How To: Make a Homemade Bee & Wasp Trap (Kill or No-Kill)

Make a Homemade Bee & Wasp Trap (Kill or No-Kill)

Bees are the key to pollination and healthy vegetation, and wasps may help by assisting in pest control, but despite their benefits in the world, they're still a real pain in the ass if they're in your face.

This would probably warrant an expression stronger than "pain in the ass.". Image by musyani75/Flickr

If you're not an avid gardener and don't have a caterpillar infestation to kill off, then having a bee or wasp nest in your backyard is unnecessary. It's also downright dangerous if you or someone in your household — even a pet — is allergic. Save that Epinephrine shot for another day.

There are plenty of cheap bee and wasp traps out there, but making one is relatively easy, and this guide will involve using only recycled materials. Plus, it gives you the leverage of making more than one trap if you need it, whether you want to eradicate them or just relocate them to a safer area away from your home.

Making Your Bee/Wasp Catcher

To start, make sure to have an empty 2-liter bottle, a utility blade, and a stapler. The blade can be substituted with a knife or scissors (just be careful).

Cut the bottle all the way around about 5 inches from the top. Flip the piece you just cut off, place it in the other half of the bottle, and staple it in place. If you don't have any staples, tape or glue will probably work just fine. If you want to hang it outside, some wire will do the trick.

Image by Jaira Koh/WonderHowTo

Then you just make sure to have the appropriate bait inside.

Using the Right Bait Mixtures for Your Trap

Wasps and bees love sugar, as it actually provides them with energy on a busy day, so you will need some type of sugar mixture. However, keep in mind that while wasps will hunt down any sugar liquid they can find, bees usually will stick to natural nectars unless there are none around, in which case they would try to replenish their tired selves with your sugary solution. Some options include:

  • sugar and water
  • sugar and lemon juice
  • soda
  • maple syrup and water
  • other types of artificial nectar
This is really all that's needed. The trap-building is just to make sure the insects don't make a mess as they die or get trapped. Image by Evan Bench/Flickr

If you're looking for a no-kill trap, just put a little bit in on the bottom so they won't drown. This is a popular method for indoor traps so you can release the bugger back in the wild. Using a bunch of these with little faux nectar outside will also help you when it comes time to relocating the nest or hive. Just make sure to check the trap daily because they will die eventually if you don't let them out.

If your goal is to kill the bees or wasps, then fill up the entire bottom of the bottle with your sugary mixture of choice to drown them. Just make sure there is enough space between the threaded bottle top area and the liquid.

These are both kill traps. Pinterest-ready on the left, somewhat nauseating on the right. If you want a no-kill trap, use barely any mixture, just enough to suck them in but not drown them. Images by steve p2008/Flickr, Alison Zulyniak/Prairie Story

Make Sure to Always Stay Safe!

Adding a higher volume of liquid will increase the chances of attracting and killing the insects, but with the dwindling numbers of honey bees, you may want to refrain from killing these passive bees; they're just looking for something to pollinate, especially if you have a garden or some flowers outside.

Image by Love Silhouette/Shutterstock

Wasps are slightly more aggressive and seem to be increasing in population, so your conscience should be fine if you decide to drown or exterminate these beasts. At least, mine would.

Worried about getting stung in the process? Check out Yumi's illustrated guide on relieving itchy bee stings. Also, just in case it happens, make sure you know how to survive a deadly bee attack, something Macaulay Culkin's character would have really benefited from in My Girl.

Cover image by Jaira Koh/WonderHowTo

7 Comments

That's an absurd. You guys keep killing bees, the insects that colaborates for more than 2/3 of the food production. They're helping us and you just kill them like they doesn't mean nothing for our survival. It isn't for nothing that the USA is the most affected country in all over the word. More than 50 billions of bees are dead just in you country, and you are not just killing them, you're killing ourselves.

If you read there is a no kill option. Calm down.

Correction: there really is no "no kill" option here. Even without liquid in the bottom, the bees (and all other insects that fall in) will die unless released within a day of being trapped. We all know that most people will simply set the trap and forget about it, which means slow death for dozens of hapless insects. I wonder why Americans are so afraid of living things that that their first reaction to any buzzing insect is "KILL THEM ALL!"

Why use such generalizations as "all you americans"? Other countries kill their flying insects also. Yes honey bee population issues are going to start affecting food production if people continue to be careless. The article mentions the benefits of both honey bees and wasps, which I didn't know there was a benefit to having wasps around. Learned something! The issue I have is with hornets and yellow jackets, two highly aggressive flying stinging insects that cause incredible amounts of pain when they sting. I would like to know what bait to use for them so that I do not inadvertently kill any honey bees. There are people who use multiple kinds of no kill traps so they are aware of the need for timely release back into a safe place, not everyone is ignorant. I wish people were accepting of others and their opinions and would quit with bashing each other and just start helping. No one person is better than any other no matter their station in life.

Raw meat will pull in the hornets and yellowjackets.

Im not for killing every insect in all situations. I'm a country lady and am aware of their importance. I'm also aging && Im allergic... have no need in my small back yard for the nest they've built. I'm way out in the country and we don't have a local pest removal option. Me...or them? On my property? I'll choose me.

Talk about vague instructions. Sweets that will attract bees should not be used.

Those crying out about people killing wasps should become beekeepers. Then when the hornets and yellow jackets start eating your honey bees you can talk about how beneficial wasp are to the environment and the survival of the human race.

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