Picture of DIY Yellow Jacket Bottle Trap

This is my first instructable, so any feedback is greatly appreciated!  After discovering a yellow jacket ground nest near our front door a few days ago, I decided to look up ways to get rid of these mean insects without the pesticides. We have various wildlife and friendly insects in our yard, so I try to avoid pesticides.  A quick Google search resulted in a few solutions to my problem and this is the one I chose.  This method was super simple, pesticide free, eco safe and VERY effective.  Friends and family were pretty amazed at the results as was I!  So let's get started!

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Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

Here are the “tools” needed: wine (they prefer red to white), a clean water or soda bottle, a bread knife or scissors, and dishwashing liquid.  First, cut off the top quarter or third of the bottle. Add about ½ “ of wine and about two drops of dishwashing liquid.  Now flip that top over to make a funnel and place it snuggly back into bottle.  You are done!  See how easy that was?

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sggriff7 months ago

I tried this trap with mixed results. I made it as illustrated and the first day I did trap many yellowjackets (nested in a holly, therefore could not use spray because it kills holly and evergreen shrubs). After the first day, the insects stopped entering the trap. I left it out for a few days and even tried recreating with new wine. I never trapped another yellow jacket using this method. I did eventually solve by applying a pyrethrin product called Evergreen Dust.

if your looking for a quicker solution to kill yellow jackets find the hole pour gasoline down the hole and throw a match down there

I had a friend who tried that with a fire ant nest and it blew and caused a grass fire. Lighting it is unnecessary and dangerous. Gasoline fumes are deadly to yellowjackets, and the fumes are heavier than air and fill the nest. So no need to light it. A very small amount is all that is needed. Don't do it in the day, or you will miss all that have left the nest and are foraging. Also don't do it near any building and any source of spark or ignition.

thebeatonpath (author)  ben.groom.5207 months ago

My boys would have LOVED that solution! haha

thebeatonpath (author)  sggriff7 months ago

I had a few out at a time and would empty them out and add more when they started getting full. Not sure what happened.

I did try several traps, with a variety of red wines. After the first "harvest" they never regained interest in the traps. I tried freshening the "bait" for a few successive days. I tried conventional yellow jacket traps as well with zero results. I have access to a do it yourself pest control store. They recommended the pyrethrin dust (made from chrysanthemums...sp?). The only negative thing: the applicator, actually a puffer, has a short stem. I thought I had waited until it was late enough, but I was stung by 8 insects when I first tried to apply. The next morning, it was cool enough to get the dust into their hole. Thank you for all of the information you have posted, I found it very helpful.

Does this work inside. I keep finding 1 or two small yellow jackets on my bed in my bedroom. Our house has not attic so I guess the bedroom is like the attic. If I put this on the corner of my bed will that work or attract more to come in the room? They are not aggressive at all for some weird reason. I think they are babies but I don't want to end up rolling on one in my sleep and getting stung. Weird I don't see them everyday just 1 or 2 during a day and then it goes a few days with no seeing any.

Heather, chances are you have yellow jackets in the ceiling or in a wall and the adults access it from outside. We used to get them in our family room downstairs. They would come out from the recessed ceiling lights. I finally saw them entering through an old cable hole. So they will crawl towards the light and get out. So check around outside real carefully and look for a possible access hole. I finally sprayed wasp killer in the hole and sealed it with silicone. You could really hear them buzzing inside the ceiling tiles for about ten minutes. We turned the light off because they were making their way out at first.

thebeatonpath (author)  heather.w.mcrae6 months ago
I'm not sure. I would almost be afraid it would attract others inside. Are you sure they are yellow jackets and not red wasps? We occasionally get a random red wasp inside, though you say it is yellow jackets. Doesn't sound like you know where they are coming in or I would tell you to put the trap near the source. I just saw a story of a family in the UK who had a HUGE wasp nest built on an upstairs bed (in a bedroom they rarely went into). Took the exterminator hours to kill them all AND he was only able to salvage the quilt (they had eaten through the pillow and mattress). It was the freakiest nest and location I had EVER seen. You DO NOT want them building a next inside your walls or home. Let me know what you do.

I definitely want to try this! One question - will this attract or harm hummingbirds? Last summer I never had a problem with yellow jackets, but this year I put up a hummingbird feeder, and the yellow jackets started coming around about a month ago. I haven't seen any hummingbirds around for several days, and I'm guessing they have gone away for the fall/winter already, but in case they're still around, I don't want to harm them!

thebeatonpath (author)  IN_apt_dweller5 months ago
This will not harm hummingbirds because they are not attracted to wine. They probably left because of the migration and the yellow jackets hanging around.
carolee.budd5 months ago




thebeatonpath (author)  carolee.budd5 months ago
Thanks for the information!
mavisclare5 months ago

A bunch of yellow jackets were swarming around my trash can today so I set about making these traps -- I tried one with red wine and one with apple cider vinegar, which another site recommended. The jackets showed ZERO interest in either. Waste of good wine! So I went back to relying on my own experience of west coast picnics -- yellow jackets swarm around meat products, not around wine. I pulled a chicken bone from the trash and put it in a trap with water -- viola! Caught 4 already, compared to 0 in the other two. Highly recommend just using your food scraps, instead of wasting perfectly good wine!

thebeatonpath (author)  mavisclare5 months ago
I had read that a little piece of meat would attract them as well, but have never tried that one. As far as wasting wine, one inch of wine was worth it for me. : ) I guess it worked for me because I put it next to their hive. I'm glad you caught those with the chicken bone. Hopefully you will get them all!
tkjtkj7 months ago

Don't tread on thESE!

(Actually, the advice is to prevent the gooey chocolate from messing-up your floor ...)

thebeatonpath (author)  tkjtkj7 months ago

RECIPE PLEASE! I love it!!!!

