Hornets are useful garden insects that aid in the fertilization of plants and the control of hazardous garden pests. But when they construct a nest in your mailbox, disrupt your backyard BBQ, or just randomly sting you and your family, it's more practical to find a way to keep them at bay, like setting up a hornet trap.
How exactly do you make homemade hornet traps? You’ll need a marker, a plastic bottle, wire or sturdy string, and a sweet liquid. Position your bait in an area that hornets frequent so you’re more likely to catch them. Set these traps in the early spring when the queens are hunting for nesting locations to keep hornet nests away from your house and immediate yard.
Draw a line around the neck of the soda bottle, just below the taper, with a permanent marker. Tie a thread or a large rubber band around the bottle as a guide to keep the line straight, then mark the line with your marker. Cut the top off the bottle at the line you drew with a knife, box cutter, or a sharp pair of scissors.
At the bottom of the bottle, you'll place an attractive food source to bait the trap. At different periods of the year, different baits are more effective in attracting hornets. Hornets are hunting for protein sources in the spring and early summer and they are looking for more sweet sources throughout the late summer and early fall.
Meanwhile, in the spring, put a piece of lunch meat or a tiny bit of cooked beef inside your trap. In the summer and fall, use a few inches of sugar water, water with jam, soda, orange juice, apple juice, lemon juice, or a similar sweet beverage.
To keep honey bees out of your trap, add some regular vinegar or apple cider vinegar to the mix. Unscrew and remove the bottle top to finish your trap. Then, turn the bottle upside down and tuck the top section into the bottom portion, and it's ready to use.
Place your trap or traps outside in locations where hornet activity is visible or where you want to prevent hornet activity. If you want to keep away from your picnic, place a bottle near the table so they'll be drawn to the trap rather than your meal.
Use a hole punch to drill two holes across from each other at the top of the trap if you wish to put it in a tree or on a structure. Make sure you punch all the way through the top and bottom of the bottle, then thread the desired length of wire or string through the holes and hang.
The aroma of the bait attracts yellow jacket hornets, giant hornets, Asian hornets, and sometimes even queen wasps, who fly through the bottle opening to get at it. They crawl down into the tight entrance, can't figure out how to get back out, and perish, drowning in the liquid if it's present.
You should also be frequently checking for living hornets, remove dead ones from the trap on a regular basis, and reuse the bottle as bait at least once a week to keep the hornets coming. When dealing with hornets, always be cautious and prevent touch or being stung if you're allergic.
Adding a few drops of dish soap to the water can help improve the trap's chances of functioning. This stops the insects from getting traction on the water's surface, hastening their death. In the spring and early summer, hornets are more interested in protein. Their sugar cravings don't peak until near the end of the season.
For early-season use, you might use the same trap design but fill the container with decaying meat, raw meat, cooked meat, or meat scraps and a cup of water (hot water, or warm water typically work best). This will entice insects to inspect your ingenious trap in the early spring.
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