How to Get Rid of Yellow Jackets and Wasps from Your Yard
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How to Get Rid of Yellow Jackets and Wasps from Your Yard

How to use traps to catch yellow jackets and wasps. You need different traps for each. Warnings for things to look out for when trying to trap wasps and yellow jackets.

Now that summer is almost here you’re thinking about finally being able to sit outside and enjoy the nice weather and yard. Sounds great until you start remembering some of last summer’s problems, like the times the yellow jackets wouldn’t leave you alone. I remember a time when they just flew by and didn’t want to bother me or be bothered, lately it seems they come right up to me looking for a fight.

Yellow jackets

These pests really can be pests and for some people they can be deadly pests for anyone who is allergic to their sting. Some years they are really bad and seem more aggressive. A yellow jacket is longer and bigger than a normal bee. A wasp is longer and slender and more brownish than a yellow jacket and has a dangling backside. Many times both are called wasps.

You can buy yellow jacket traps by Rescue and place one or more of these around your yard. You might have seen them already in your neighbors yard, those yellow things hanging from trees and corner eaves of houses. Those come with a little packet of liquid that attracts the yellow jacket into the cones and they can’t get out. You pour that on a cotton ball and put it in along with a piece of meat. For meat I have used a number of things. I think hamburger works good and I’ve also used something like a little Vienna sausage since they fit perfectly onto the little prongs inside.

Put these in a corner of your yard where you won’t be walking by all the time and an area that is free of large obstructions. You want this to be in a path the yellow jackets will fly. Some people put these on their back porch but that might be to close to where you walk all the time. And don’t put these near a known yellow jacket hive or they could really get riled up.

Best time to put these out in your yard are early in the season before the queen yellow jacket has found a home and makes a nest in your yard somewhere.

Yellow jackets usually make their nests in the ground but more than once I have seen yellow jacket nests inside storage sheds. You need to be aware of this when you mow. If you are mowing for the first time in the yard and the grass is long you could run over a nest. I have seen this before and hundreds of very angry yellow jackets is not a fun thing.

Yellow jackets can really become aggressive when you spray their nest. You have to do this at night when they are less apt to be flying all over. More than once though I have sprayed a yellow jacket nest at night and they came flying out. At night you couldn’t see them flying out at you either. I am thinking that the next time there is a large yellow jacket nest in my yard causing problems, I will call the exterminator, as I really hated dealing with them the last time at night.


The above traps don’t work for stopping wasps. There are many types of wasps and some are beneficial, but not if they build their nest right near your door or some other high traffic area. Wasps also like to build their nests in playground equipment, remember that when you go to the playground with your kids.

You can usually spot the nests area like you can with the yellow jacket, a high traffic area for the wasps coming and going especially near sunset. These types of wasps can be paper wasps and build their nests in the honeycomb paper type nests. If these wasps are getting to be a problem, you can spray the nest. Do this in the early morning and even better when it’s colder and maybe raining out. For nests up high, use a spray that will spray at a distance of 25’ or so. I like the foaming spray better. When you are done spraying don’t run away, walk slowly.

There are also traps you can make yourself to trap the wasps using the link at the bottom of the page. The bad thing about the wasp trap is that it will also kill bees and that isn’t a good thing.

With both of these traps, the main objective is to kill the queens before they build nests in and around your yard.

Warning: One thing that can really ruin your day is to get stung in the mouth. Many times this happens to people when they are drinking a pop or beer and leave it and go back and drink some. While they left it out in the open a bee, wasp or yellow jacket went into the can and got stuck, when someone drank from the can or bottle they get stung. Don’t leave your open pop and beer without either covering them or watching them.

Warning: Even if you’ve been stung before and had no allergic reaction, you can have one if stung again. If someone is stung and immediately starts to feel dizzy or lose consciousness, has labored breathing, swelling of the tongue or breathing tubes, blueness of the skin or low blood pressure get them to medical attention right away.

© 2009 Sam Montana

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Comments (11)
Ranked #2 in Gardening

The yellow jackets seem to be getting more agressive recently. I was going to do an article about spiders as well, but there are too many. I did learning something I never knew about though. In your area in the Pacific northwest you have a rather annoying and poisonous spider called a Hobo spider. I had never heard of them before.

Great Info! I've seen someone pickup a drink with a yellow jacket in it and before I could say stop, they got stung, really bad swelling in the face. And they are really bad about getting in swing sets and such. Got my first sting on a swing set long ago...

Ranked #2 in Gardening

That is really dangerous to get stung in the mouth, so close to the windpipe and lungs. I read this article here on factoidz recently about vodka killing wasps instantly. I have yet to try it but I am going to keep this in mind.

I have a large balcony which I spend much of my time on. Its a beautiful place to sit and write, but I have this problem with the BEES. They got a thing for me! Your article was very helpful in thoughts of how to rid them from my personal space.

We have had lots of problems with all kinds of bees and wasps outside our patio this summer! And they apparently like to burrow in one of our chairs...we have to spray and spray...

Good tips. Don't do what I did as a freshman in high school. I armed myself with a badminton racket and started swinging at the wasps. Well, they came after me all right. I wasted a few of them, but got stung for my trouble. I guess the "match" was a draw.

Ranked #2 in Gardening

Get a good spray that actually says wasps, hornets and yellow jackets on the can. The yellow jackets were bad at the start of summer and now the wasps. And I have seen more hornets (the black/blue ones) this year than ever. With your chair, you might try filling it with some of that expanding foam so they cannot get in there. Wasps (the dangling body type) are easier to discourage than the big yellow jackets are. At least we dont have killer bees here ....Yet.

These are great tips! Luckily I have never need them.

Great article on how to kill wasp and yellow jackets. I seem to have a bigger problem this year than any other. The kids can't seem to play outside they are everywhere. Thanks for the information.

I don't know what yellow jackets are, but we have a lot of wasps in Italy and it is a recurring summer problem.

I have a cedar tree/bush type in my yard. It is full of yellow jackets...What to do????