If yellow jackets are hanging around your pool, they’re not necessarily nesting on your property. They may have merely discovered that the pool is a convenient water supply. Even if you can’t find the nest to destroy it, there’s no reason you can’t still enjoy your yard and the pool without being stung. You can quickly and easily make inexpensive, highly effective traps to get rid of the yellow jackets. Yellow jacket activity begins in early spring and extends into the fall. The earlier you set out traps, the more effective they’ll be at minimizing yellow jacket populations by late summer.
Cut the top off an empty plastic 2-liter bottle just below the shoulder.
Flip a funnel upside down and push it as far as it will go into the bottom of the bottle to wedge it tightly. Staple it into place.
Use a screwdriver to poke two holes near the top of the trap. Tie a piece of string to the holes to make a hanger.
Drop a few scraps of old meat or fish into the bottom of the trap during the spring and early summer months when wasps forage for protein. Add about 2 inches of water. Use about 2 inches of apple juice, carbonated sodas and other sweet-smelling beverages for bait in late summer and early fall. Yellow jackets collect carbohydrates and sweets during that time of year.
Hang the traps on fence posts or low tree limbs well away from the pool area. Leave at least 30 or 40 feet between the traps and the pool if possible. Space them about 20 feet apart. The idea is to lure yellow jackets to the traps and away from your activities.
Empty the yellow jacket traps in the evening every day. They tire themselves out trying to escape the trap, drop into the liquid and drown. Bait the traps again and set them back in place. If you don’t keep them baited, the insects will return to the pool area.
Serve food right before guests are ready to eat in the pool area and remove leftovers immediately. Don’t put foods out earlier. Dispose of scraps and trash in a garbage can with a tight-fitting lid. Provide guests clear disposable plastic cups. Encourage everyone to pour canned drinks into the cups, where snacking yellow jackets can be readily seen before someone is stung.
Eliminate standing water on your property. Turn over empty flower pots or other containers that can hold water that yellow jackets may use for drinking. Dump out kiddie pools when they’re not in use.
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