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PSA: Summer wasp problem? Set out your traps NOW

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  • Apr 22nd, 2021 8:57 pm
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PSA: Summer wasp problem? Set out your traps NOW

PSA

If you have a problem with wasps in the summer, especially yellow jackets and other meat eaters, set out your traps now (or maybe even a few weeks ago).

My local bee club is helping sell a locally-made wasp trap (doesn't attract pollinators) so I bought some and set out a couple of traps. Found 3 big wasp queens in one of them today.

The reason for trapping now is that for every queen you kill now, it'll save you being potentially bothered by thousands later in summer. Queen wasps emerge in the late summer or in autumn to mate and then hide for the winter. They're the only ones in the colony to survive the winter. In spring, they will come out of hiding and start to forage for food, building a nest, laying eggs and raising the first brood of workers by herself. If you trap a queen now, the potential nest dies with her. If she survives until the first of her worker (who don't breed) brood emerges, she'll just lay eggs while the workers forage (bothering you in the process) and build the nest. The colony will then grow exponentially until cold weather kills them.

Photos of the dead queens to follow when I rebait the traps.
Last edited by thriftshopper on Apr 20th, 2021 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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I read that 70% of wasp nest are underground so you can't even see them. A couple of summers ago I was mowing the lawn and I guess I was near the nest and was swarmed by several wasp...stung all over. Once one stings you they emit something to sound their buddies who come attacking too. So painful!! I put out fake nest last spring but forgot to do it this year. Will do it tomorrow but I suspect it's probably too late now.
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I had a big yellow jacket problem last summer. I knew the nest was underground by the fence. Waited until cold weather then I dug that bastard up, killed the queen. Hopefully that's the end of it. I did hang a couple decoy wasp nests as they do tend to be territorial, not sure if it will help or not.
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Kiraly wrote: What did you use for bait? I was reading that sugar is good bait for late in the season but meat is good to use now.
It's some liquid bait that has scent of meat, (I presume). Mine are from this place called Catchy Wasp Traps of Chilliwack. And yes, the queens need protein for their young so "meat" traps are a great was to get rid of them now,

I do have a trap bought a few years from CT but that hasn't caught anything (nor did my other Catchy trap) so far.
hierophant wrote: I read that 70% of wasp nest are underground so you can't even see them. A couple of summers ago I was mowing the lawn and I guess I was near the nest and was swarmed by several wasp...stung all over. Once one stings you they emit something to sound their buddies who come attacking too. So painful!! I put out fake nest last spring but forgot to do it this year. Will do it tomorrow but I suspect it's probably too late now.
Wasps of the carnivorous kind come in all sorts of varieties (there are some 10-17k species not all of which are meat eating). We have ground dwellers, those who build nests low and high. Not sure where Yellojackets dwell but I have had to exterminate paper nests in attics, and had to dig out two ground-dwelling nests. Exterminate the queens now an the nests won't be a problem later in the summer.

The fake nests don't do too much for most species. You need the territorial paper nest builders.

Wasps (and bees) emit an attack pheromone that seems to be quite lingering. I had to inspect my bee hives and they didn't like it. Got sprayed and some were stlll chasing after me a day or two later.

The reason for the explosion of wasps in urban areas is generally because of people leaving food for them. Namely garbage and waste food and sugary drinks. Trash receptacles in parks, sports field and playgrounds are a smorgasbord for wasps though there are none of that around me..
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The decoy nest did appear to work - every year I've been in this house I have seen several wasps or their nest except last year when I put up the decoy...maybe a coincidence but maybe not. I don't leave any food out ever - for some reason my property is haven for wildlife and other pests Disappointed But Relieved Face.Can you link to the trap you're talking about?
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hierophant wrote: Can you link to the trap you're talking about?
https://pheromonehelper.ca/en/yellowjac ... -trap.html

They don't sell direct and only appear to sell through bee keeping supply retailers.

My other trap got a queen so at lest 4 now (so 4 fewer wasp nests this summer).
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Had a wasp nest in my lawn 10 years back, picked up wasp spray at Home Depot and sprayed it into the hole they were emerging from in my front lawn. Solved the issue within couple dayz safety restored. Last year had another issue and again the spray did its job super fast.

I really do dislike eradicating as a rule however when close to the house I consider it a safety issue. I have kids and/or guests which I do have to be concerned about and that takes priority.
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Ballroomblitz1 wrote: Had a wasp nest in my lawn 10 years back, picked up wasp spray at Home Depot and sprayed it into the hole they were emerging from in my front lawn. Solved the issue within couple dayz safety restored. Last year had another issue and again the spray did its job super fast.

