Hello, I'm Diane Alston Utah State University extension entomologist.
And in this video fact sheet we are going to talk about some of the homemade insect
traps that you could make that help reduce pest problems around your home.
Right now it is June 10, 2011 it's still fairly early in the summer, so the grapes
are just now leafing out but some of these traps we're going to be talking about are
for insects that will become problems later in the summer. So the first insect
trap we can make is for the European paper wasp. The European paper wasp is an
invasive insect that's been in Utah for about 10 years now. As the name suggests
it was introduced from Europe into the eastern part of the United States, and
slowly made its way across the country and arrived here in Utah, again about 10 years
ago. It is different than some of the other paper wasps. Another common paper
wasp pest that we have trouble with is the yellow jacket. The yellow jacket nests in
the ground and delivers a very intense sting. Some people are allergic to that
and it can be very problematic. The European paper wasp also stings and so
that's one of the problems with it is it's a nuisance. Its sting doesn't tend to be
as severe as the yellow jacket but non the less no one is excited about having a
stinging insect flying around. The other main problem with the European paper wasp
is that it likes to feed on ripe and over ripe fruit. and so when grapes are growing
on this vineyard here or peaches and apricots in the orchard next door the wasp
come and land on that fruit just as it is getting ripe and chew a hole in it and so
you loose some of your fruit harvest. Yet another problem that we have with them is
that they will build their nests in places where we live. So they will build their
nests under the eaves of a home, under a raised deck, in the ceiling of an
outbuilding such as a shed. Perhaps in the ventilation ducts of your motor home.
Places like that, and so their nests can be a nuisance in themselves and then just
abundance of the wasps flying around during the summer and their potential to
sting you is a concern.
This will be the funnel that will sit in in the top of the trap. So the European
paper wasp trap, what you want to use is a fruit juice solution. But you want it to
be a very low concentration of fruit juice so it is just one part fruit juice to 10
parts water. And the reason for that is that you want the fruit juice to start
fermenting. You can use orange, grape, cherry, apple, pretty much any kind of
fruit juice is just fine. So I'm going to use one quarter cup fruit juice to two or
two and a quarter cups water.
And then I am going to add in a quarter teaspoon of yeast.
So this is just active dry yeast that you use for making bread or pizza
And then a quarter teaspoon of liquid dish detergent. So the purpose
of the dish soap is to break the surface tension so that when the wasps land in the
fruit juice they fall into the liquid solution. So just mix this up.
And they you are going to take the top you cut off and invert it down like a funnel.
And then what you need to have two holes in the sides to hang this trap up. So you
can use something like a knife or something sharp to poke holes or I use a
soldering gun that just puts a hole right through the plastic. And so I just have a
piece of a wire kind of like a giant twist tie. Insert it through the holes on the
end make a little ball on the end so it doesn't pull through. Do the same on each
side. Okay, now you have a wasp trap. This one is actually a little bit full so I'm
going to pour a little bit out. You don't want the liquid. You want it to be just
a little below the funnel so that when the wasps fly in and land on the liquid, the
fruit juice solution they then fall into the bait and are't able to crawl back out
So when this is hanging up outside the wasp detect the odor of the fermenting
fruit juice. They are attracted to it they fly, they land in here and then they will
crawl down to get into where the fruit juice is and then once they land on the
surface of that liquid with the soap that has broken the surface tension they fall
through. And so your trap will fill up with European paper wasps.
Okay the European paper wasp is again attracted to fermenting fruit juice. So
the trap we made is an ideal kind of trap for it. The commercial traps that you buy
in the store are for the yellow jacket. The yellow jacket is primarily a
carnivorous insect that is attracted to meat and of course other insects is its
primary diet and so the bait that's inside those commercial traps simulates a food
source for the yellow jacket or a pheromone that it uses for communication.
And so yellow jackets are not attracted to this kind of trap and European wasps
likewise are attracted to fermenting fruit and not attracted to the yellow jacket
trap. And so this is the only kind of trap that has been successful for catching the
European paper wasp. So in an outdoor situation where you have a vineyard or an
orchard a blackberry crop where you are trying to protect them from the European
paper wasp you need to make quite a few traps and hang them around the perimeter
of the orchard and vineyard. You need to place one trap about every 50 feet of
vineyard or orchard or blackberry vine area and so you will need to make a number
of these and hang them out during the time when the fruit is getting close to being
ripe. And at this time the trap will act as an attractant and draw the European
paper wasp into the trap rather than feeding on your fruit.
The European paper wasp has a good side to it as well. It is a predator of
caterpillars and other small soft bodied insects around the home landscape and
garden. One of their favorite foods is the leaf miner larvae, that can be found in
common leafy greens such as spinach and lettuce, Swiss chard and beats.
The paper wasp will land on these leaves and chew out the area where the
caterpillar is right underneath this layer
So for an overall good European paper wasp management program it's good to combine
the trapping with some of the other techniques we've talked about such as
frequently changing your hummingbird water limiting their access to open water
sources. And another important tool is nest removal. So in the early summer when
the adults are building new nests to lay their eggs and rear their larvae this is
a time you can remove nests to help reduce the build up of the population. The best
time to remove nests is when it is cool. So at night or in the early morning and to
often use a contact insecticide such as a wasp killer product to spray the nest
first to reduce the likelihood that you will be stung in the process. And then to
remove the nests all the way up to the very surface of where they are attached.
So you try to not leave any of the residue of the nest behind, because areas where
there are lots of nests already built this is an attraction for other wasps to fly
in and build their nests there as well.