Learn How to Make a Wasp Trap

Start with a Soda Bottle

Soda Bottle. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Wasps help to pollinate our gardens and keep harmful insect and parasite populations in check, but when they build a nest in your mailbox, interfere with your backyard barbecue or sting you repeatedly, you probably just want to get rid of them.

To keep wasp nests a healthy distance from your house, set out traps in the early spring when the queens are looking for nesting sites. You can buy ready-made traps at the store, but as easy as they are to make, I recommend saving some cash by making your own. The steps are outlined in this tutorial.

To Make a Wasp Trap You Will Need:

  • A 2L soda bottle
  • A permanent marker
  • A knife
  • A piece of wire for hanging your trap(optional)

Mark Where You Need to Cut

Mark Your Cutting Line. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Use a permanent marker to draw a line around the neck of the bottle, just below the taper.

Cut the Top off the Bottle

Cut Off the Top of the Bottle. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Use a knife or a sharp pair of scissors to cut the top off of the bottle at the line.

Assemble and Bait Your Wasp Trap

Assemble Your Trap and Bait It. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Unscrew the cap. Then, flip the top of the bottle upside down, and tuck it into the bottom portion of the bottle to complete your wasp trap.

How to Bait Your Trap:

Different baits work at different times of the year. In the spring and early summer, wasps are looking for sources of protein. In the late summer and early fall, wasps are looking for sweets. To successfully bait your trap, stick a piece of lunch meat or a small hunk of hamburger inside your trap in the spring. Use a few inches of soda, juice or another sweet liquid in the summer and fall months. Add a bit of vinegar to the mix to keep bees out of your trap.

How to Set Up Your Trap:

Place your trap (or traps) outdoors in areas where you see wasp activity (or are trying to prevent wasp activity). If you're trying to keep wasps away from your picnic, set up a bottle a short distance from the table, so they'll hopefully be attracted to the trap, instead of your food.

Prefer a hanging trap? You'll find instructions for that on the next page.

How the Wasp Trap Works:

Wasps are attracted to the scent of the bait and fly into the bottle opening to get to it. Once inside the bottle, they can't figure out how to get back through the narrow opening, and eventually die, drowning if liquid is present.

Maintaining Your Trap:

Remove dead wasps from the trap regularly, and rebait the bottle at least once a week, so you continue to attract wasps.

A Word of Caution: Always exercise care when dealing with wasps, and avoid contact, if you're allergic.

Add a Handle to Your Wasp Trap

Homemade Wasp Trap. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

If you'd like to be able to hang your wasp trap, use a hole punch to make two holes for a handle, making sure you punch through both the top and bottom portion of the bottle. Then, thread a piece of wire through the holes, to serve as the handle.