I really do dislike eradicating as a rule however when close to the house I consider it a safety issue. I have kids and/or guests which I do have to be concerned about and that takes priority.
I've had a similar wasp's nest in the lawn, didn't notice until I ran over it with the lawn mower and then saw wasps buzzing out of it. But they didn't attack - wasps aren't usually very aggressive here in BC. For the rest of the summer I just zipped over that spot on the lawn quickly with the mower and didn't linger near it after the mowing pass, and there was no problem. Filled in the hole in the fall, and they didn't return to that spot. Honestly I think it's more trouble and environmental damage than it's worth to try to rid of the wasps as long as they don't turn aggressive. There's plenty of food around in the natural environment for them, and they're very helpful to the flowering fruit trees.
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Tell me more about these wasp traps...
I strongly dislike wasps, love bees of all sorts but strongly dislike wasps.
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tebore wrote: Tell me more about these wasp traps...
I strongly dislike wasps, love bees of all sorts but strongly dislike wasps.
Trap the newly-emergent queens early. Each one you kill now reduces the ones bothering you by the dozens (or hundreds) in summer. Also will save a lot of pain if you stumble onto ground dwellers (I did in one nest, and the gardeners stepped into another, last summer).
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thriftshopper wrote: Trap the newly-emergent queens early. Each one you kill now reduces the ones bothering you by the dozens (or hundreds) in summer. Also will save a lot of pain if you stumble onto ground dwellers (I did in one nest, and the gardeners stepped into another, last summer).
Yes but what do these traps look like and how do they work? What's the bait?
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tebore wrote: Yes but what do these traps look like and how do they work? What's the bait?
See the link in post 7 for photo

Basically a sturdy plastic bag (zip loc top) that can sit on a flat surface if you can't hang it, with an orifice. The wasps can crawl in through the orifice but they can't crawl out (no place to fly, bag is too slippery). Despite the manufacturer's name, I suspect that bait is something that emits the scent of meat (predatory wasps - as well as the Asian Giant Hornet - need meat protein to feed their larvae). The bait is a clear liquid that comes in a sachet, and does have a scent suggestive of meat (liquid amino acids, liquid silk worm larvae?) Sugar/pop bait is less effective as it lures the workers (and lures other more-beneficial insects) and probably not the queen. A queen wasp can probably lay dozens if not hundreds of eggs a day.

You cold buy the bait refill and stick it in a trap of your choice.
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thriftshopper wrote: See the link in post 7 for photo

Basically a sturdy plastic bag (zip loc top) that can sit on a flat surface if you can't hang it, with an orifice. The wasps can crawl in through the orifice but they can't crawl out (no place to fly, bag is too slippery). Despite the manufacturer's name, I suspect that bait is something that emits the scent of meat (predatory wasps - as well as the Asian Giant Hornet - need meat protein to feed their larvae). The bait is a clear liquid that comes in a sachet, and does have a scent suggestive of meat (liquid amino acids, liquid silk worm larvae?) Sugar/pop bait is less effective as it lures the workers (and lures other more-beneficial insects) and probably not the queen. A queen wasp can probably lay dozens if not hundreds of eggs a day.

You cold buy the bait refill and stick it in a trap of your choice.
oh I was still waiting for the pics from your set up since your bee club made it themselves and the thing you linked doesn't sell publicly.
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tebore wrote: oh I was still waiting for the pics from your set up since your bee club made it themselves and the thing you linked doesn't sell publicly.
No, our bee club doesn't make anything :) The cub is just publicizing a made-in-province product which a local beekeeper (and renter) s a seller for, and I find it is effectve.

Just checked the traps (bait is good for 2 weeks and not 1 as I thought) a few minutes ago and this is what I found
WP_20210420_10_45_39_Pro.jpg
The 4 yellow jackets are queens given the dots (merged with the black band on workers). Appears to be Vespula pensylvnica.

The black and white one may be a bald-faced hornet which despite its name is apparently a species of yellowjacket.

This is a good guide, at least for the west coast.

https://portlandurbanbeekeepers.org/wp- ... e-Home.pdf
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tebore wrote: https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/resc ... 8824p.html

Managed to find this. Guess I'll give it a shot. In the past I've been dealing with the nest after it's a problem.
I actually have a 2 year old version of this exact item ( not used until a few weeks ago) hanging outside. it caught nothing so far except a few small wasps. Might work better late season for workers though we've used them the past few years with little success. Perhaps we get mostly European Paper Wasps - which though a little annoying but are fairly harmless otherwise - are not attracted to protein so ignore this traps. I will empty the trap next week and use some of the Catchy bait and see how it does.

The disadvantage of the Catchy bait is that it is not shelf stable and needs refrigeration until use.
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Just bought two of these. Look forward to trying them out.
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thriftshopper wrote: Perhaps we get mostly European Paper Wasps - which though a little annoying but are fairly harmless otherwise - are not attracted to protein so ignore this traps. I will empty the trap next week and use some of the Catchy bait and see how it does.
They can be really annoying when they build inside your building envelope. One year had about a foot long nest in the HRV intake duct. Another year they chewed their way through the housewrap and wood to build a nest in between floor joists. Fortunately my basement isn't finished so I was able to get at the nest to spray and remove.

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