pour in any sweet soda drink.
Beer and wine works well.
You don’t want to kill any bees. So If you find you are attracting bees, try to locate the trap away from blooming plants or add a little vinegar to the bait. Supposedly, the vinegar will stop the bees from entering the trap in search of water.
A Ten Minute Water Bottle Wasp Trap. Quick, easy and effective. You just re-purposed two water bottles (keeping them out of the recycle or trash loop). This is an economical project that only costs a few pennies for the string and tape. And best of all, you may not need to walk around with a can of wasp spray in your hand this year.
Give this project a try and feel free to post your own results in our comments.
Dave and Trish