Introduction: How to Make a Wasp Trap From an Old Plastic Jug.

Picture of How to Make a Wasp Trap From an Old Plastic Jug.

If you're a apiphobe like me or Adam Savage, you dread the coming of Summer. After months of peace, you wander outside only to hear that awful hum of a wasp flying by. I offer a quick, simple solution to this problem.

Step 1: The Jugg/ Materials

Picture of The Jugg/ Materials
Look around the house for an empty plastic jug; about as large as a party-size soda bottle. I used a chocolate milk carton.

Besides the Jug you will need:

  • Clear packing tape.
  • A razor blade (or scissors).
  • Sugar.
  • Warm/Hot water.
  • Mixing devise (spoon)
  • Hole punch.

Because it was such a beautiful day, I decided to work outside.

Step 2: Prepare the Jug

Picture of Prepare the Jug
Cut off the top third or fourth of the jug. The "drinking hole" will become the entrance to the trap. If you're hole is too big (which it likely is), there is a simple fix. First cut off a short length of clear packing tape and fold it in half; there should be no sticky side. Punch a hole near the center of the tape with a hole puncher. This will make a perfectly wasp-sized hole in the tape. Now secure the piece of tape to the opening of the jug, using more packaging tape. If this is confusing, look at the pictures.

When this is done you should have a bottom two thirds and a top third of the jug. The top third will eventually be inverted and placed in the bottom two thirds, make sure it fits before you make to the next step.

  • Note: I ended up wrapping this in yellow duck tape; it will hopefully help attract the buggers.

Step 3: Sweet, Sweet Bait

Picture of Sweet, Sweet Bait
Now you will need to add a substance that will attract the local bee population. I used water with five to seven spoonfuls of sugar. Warmer water will dissolve the sugar faster. Fill your trap with about an inch of your sugar-water solution. Invert the top third of the jug and place it in the solution filled jug. Your trap is now completed.

If you do not want to accidentally trap honeybees, try these other bait options:

  • Vinegar.
  • A mixture of soda and water (about 1/2 cup to every 2 cups of water).
  • Rotting meat
  • Other "people foods"

Try adding soap to break the surface tension, it will make escape even harder.

Step 4: Location

Picture of Location
The efficiency of your trap is all about location. Observe your surrounding, note where the yellowjackets are coming and going. This trap will attract bees, so don't place it near a frequently used public location. Hopefully this will help with wasp activity and the growing threat of Africanized bees.

As I have just made this today, I do not know how effective this will be. I will post any future results, feel free to improve upon this design.

  • The second and third image are a possible second design. It involves less cutting and could be more effective. Build both and see which is better.


Bitsi (author)2008-06-01

Isn't removing links in the food chain, like the anti-green?

It might be more useful (and green) to figure out what kind of hornets you have and what they're contributing to your neighborhood. For example, what are they eating? And what's eating them?

Wikipedia would be a good place to start your research. And stop being such a scaredy-cat.


Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)Bitsi2008-06-01

The hornets I'm trying to handle build their nests in the crooks of our house, i.e right next to the front door. This causes some major problems, one of which is the increased chance of a defensive attack. I've been swarmed by these hornets before, and don't wish to repeat it. I was stung on the eye lid (only because I blinked when it landed on my eye, and several times in the chest and arms. Still, I see your point. I was thinking green as in re-using plastic.

Ah, my mistake. Yellowjackets, or wasps, are the target.

Bitsi (author)Spl1nt3rC3ll2008-06-02

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of insect bites either, but I try to use the 'inHospitality Inn' approach to the wasps around our house. That is, I knock down the nests before they can get too comfortable. I can usually get to them before there's more than one or two wasps involved. After a while they get discouraged and move on. (Oh, and I also apologize to them, and give them little maps showing them the other lovely homesites that they should consider ... off in the woods somewhere.) I'm not even sure that killing wasps is effective in the long run. Won't they just respond to the population loss with increased fecundity? And then, you've also got that lovely plastic bottle of decomposing and decaying insects on your deck. That can't be very appetizing. :-)

JustinE74 (author)Bitsi2016-10-18

That is crazy. You said "won't they just respond to the population loss with increased fecundity?" I am wondering: asking questions like you've read a chapter in elementary school level evolution, why are you debating ecology online? The hornets don't have a way, like humans, of perceiving population loss in their species; for that they would need scientists: statisticians measuring population groups carefully. Nor do wasps possess anywhere close to the cognitive function, i.e. intelligence or background to read a man-made map.

