How to Get Rid of Meat Bees


Meat bees, also known as yellow jackets, are a type of wasp (genus Vespula). They can be a bigger menace than many insects because of their painful stings and aggressively territorial behavior. They are known as "meat bees" because their diet includes protein (and therefore meat) in addition to sugars. Meat bees prey on other insects as well as sometimes scavenging sugar- and protein-rich foods.

Things You'll Need

  • 2-liter soda bottle
  • Sugar water
  • Staples or tape
  • Dish soap or laundry soap
  • Insecticide
  • Thick protective clothing
  • Keep food indoors or inaccessible to meat bees to reduce their local population and minimize their presence near your home. Don't leave pet food or picnic remains outdoors. Close outdoor garbage cans tightly. Make sure hummingbird feeders or other sources of refined sugar and protein are either taken down or sealed off to wasps.

  • To construct a homemade wasp trap, cut off the top third of a 2-liter soda bottle. Re-attach it inside out (pointing down into the rest of the bottle like a funnel) with staples or tape. Fill the trap with sugar water and a small amount of soap and hang it outdoors. Non-toxic wasp traps are also available for sale. Traps are most effective when placed early in the warm months.

  • Pour boiling water or soapy water into the wasp nest to kill meat bees. Be sure to wear thick protective clothing to help avoid stings. It is best to do this in the late evening when they are relatively inactive, and if possible when the temperature is below 50 degrees, when wasps have difficulty flying.

  • If none of the above methods work, treat the nest with commercial insecticide. Dust is preferable to aerosol or liquid insecticides because it is more likely to reach the nest fully. As in step 3, wear protective clothing and wait for late evening and, if possible, cool weather.

Tips & Warnings

  • The best time of year to treat wasp nests is early in the summer before the nest and colony grow too large.
  • If you get stung and your throat or tongue start swelling, seek urgent medical care.

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  • Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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