The Correct Bait

Pro Tip

Choosing the right bait is critical for a baiting program. Give yellowjackets a couple choices of meat to determine which is the best to use.

Yellowjacket baiting is both an art and a science. A successful baiting program will require a little investigation before the program is started. You should consider the following before starting your baiting program:

What species can be controlled with a baiting program?

Baiting only works for the scavenger “meat bee” species of the yellowjacket complex. On the west coast, there are at least 12 species of yellowjackets, but only 3: the western yellowjacket, V. pensylvanica; the common yellowjacket, V. vulgaris; and the German yellowjacket, V. germanica can be controlled with this baiting program. There are comparable species on the east coast, and throughout the US and Canada that can also be successfully baited. The rest of the stinging hymenoptera can’t be controlled through baiting. This includes: the other species of yellowjackets on the west coast mentioned above, which are exclusively live prey feeders, bald faced hornets (which are really yellowjackets), paperwasps, bumblebees, and honeybees.

Western Yellowjackets on chicken - a good choice in this situation
Western yellowjackets on chicken–a good choice in this situation

What’s the best bait for these yellowjackets?

The bait choice is both species and location specific. Yellowjacket populations that are near streams, rivers and lakes can quite often be baited with fish such as salmon, while yellowjacket populations away from water (in forests, scrub oak woodlands, etc.) may prefer chicken, venison or another protein from a land animal. An easy way to determine what’s the best choice for an area is to set out a variety of choices and use the matrix that attracts the most workers. Raw chicken seems to be a good all around choice for most areas.

What’s the best bait for this time of the season?

The food preference of yellowjacket nests changes as the season progresses. Even the “meat bee” species prefer live prey early in the summer. When the nest begins to expand rapidly–in July or August, their preference switches to larger protein sources (carrion in the wild, chicken, fish or other  meats around human habitation) and then as summer comes to a close, the worker yellowjackets switch their preference to carbohydrates like soda pop, overripe fruit etc. As mentioned above, give them a variety of choices to determine what works best for your population.

You’ll have the best success baiting yellowjackets earlier in the season when they prefer protein. Individual workers will be killed later in the season, when they prefer carbohydrates, but getting control of the entire population is much more difficult.

Remember to follow the label when mixing the bait! Adding too much insecticide to the bait matrix may cause repellency. Then the baiting program won’t work even if it is a species that can be baited.  Follow the instructions provided with the Alpine Yellowjacket Bait Stations.

Click here to order bait stations or call us at 541-389-4942.