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How Well Does the Fatal Funnel Wasp Trap Work?

By James Young
Traps such as the Fatal Funnel don't eliminate wasps completely.

Funnel traps reduce wasp populations by attracting foraging workers to baited containers that few can escape from. Different types of wasps respond to different baits as the seasons change. Although the Fatal Funnel trap isn't perfect, the bait does provide effective attractants for the major wasp and hornet species. Waiting until wasp populations peak to set out traps such as the Fatal Funnel won't provide the best pest control.

Fatal Funnel Design

The Fatal Funnel trap kit provides buyers with a yellow plastic "flower" funnel easily pressed into the side of a 2 liter soda bottle. The kit also includes a recipe for bait. Setting the trap requires filling the bottle 3 inches deep with a mixture of fruit juice and sugar. Spikes on the funnels hold pieces of fish or meat. Hung in a corner of the yard, the smell of the fermenting bait draws foraging wasps and hornets to the trap. Inside, the insects fall into the pool and drown.

Target Species

Paper wasps, yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets all create problems for homeowners when colony populations rise in late summer and fall. Each species prefers different food sources. Paper wasps and hornets prey on other living insects while yellow jackets prefer garbage, dead insects, sweet foods and meat. All could be attracted to the contents of the Fatal Funnel. Hornets and yellow jackets respond to the protein bait, while paper wasps prefer fermenting fruit.

Seasonal Baits

Different baits work best in different seasons. The fermenting fruit juice attracts more paper wasps before local fruits ripen and fall, says entomologist Peter Landolt. The sweet juice won't attract wasps until fermentation starts in one to two days, but yellow jackets follow the sugar scent immediately. Hornets and yellow jackets find the trap more often if other food sources such as garbage bins stay covered. Placing the Fatal Funnel in the yard in spring might have even more effect, trapping the queens and the early generation of foragers. Protein baits work better early in the year and might reduce fall populations by 70 percent, according to Copesan.


An efficient trapping system used throughout the season could drop the fall population of stinging insects drastically -- reducing yellow jacket numbers by 88 percent, according to a trapping study conducted by Copesan. Setting multiple funnel traps 30 feet apart provides better control in large areas such as orchards, according to Peter Landolt. Traps require regular maintenance. Meat baits in the Fatal Funnel last three days at most. Fatal Funnel recommends replacing the bottle and liquid attractant after two or three weeks.


About the Author


James Young began writing in 1969 as a military journalist combat correspondent in Vietnam. Young's articles have been published in "Tai Chi Magazine," "Seattle Post-Intelligencer," Sonar 4 ezine, "Stars & Stripes" and "Fine Woodworking." He has worked as a foundryman, woodturner, electronics technician, herb farmer and woodcarver. Young graduated from North Seattle Community College with an associate degree in applied science and electronic technology.