Oh gosh ! I got that pic via a google search for 'bees' .. but yeah i'd like to make some too! SOO,
i searched for some recipe links .. Hope these help you :

and maybe this:

Let us know how they turn out!
thebeatonpath (author)  tkjtkj6 months ago


MeNmyShadow6 months ago

Thank you so much for the great instructions. I have 2 nests somewhere in the front of my house and my poor boyfriend got stung 3 times on his ear yesterday. He is riding in in motorcycle race tomorrow and his helment is going to be terribly uncomfortable. I hope these traps work so I dont have to worry about my 3 dogs getting stung!

thebeatonpath (author)  MeNmyShadow6 months ago
I hope you have as much success as we did! They are ruthless and will sting ANYONE and ANYTHING unprovoked that gets near them. Let me know what your results are. : ) And good luck to your boyfriend in his race!
Brownsong1 year ago
Just got stung 12 times mowing over a new found ground nest in my front yard. Once the stinger shock wears off I'm following your instructions and declaring war. Thanks!!!
tkjtkj Brownsong7 months ago

Try dabbing some liquid household bleach on any bee-sting ...

assuming of course, you've no allergy to it ... Let us know how well it works for you ..(I'm NOT suggesting you go out and find the nearest nest !!! ;)

thebeatonpath (author)  Brownsong1 year ago
I am so sorry to hear that! Those buggers are aggressive and their stings really hurt, too! On the bright side, you now know where the nest is and have a resource to help get rid of them! Your nest was probably set up in the fall by a new queen leaving another nest to establish her own. Let me know how it goes and make multiple bottles if you can.
Deep Asleep8 months ago
thebeatonpath (author)  Deep Asleep7 months ago
That I am. ;)
lbrudd made it!9 months ago

Nothing yet

thebeatonpath (author)  lbrudd9 months ago
What did you use as your "bait"? Red wine worked for us better than anything else, but I've heard of people using sugar water or soda. Those and white wine did not work well on our hive. Also, it has to be near the hive.
mariatelk1 year ago

Great idea for the soda bottles. I've been using my canning jars, but now I'll just save my plastic 2 liter pop bottles. After I can my apples, peaches, etc. I save the leftover syrup and freeze it in ice cube trays. During the yellow jacket season I thaw out a few cubes and place them in the jars. Works great! You're right on the dish soap, haven't tried it yet, but will this spring. Clogs their little pores... Disposal problems? Grab those traps (covered with something) and place them in the freezer. After a couple of hours they can be safely be flushed down the toilet. Back to Mother Nature!

You can barely see them, but you can hear them, I can only imagine how many wasps!
It's great that it doesn't attract bees :)
Could any type of sugared beverage work for this?
thebeatonpath (author)  Mudslide5441 year ago
I thought sugar water/soda would work just as well, but it didn't which was weird. I have seen them make a beeline (pardon the pun) for soda cans outdoors and know someone who got stung on the lip because one ended up in his can. If you don't have wine, try soda. For some reason, they preferred red wine over white, so maybe try Coke/Pepsi over Sprite/7-Up.
egor1021 year ago
When I was a kid and feeling bullet proof I used a garden hose to knock down nests from the rafters and trees. The wasps eventually left because they couldn't find thier fallen next so I collected it and had my own discovery channel adventure exploring the nest. The biggest I did this too was 8 inches and got me stung once in the process but it was summer and we had to make our own fun.:)
thebeatonpath (author)  egor1021 year ago
I remember my dad coming home from a hunting trip with a huge one from a tree. I loved looking at that thing (no bugs present, of course).
fallen nest is what I meant to say lol
Nasty friends got there
thebeatonpath (author)  nickolaiisoe1 year ago
Nasty indeed. Hoping they found another yard to invade this year.
RangerJ2 years ago
Very good instructable. I plan to file it for next summer. Thanks
annschmech2 years ago
I also found a great source of information, when I'm completely stumped, is my local county extension office. They live for questions like bug id and plant id. I would also guess that if there's any university in the area, there's an entomologist who might be helpful. I've almost always found the academic sort to be helpful.
taria2 years ago
I know this is old. like a year old, but I have a few questions. I haven't seen the underground wasp (thank god) but I do have those one that like to build the hives near windows and inside my wooden wind chimes you go to move them and out pop a few bees chasing you (always the best part). I personally hate bee's and they might sense that I hate them that's why they come at me. But can I use this as well for catching those little buggers and keep them way from my front door. I'm scared that they are going to sting my pup since she loves to chase things that fly (watch out for the butterfly's). They are the big black ones and sometimes they have red one them. (one chased me and I bashed my head cause I tripped and hit the sidewalk trying to get away from it..I know I'm a pansy, I hate bee's) I'm just tiered of having to make a run for the door, quickly open it and rush inside before they get in. Also my mother has bees that look like honey bee's, but I don't think they are because they are attracted to her porch, and they are always attracted to the dogs urine that's there. (Yes my mothers dogs are to lazy to go a foot further to the grass. yelping little dogs) even if we clean it, which is every other day, they are still there, usually in a group of 10 or so. She says to not worry about them but when your walking up to the house and trying to get in, there they are in your face..seriously, it's annoying. (Like I said I think they sense my fear) if they are honey bee's I don't I will be buying local honey anymore :) but would this work for them as well? if they aren't honey bee's that is.

Would cooking wine work? I don't drink wine, but I cook with the cooking sherry wine, (Its red that all I know) so would that work? and the dish soap, does it have to be a certain one or would any type work?

anyway, thanks for reading my sappy but true story of me hating bee's...I guess the time I got stung on the butt still lives in my brain...yay for butt stings!
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