It is no surprise around here, everyone is talking about it, it is a bad bee year. Even in May we noticed a larger than average amount of bees especially wasps and hornets, and the weather had not yet turned savagely hot or dry at that stage yet. Now with the blackberries, plums, apples and pears all ripening and full of sweet juice, the bees are becoming downright dangerous.
I have tried several different brands of traps in an attempt to keep the brutal buggers away from the house and garden. Traps with scent packs, traps filled with Gatorade (bees are more attracted to blue flavors and do not like the red flavor at all). I had 2-liter bottles with the top cut off and re-attached upside down (to make a downward funnel) with syrup inside as homemade traps. And yet there are still multitudes of bees hanging around the fences, building nests in crevices, and stinging at every opportunity.
While at one of my forest tour adventures, I heard of a simple trap that guaranteed to collect 100’s of bees. It works best during hot weather and only a few ‘ingredients.’
- A 5 gallon bucket filled half full with water with a couple of drops of dish detergent in the water.
- A stick that goes across the top of the bucket.
- Some meat or chicken bones tied to the stick with string and hanging just above the water level.
That’s all there is too it. Bees should swarm the meat, fall or try to drink the water and with the drops of detergent breaking the surface tension of the water, they fall to their watery demise.
I wanted to try it out but had no buckets because they are all filled with apples for the cows so I tried out the easy bee trap with my own version.
Instead of meat for bait, I used a potato cut in half with the flat side down as an anchor on the bottom of the tub and stuck a tootsie roll sucker on into the potato to hold the tasty candy just above the water.
I added a cut pear, a rotten pear and a half eaten pear for good measure. One of the dogs ran off with the sucker, but the pears still attracted many bees. Within a few hours I had the surface of the water littered with bee carcasses.
Each day I skim off the all the dead bees and add water if needed. This contraption seems to be much more effective than any other trap I have tried.