I'm of two minds when it comes to yellow jackets. In early summer, when they're devouring the cabbage worms on my broccoli and kale, I adore them. But in late summer, when they start swarming anywhere food is present, they rate as one of the biggest pests in my garden. There is a simple way to combat them, and this method works whether you are trying to barbecue in your own yard or are having a picnic at a beach or park.

What You'll Need:

- An empty 2-liter soda bottle

- Scissors or a utility knife (though a steak knife will do in a pinch)

- Staples or duct tape

- Wire or string

- A hole punch (though, again, the holes can be made with a knife if you don't have a hole punch on hand)

- Fruit juice, soda, or apple cider vinegar

How to Make a Yellow Jacket Trap

1. Cut the very top off of a 2-liter soda bottle. You want to cut it right where the sloping top meets the straight sides of the bottle.

2. Invert the top of the bottle inside the bottom of the bottle, and staple or tape it together.

3. Punch or cut two holes on opposite sides of the bottle, near the top.

4. Tie string or wire onto the bottle. This makes it so you can hang your trap from a tree or hook. If you're in a tree-less area, don't worry about this step - just set the trap on the ground.

5. Add an inch or so of soda, juice, or cider vinegar to the bottom of the bottle. Be sure to splash some onto the inner funnel to lure the yellow jackets in.

Placing the Trap

You want to hang or set the trap about twenty feet away from where you plan to eat. This way, the yellow jackets will be lured away by the contents of the trap, and they'll crawl down into the bottle. Once they go in, they can't find their way back out. And your picnic or barbecue will be left in peace!

Once the trap is full (or your picnic is over) be sure the yellow jackets are dead by filling the bottle with soapy water and letting it sit a while to drown any that are still alive. After that, you can remove the top, dump the water and yellow jackets into the trash or compost pile, and recycle the bottle.

This is a simple trick that really works. I hope it helps with your next back yard party or picnic.