Al Fresco and Flying Pests

As the weather warms, more of you have been eating your WFD on your patios. We have a lovely 2nd floor deck with a lovely view, and we rarely if ever dine on it anymore because it is a wasp/yellow jacket magnet. Funny thing, there is not foliage up there. But the metal rails holding our glass panes together have just a little opening in each “T” intersection that the pests love to fly into. For what reason escapes me entirely, since we’ve done tests and they are really no bigger openings than maybe 2x the size of a thimble.

We bought these yellow pear shaped wasp traps last year and had decent luck with them. This year, we are catching zero. I’ve googled wasp bait recipes, and am curious about your failsafes. And also, if you put up traps regularly, are there seasons/times when the same bait just doesn’t lure them, and do you have any idea why?

We’ve used this year (and I think last year too when it actually worked) - lemonade or apple juice both fortified with some extra sugar and a bit of vinegar (to keep the bees out). Also honey water. The traps have caught 3 wasps over a 3 wk period. Ish. I haven’t tried to put out tuna or anything, because I’m afraid it will start to get disgusting fast, and we’ll have to clean the traps more often than I’d like or realistically could get to.


A bowl of peppermint oil works for us re wasps.
As does planting herbs in pots on the outdoor area w mosquitos
Marigolds, Chrysanthemums also helpful other flying bugs.

So you’re more trying to steer them away than catch them? We have been spraying our cars with pepp oil for a number of months after 3 separate rodent incidents. I cannot imagine sitting by a bowl of the stuff. It is strong! And gave my H a huge miserable allergic day the first time, when he didn’t wear a mask to apply it.

Sorry to hear that didn’t work for you.

Thanks for sharing your experiences though. I hope someone somewhere chimes in with some great “bait liquid” recipes. I would not mind at all reducing our yellowjacket population. They are awful.

Might I suggest nature’s pest control?


Maybe the following would be a worthy experiment if you have supplies handy?

At some point every summer, fruit fleas find their way into the house on a piece of produce. In a glass or jar I then mix any unwanted alcohol, like cooking sherry, with sugar. Top the solution with thin float of dish soap. The insects are attracted. Crawl in. And are done in.

I wonder if a variation on this “cocktail” might reduce those unwelcome yellow jacket visitors? Of course it’s important to keep the boozy dish soap concoction away from any curious kids and pets.

I’ve done this on fruit flies too. It could work on yellowjackets, but I don’t want to assume that all insects are attracted to the same thing. Someone out there in HO land must have some actual tried and true mixture. Still holding out :slight_smile:

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Try this: take a pail and fill it about 2/3 full with water. Place a dowel over the top, to which you’ve tied a raw piece of meat, hanging the flesh close to, but above the water. The wasps and hornets will dive bomb the meat, but will fall into the water and drown. Good luck @Sasha, it’s worked for us during two terrible wasp seasons.

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I use unfiltered apple cider vinegar, a drop of soap, and a drop of agave nectar. I am not sure if the sweetening is needed with cider vinegar but don’t want to give the fruitflies a chance to get ahead of me. They arrived with organic produce a year ago, when I started a Misfits Market membership, and were well-established by the time I realized I had tiny new roommates.

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Have you tried this mix in a wasp trap? That’s what I’m hoping to catch. Fruitflies might be a pain, but they don’t keep me from enjoying my deck.

Out on a limb, figuratively if not literally, but perhaps worth a try:

The claim is that this scares away real wasps and hornets. So you could try crocheting one - Etsy has patterns and sells completed ones. Or you COULD try dampening a brown paper bag, coaxing it into the shape of a punching bag, and hanging that.

Umm - no :slight_smile:

We had a breakout of giant flies a few years ago. I figured out they’re attracted to light, so it was open bathroom, turn on light, it flys in, close door, sneak in and blast away. Works every time.

Our new weapon against big flies is the dog. If one gets into the house, she hunts it down. Then we’ll find a fly corpse.

I suppose I should be glad she spits them out. :upside_down_face:

Thanks for reviving the thread, although as the OP, I was asking about yellowjackets and not flies or fruit flies. But this may be of interest - the same traps that we couldn’t catch anything with at the start of the season are catching wasps now. We read that wasps are looking for different things at the start of spring (protein - to feed their babies) and summer (sugar - to feed themselves?). So next year, we’re planning on starting with tuna juice and finishing with soda, or similar!

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Lol, flies …

I have four cats so one of them is always willing to get off their lazy butt and grab a fly-sized snack.


Your cats look like they know they’re adorable. Also they’re lounging as if they invented it.

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Do you have lizards? My cats loved lizards. Yum! :dizzy_face:

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So cute! They don’t call flies ‘sky raisins’ for nothing. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: I still get a little grossed out when my cats eat a bug.

A little late to this thread, but I wonder if maybe having certain plants might also help. I’ve heard both thyme and rosemary are good because they will detract some pests from visiting (I heard that wasps dislike thyme in particular). Rosemary may or may not be practical depending on the size of your patio, but thyme plants can remain fairly compact, and then you have the plus of getting fresh herbs.

Not scientific at all, we used to get some wasps in our yards. We even had a few small nests a few times, which we smoked and got rid of right away. I’ve been growing rosemary and thyme for the last few years, and I haven’t really seen wasps anymore (at least no more nests). This could definitely be coincidence, so I can’t be sure this will do it. There are a few good websites that will tell you what plants might detract which pests.

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