I am aghast at the lack of awareness you posit, honestly. As for nipping nests in the bud, I am reading this article because I moved into a condo with a huge nest above my window. So, knocking it down early was no option for me. Thanks, anyway...

Two hornets infiltrated my living room yesterday, because they are carnivorous and territorial by nature. They didn't sting me because I was fortunate enough to take note of them- and proceeded to later kill them. However, I am not always so cautious to the dozens that live outside my front door and swarm me. I am very grateful for this option of whittling their numbers, before removing the nest. Not to mention I have never been stung, I do not know if I will have a life threatening reaction or not!

gwhite12 (author)Bitsi2016-08-24

I'm a beekeeper and the wasps are eating my bees. I may not be "green" to kill wasps, but isn't it "green" to protect my honeybees from this threat?

King.Cobra (author)Bitsi2008-09-17

dude wasps and yellow jackets are mean and can sting more than once. if you have children, this invention might be good. I was stung by a wasp three days ago. not once but thrice. by the same bee.

cheflydia (author)King.Cobra2016-04-18

i just want to jump in here a minute. Hornets are not bees. Hornets/wasps/yello jackets are carnivores and can sting you multiple times. Honeybees, Bumblebees, are herbivores and they die once they sting. And the only way they will sting you is if you mess with them; they aren't hunters for anything but pollen and nectar and then they go back to their hives. Just needed to differentiate. Bees good. Hornets bad.

scherylwilliams (author)Bitsi2009-08-21

some peoples reaction to a sting is what is scarrrrrry.

mg0930mg (author)Bitsi2008-07-27

Also about wikipedia. Don't use it, they lie. A LOT!

Master ofD (author)2016-07-01

Nice :) Watch my trap

brittiebooo (author)2016-03-31

Hey I'm going to try this! I don't see anything wrong with trying to keep wasps away from your home... For the know it all people that think it's horrible to kill anything that could kill you, I live in a small trailer with my 4 month old daughter.. the wasps and hornets are so bad, I'm always afraid to even run out to the car during the day with her. They swarm us and what's crazy about it is it's every kind you can think of! Yellow jackets, red wasps, hornets, all of them! I am highly allergic , I mean severe anaphylaxis in 3 minutes I'm dead and I do not want to find out if my daughter is that bad... Ever...

carolee.budd (author)2014-09-17

Wasps (the Yellow Jacket is the worst of this tribe) needs meat to feed its nest larva (insects,dead birds, road kill, ect.) from early April to mid-August . The larva in turn excretes a sweet honey which the adult eats.

By early to mid-August the last batch of larva has taken wing and the wasps hunt for a substitute for the sweet honey they crave. That's why the sweet toothed buggers appear at your picnics in the late summer.

So fill the traps with meat with some liquid to keep the meat moist in the Spring and early to mid-Summer (I use moist cat food) and sugary liquid (Soda, Fruit Juice ect.) I use Apple Juice, in the late Summer and early Fall.

Nick70587 (author)2013-08-04

I'm trying this right now. I have one of the only lawns in the neighborhood so the wasp hang out from dawn till dusk feeding. I do not have any nests on my property but a neighbor 3 houses down has a whole yard full of fruit trees and I'm convinced that is where they are coming from. I have tried all of the store bought remedies to treat my lawn and they only work for a few days to keep the wasps away. Hopefully this will clear the nest of enough of the strong healthy wasps to kill off the nest completely. Fingers crossed...I would like to be able to use my lawn.

r570 (author)2011-05-11

i know this is an odd question, but what is the approx capacity? would it be easy to use a 1 gallon jug?

jarjar761 (author)2009-09-05

dude dont be a baby just get teh hose put it on the highest jet it can go and spray them it wont kill u if u get wet or get stung i mean i got stung 12 times before i got rid of mine it works instead of being a chicken

Anathema_Herem (author)jarjar7612011-04-13

Some of us are deadly allergic to wasp stings, y'know. I'm not particularly interested in a hospital visit followed by a two week benedryl coma, assuming I survive. Traps seem like a much more comfortable--and frugal!--idea.

