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How to Trap Bumble Bees

Updated April 17, 2017

Bumblebees serve an important role in nature, but they can also be bothersome pests that are dangerous for people and animals. If you want to catch bumblebees without harming them, you can create a trap using supplies available around the house. Bumblebees are drawn to sweet, sugary substances. A typical trap drowns the insects or coats their wings so they are unable to fly, but the following adaptation simply catches the bumblebees harmlessly.

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  1. Cut the mouth off an empty 2-liter bottle using scissors and starting a couple of inches from the top of the bottle. These directions can also be adapted for a bigger or smaller bottle.

  2. Mix together sugar and water in a small bowl using a spoon. Use a ratio of about one part sugar to one part water, and mix thoroughly. You can also use cola or some honey mixed with water --- just about any sweet liquid will do.

  3. Immerse a cotton ball in the mixture, then put it in the bottom half of the bottle. Proceed to soak four or five more cotton balls, and put them all in the bottle, except for the last one.

  4. Dab the final cotton ball over the inside of the top of the bottle (the funnel-like side). Drop the final cotton ball in the bottle. This will lure in the bumblebees, and the soaked cotton balls will keep them from drowning in the substance.

  5. Put the top section of the bottle upside-down into the bottom section, with the funnel pointing down into the bottom of the bottle. You might want to secure the place where the edges meet with strips of tape.

  6. Sit the bottle contraption outside, near where you've seen bumblebees you'd like to catch. They will be drawn in but will have difficulty getting out.

  7. Carry the bottle far from your home. When you want to get rid of the bees, the best way to do so might be to carry them --- first covering the bottle opening with a flat covering, like a lid or plate, to keep them from getting out --- far from your home. Carefully remove the inverted part of the bottle, and step back quickly as the bees fly away. If you'd like to reuse the trap, avoid shaking them out --- which will upset the bees --- and instead wait a while before retrieving the trap.

  8. Warning

    As needed, wear protective gear when releasing the bumblebees.

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Things You'll Need

  • 2-liter bottle
  • Scissors
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Cotton balls
  • Tape
  • Plate

About the Author

Brittany Kress has been a features reporter based in Columbus, Ohio, since 2007. She has been published in "Columbus Alive" weekly newspaper and "Capital Style" magazine and began writing for Demand Studios in 2009. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Ohio University's E. W. Scripps School of Journalism.

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