Wasps can be difficult to trap, especially in the early summer when they’re just building their nests. That small spring population will quickly get out of control once a nest becomes established and dozens of wasps hatch out.
Without wasp traps, our backyard becomes uninhabitable during the summer time. There are so many wasps hovering around the porch, door and garden that you can’t take a step without walking into one.
One summer, the wasps built over 100 nests under our second-story eves, well out of reach and impossible to knock down. With small children in the house, we’ve had trouble finding a natural wasp trap without harsh chemical pesticides.
Wasp spray may be effective, but it’s not something you want all over your house, yard and porch. Besides that, it kills far more than wasps and lingers in the environment long after the wasps are gone.
Over the years we’ve tried many non-toxic wasp traps, and we’ve learned a lot about what makes an effective wasp trap.
Best Indoor Wasp Trap
Wait, what? Why do you need an indoor wasp trap? I’m not necessarily talking about setting one of these up in your living room, though I would if heaven forbid, the wasps managed to invade the house.
There are other “indoor” structures like garden sheds, garages, chicken coops and greenhouses that provide a great environment for wasps to nest.
On the one hand, you want to trap the ones that decide to nest in there, but you don’t exactly want to use a trap with a wasp scent attractant. The last thing you want to do is call more wasps into the structure. A non-toxic sticky trap that works with a sight lure is an effective option, that catches the wasps in residence without calling more into the party.
The Rescue Non-Toxic Wasp Trap is extremely effective inside our greenhouse. We caught our first wasp within minutes, and since then it’s caught every wasp that has ventured in. No more indoor wasp nests, and we can go in the greenhouse again without being assaulted.
Hanging wasp traps are usually easy to put up, but this one can be a challenge. It’s really sticky, and there’s very little space that doesn’t have tanglefoot wasp adhesive. Be sure you’re completely ready to go before trying to hang this wasp trap.
The Amazon reviews of this sticky trap have plenty of horrific pictures of birds becoming stuck to the trap, and that’s the reason for just about all of the 1-star reviews. The company has since installed bird guards on the trap, which keeps birds from getting stuck to the trap, but either way, that’s not an issue if you’re using this wasp trap indoors.
Now that they have bird guards, we’ve bought a few more and are going to hang them up on our porch. This is hands down the best paper wasp trap I’ve ever tried, so I’m hopeful with the new guards that it’ll be successful outdoors.
Best Baited Wasp Trap
Unlike bees, wasps are meat-eaters. If you bait a trap with sugar water or juice, you’ll catch all manner of insects like flies and bees, and an occasional wasp. If you want to target wasps, you need the right type of wasp trap bait.
In the past, we’ve used pieces of ham in a homemade soda bottle trap. That catches a few wasps, but it doesn’t really dent the population.
We’ve been very happy with a scent baited trap from Rescue. While the paper wasps seem much more attracted to the visual lure of the sticky wasp trap, this baited wasp trap caught 8 bald-faced hornets within hours.
The scent lure is supposed to be active for 2 weeks, and then you need to refill it. We’re now at 2.5 weeks and it still catches a few more every day.
Bald-faced hornets have one of the most painful stings of any insect, and one year my husband found one of their nests…with a lawnmower. He was in horrible pain and looked like a chipmunk for well over a week. Since then, these things have been on our most-wanted list.
Just look at the size of that thing! In the picture below, I put my finger up to the outside of the trap for scale. It’s absurdly large, and anytime I see one of those things flying around I vacate the area.
Paper wasps are pretty calm by comparison, but these hornets are wantonly aggressive. In my mind, if this trap caught even one of those beasts it’s paid for itself. I can’t believe we had that many of those monsters hanging around the yard.
The instructions on the trap explicitly say that it’s difficult to catch wasps with this trap in the spring and early summer. At that time, wasps are not food-focused, and they’re spending just about all their time building their nests.
It’s not until their first young arrive that they begin continuously searching for food. I’m hopeful to see what this trap will catch in a few weeks.
The trap has 2 chambers, each baited with a different scent bait. The bottom has only caught gnats thus far, but I’m watching to see what this thing will catch once mid-summer rolls around.
Best Disposable Baited Wasp Trap
The sight lure trap that we use in our greenhouse is “disposable” but I don’t really count it as disposable, because it works continuously for the full 6 months of our Vermont summer. That same trap stays sticky and keeps catching wasps as long as there’s even a tiny patch of open space left.
Thus far, I’ve stayed away from disposable lure traps, but after the success, we had with the rescue baited trap, I decided to try a few more baited traps. There are very few reusable traps on the market, and just about all of them are designed for a single-use.
After reading a lot of reviews, the top trap is consistently this little disposable baited yellow jacket trap. It’s designed to hunt yellow jackets specifically, and we’re just getting it hung now.
They sell an “east of the Rockies” and a “west of the Rockies” model, each baited with region-specific bait. Be sure to select the correct region when you buy the trap.
We haven’t worked with wasp repellants at all. Out here in the sticks, it’s hard to imagine they’d work. There’s just so much wildlife and so much available food for wasps that it’s hard to imagine anything that would actually repel them from this land.
In the suburbs, where there’s less compelling forage, a repellant might be just enough to keep them out of your yard. It has the benefit of not accidentally attracting wasps with a scent lure, like many of the traps might.
Many of them repel wasps simply using a scarecrow effect. This one is just a giant fake wasp nest that makes wasps think a big successful hive is already in this territory, so they’ll see out somewhere else that’s unoccupied.
Wasp repellants like this one are a bit more attractive and are shaped like fancy bird feeders or outdoor lighting, but they’re actually just scent repellents.
If you’ve had good experience with wasp repellants or other types of traps, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a note in the comments below.