Jeff2818, have you tried the inverted glass bottle-style trap they sell on I'm still looking for instructions on how to make one myself.

batman1298 (author)2011-02-16

In my past experiences I have had excellent luck with wasp and hornet traps by using the cheapest fruit juice i can find along with 2 teaspoons of sugar and a small pinch of raw hamburger. I place it in a tree that gets sun but is partially shaded also. Also i would recommend leaving the tape off of the opening and increase the space between the neck of the bottle and the liquid as insects have trouble with flying straight up to escape. Change the mixture every 2 days and be sure to drowned any live bugs in a bucket of hot water before opening. The older the raw hamburger the better, I keep a small amount in the freezer just for this purpose. I would also recommend a 1, 2 or 3 liter soda bottle.

pvt55thoh (author)2010-09-30

I live in the California high desert, not too many wasps/hornets/bees around here, but there are a lot of people that have stables. Flies are here in hordes. A trap is a trap is a I built a few of these and baited them with rotting meat ( I use a hot dog slices into 5ths ) and 2 tablespoons sugar in the water, with a touch of soap to break surface tension and make the buggers drown.. Maintain a water level of about 1 inch to keep the meat moist and smelly, otherwise it dries into jerky and isn't fragrant enough to attract your quarry. ( A daily task out here in the desert ) Some will invariably still be alive when ya open it to dump it out, don't worry, they'll be back LOL leave in a sunny place to hasten the rotting and hold yer nose when ya open to dump out the carcasses...IT DOES STINK!!! But it works!

eyerobot (author)2010-07-13

My home has heavy wooden slats for siding, And almost everywhere I get wasp nests, And my boat has a huge yellow jacket nest. I tried this idea with one gallon milk jugs, But instead of using soda, Soap, And sugar, I put apple cores, Orange peels, And pretty much all fruit biowaste into it. Its been two weeks, And ive had to empty the dead bees, And wasps out of it every single day, To keep them from piling too high inside the bin. Im all for being green, But I draw the line at sharing my home with bugs. So just at a rough count, Id say ive killed a couple hundred wasps so far, Tons of yellow jackets, And not a single honey bee that ive noticed. You could ask how i managed that, But i really dont know why the honey bees arent getting trapped, Unless their just smarter. One thing I did was to add a small piece of screen inside the entry hole, So that its too narrow for small birds to get into, I would never hear the end of it from my wife if i killed a hummingbird. On a side note, I found out that the yellow jackets really hate it when you dust their nest with fireplace ashes, And they seem to be thinning out. So at least i didnt use some toxic petroleum based product, And my wife doesnt have to worry so much when she goes outdoors, She is highly allergic. Great idea, Thanks a lot.

jeff2818 (author)2010-03-28

Well, after making a total of five and leaving them out for weeks I have yet to catch a single wasp.  And, Oh-boy do I have wasps...  Lots of wasps on our deck near our above ground pool where in the summer they stop to get a drink while you are trying to swim, the fun (stings) never end.  Maybe I need some new ideas?  Any and all would be appreciated.  Thanks

Wareagle (author)2009-06-06

they will never know what hit them... MUAH HAHAHAHA

robgoldburg (author)2009-05-03

I put up two of these made from 2 liter bottles filled halfway with apple juice with extra sugar about 3 weeks ago, haven't caught 1 wasp,bee or yellow jacket. Maybe its just me.

lordjohnnym (author)2008-08-12

is that your rubbish bin so they werent lying about america being one of the heaviest polutents in the world, and the heaviest polutant in the western advanced world no offense to you personally

King.Cobra (author)lordjohnnym2008-09-17

what does that mean? what does it have to do with this guy's instructable or the thing that he built?

Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)lordjohnnym2008-08-12

It's the recycle bin.

Oompa-Loompa (author)2008-09-17

Oh Mah Gawd that's one awful large wasp hive!

nibbler125 (author)2008-08-20

i hate bees soo much

Sunny124613 (author)2008-07-17

yeah I do not think you would want a lawsuit...

FrenchCrawler (author)2008-06-01

I'd suggest not using sugar water though cause it'll also attract honey bees and can upset the bee keeper and in some places may even lead to a lawsuit. I find it best to use a mixture of soda and water (about a 1/2 cup of soda to every 2 cups of water). You can also use rotting meat, but then you have to also deal with the smell, so I'd rather not go that route.
Your traps are much like those that my father makes, but I still favor my own :P

PS: Add a drop or two of liquid soap to the "bait" to break surface tension. This will prevent other wasps from using their dead comrades as life boats.

