Man creates effective yellow jacket trap

A West Richland man has proof you can catch more yellow jackets with milk and honey than with traps sold in stores.

For proof, just check his homemade milk jug traps. For the past seven years or so, George Felton has placed them in various spots around his home in West Richland.

"I'll bet you I catch about 100 yellow jackets in each jug every week, and I have nine of them I put out. This really does work," said the 82-year-old.

He said stores sell yellow jacket traps for about $10, but his method is more economical and just as effective.

He called the Herald this week to share directions about how to make his traps with the hope of reducing the Mid-Columbia population of stinging insects.

"Yellow jackets are about the worst thing we've got flying around here," he said.

Anyone who has ever been stung by one has got to agree.

The first step in making Felton's trap is to empty a gallon-size plastic milk jug.

With a sharp knife, make a three-sided cut in one side starting about 3 inches from the bottom of the jug and extending upwards about 3 inches. Next, cut across the side of the jug about 3 inches and then down, stopping even with your first cut.

Bend the flap inward and crimp it down with your fingers. That's the landing zone for the yellow jackets.

Fill the bottom of the jug with water to within a half inch or so of the opening.

"Now bait it. Smear some honey or jelly on the flap to attract the yellow jackets. You don't need much," Felton said.

"The yellow jackets will crawl in there after the honey and when they go to fly off, that's when you trap them. They always fly upwards and when they do, they'll hit the top of the jug. That breaks their flight, and they fall down into the water.

"Once they hit the water, they're trapped because they never make it out of the water," he said.

Felton, who has a doctorate in electrical engineering, said the idea for his milk jug traps just came to him one day.

"I'm a very active person when it comes to figuring out things. All my knowledge comes from experimenting.," he said. "I guarantee this will work."