Saturday, September 3, 2022

Simple science

Hypothesis 1: I can use containers baited with apple cider to catch yellow-jackets

Hypothesis 1.1: There are variables that I can manipulate to increase their effectiveness



Will containers with small openings be more effective than ones with large openings because it will be more difficult for the yellow-jackets to find their way out?

Will containers that are laid on their side, with their openings close to the ground be more effective than containers with their openings higher off of the ground.

2 X 2 experiment with single replication

Jar that held instant coffee. Label peeled off. Opening facing north. Partially-filled with cider and a tiny dab of dish detergent.

Six yellow-jackets.

Peanut butter jar with label removed. I did not use a PB jar for the horizontal test because they are straight-sided and would not hold liquids if laid on their sides.

Two yellow-jackets

Sport drink container laid on its side

One yellow-jacket

Sport drink container, vertical opening-up

No yellow-jackets but many, many fruit-flies.

Conclusion: A wide-mouthed jar, laid on its side and baited with apple cider is a good first-choice for yellow-jacket traps.


  1. A bit of dish soap will make the trap significantly more effective, the surfactant breaks the surface tension and acts as a wetting agent so they drown.

    Same idea as soapy apple cider vinegar for fruit flies.

  2. I have found that if you use an opening that is about 1.2 yellow jacket diameters that sticks down into the jar about an inch or more that they go in but seldom find their way back out.
    This seems to work no matter if the jar is horizontal or vertical.
    Try a small funnel at the entrance for the effect I am referring to. .

  3. My favorite way of dealing with yellow jackets that attacked the beehive is with a hamburger bait. Sports bottle with a hamburger ball spiked with a Sentry Fiproguard cat flea & tick application. The hamburger won't attract any bees and the sports bottle will prevent easy access by pets.

  4. Take a few minutes to watch this video:

    His home made trap starts at the 3 minutes 15 seconds mark and is by far the most effective.

    Phil B

  5. Last time I got into it with yellow jackets there were hundreds, or maybe thousands of them. I don't think a trap that catches six of them will do much good. ---ken

  6. Take a shop vac, fill with two inches of soapy water, put suction hose right at entrance of hive and let it run a few hours. You will suck up hundreds. Works for me every time.


Readers who are willing to comment make this a better blog. Civil dialog is a valuable thing.