Other then that... nice job

Thanks, I added those other options to the Instructable. If you don't mind. I'll credit you if you want.

That's fine. (later I plan on posting my wasp trap version.... I've been meaning to since the beginning of spring :P ). Don't worry I'll link ;)

higgrobot (author)2008-06-01

Cool now let's make some earthworm and frog traps and while we are at it poison some rivers and burn big piles of plastic.

Scurge (author)higgrobot2008-06-02

wouldn't you say this is more green than, say, spraying RAID all over the place trying to get them? while I am an eco advocate, i see no environmental threat to this Instructable at all.. and I'd be the first to call it out if it was. no matter how hard you try, you wont even be able to make a small dent in the insect population, they outnumber humans by at least 1000 to 1 (prolly much more). here's an idea, why don't you let mice run rampant in your house, cause it's inhumane to kill them, or never use a fly swatter again, you have to chase those buggers out without harming them. and let the brown recluses run free in your bedroom. some people are allergic to wasps and a sting CAN KILL THEM if not treated immediately. while i think that if you are not allergic, leave well enough alone, as long as they are not nesting where you get into constant conflict. frogs don't sting (well some are poisonous, but we'll not go there), neither do earthworms, this instructable keeps the POISION out of your garden and away from your house (ie RAID and other INSECTACIDES) wasps DO have their place in the eco-system, but they don't help much when they're constantly battling a homeowner for territory. good idea S.C. make sure its honeybee safe as you said. If possible, and safe, remove the nest (Wasps are sluggish in the morning, but they will all be around the nest, during the day, they WILL chase you, but you may be able to remove the nest while they are out gathering food and such, use your discression) and they will find a new place to go (most of the time) but if the nest is too big and populated, this is a better idea to thin out the population enough to remove the nest with this trap. and it is green. ;-)

Scurge (author)Scurge2008-06-02

oh yeah, and I'm not sure if this entirely accurate, but wasps and hornets emit pheramones and when you swat one with your hat or something, you make yourself a "glowing" target for his buddies, so watch out for that.

Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)Scurge2008-06-03

Thanks for backing me up! As for the pheamones, it's true. Every fighting member of the nest seeks and destroys the marked target. It's especially deadly in Africanized bees, you'll be covered head to to in angry bees within seconds of the scent's release.

Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)higgrobot2008-06-01


Pkranger88 (author)2008-06-03

Forget the naysayers. I'm for keeping them away. Put a dozen of those jugs out there. Get the ants to jump in. I just want the bugs that eat the bad bugs. I've seen this technique and used it before. It works. Good Job.

Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)Pkranger882008-06-03

Thanks! About the only thing I've caught right now are ants; it's not quite wasp season.

Decepticon (author)2008-06-02

I too have a wasp problem where they make nests on and around my home. It's getting to the point where just about every day I find at least one in my house buzzing around and have to use the vacuum's hose and extension poles to suck them up. I do have a fear of bees and wasps (more wasps and yellow jackets as honey bees are necessary for food production) and an even more fear of them being in my house. I will be building your trap once I finish off a quart of milk but I think I will be using the more honey bee friendly bait as I would rather keep them around. Nice instructable!

atombomb1945 (author)2008-06-01

Obviously none of you have been camping and have had a serious insect issue.

Bitsi (author)atombomb19452008-06-02

Why is that obvious? You can't blame bugs for doing what they do. They're adapted to their circumstances. If you go camping, doesn't that make you a visitor to their home? It just doesn't seem like very good manners to try to kill them. Not to mention, probably ineffective. But anyway, I've had unpleasant encounters with bugs, but usually it was because I ignorantly stepped into their territory and wasn't protected sufficiently.

GorillazMiko (author)2008-06-01


Nice job SC.

+5/5 stars.


Brennn10 (author)2008-06-01

In the second picture of step 1, is that a view from your home?

Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)Brennn102008-06-01

Yea, that's the view from the back yard.

Brennn10 (author)2008-06-01

I am definitely going to make this. It is so easy, and smart!

About This Instructable




Bio: Avid Geocacher and fan of all things iBles.
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