As bulldoggers, many of us enjoy incorporating a bit of color to the surroundings of our cherished canine family members, from feed and water dishes, to toys, bedding and every-thing else in between. We artistically execute our creativity with all the elegance we would for our own homes. But do we take into consideration the colors we select?

Among of the most cheerful of colors, are the shades of red, yellow and orange, which essentially covers a countless variety of hues, but just as these colors are beauti-ful, they can also be hazardous, especially when bowls are filled with water and meaty dog food. Now you ask, how can these attractive, warm colors that accent your decor be unsafe?

Here in the Great Northwest, we have had mild winters, which haven’t killed off the colonies of Yellow Jackets and Hornets. As these colonies survive, they become big-ger with each new year and this year, have reached near epidemic proportions. This problem is so bad, it even made the news. We have had to rush four of our bulldogs and three cats to the veterinarian due to Yellow Jacket attacks.

Our Lumb’rjak Joe had snapped at a Yellow Jacket that got into our house and was stung in the back of his throat. The severe swelling had closed off his airway. When he stopped breathing on the way to the animal clinic, I had to put my fingers down this throat to keep the airway open and at the same time concentrate on driving, breaking my own “land speed record”. By the time we arrived at the clinic, the Diphenhydramine, 50 mg that was shoved down his throat within seconds of the sting, started to work. We might have lost him.

The following day, I contacted our county extension service to learn how to combat this plague of Yellow Jackets. Aside from de-stroying as many hives as I could find, in the ground and in trees or roof rafters, I learned some interesting facts.

  • Yellow Jackets/Hornets are meat eaters…
  • They’re attracted to warm colors, especially yellow and shades of orange or red, also to anything shinny (stain-less steal bowls, etc..
  • If you swat at them, they secrete a sweet scent of fear that brings even more Yellow Jackets/Hornets to their aid and becoming more aggressive.
  • They’re attracted to water sources.
  • They prefer sunny locations, but not exclusively.
  • They’re best defense is a strong offense. In other words, they’re a tenacious villain with ATTITUDE!
  • They only come out during the day, when our dog’s want out-side to play.
  • They’re exceptionally attracted to the discharge of a bitch in heat, as well as fecal dropping and urine.

Although, there may not be a complete solution to this problem, here are some helpful hints to make things bearable. In a sunny location, away from house or kennel, place water in Yellow plastic or shinny stainless steal bowl. Next to the water, place a Clear wasp trap, with Yellow accents. Pour diluted fruit juice in bottom of trap.
Bait trap with tuna or canned cat food.


Workers from hives, be they bees, wasps or yellow jackets are female and all are attracted to sweet fruity scents. Sweet scents also travel farther in the breeze than would meaty scents. Any fruit juice can be used, however, apple juice works best. Once the wasp has located the sweet scent and or water source, then they start to hunt for meat, that’s where the tuna or canned cat food comes in. The wasp will enter the trap, pick up a load of meat and attempt to fly straight up. This is why the trap must be made of clear glass or plastic. Not being able to get out of the trap, it will eventually tire and drown in the fruit juice. The panic scent secreted will in turn attract more wasps, therefore, trapping them too.

When cleaning out these traps, use caution. Not all the wasp may be dead, and even those that are, will still be dangerous. The venom from a dead wasp is just as harmful as that from a living one. Lower the entire (still closed) trap into a pail of hot water for about 20 minutes. This will insure all trapped wasps have drowned. Then empty entire contents into a deep hole and bury it (we empty the traps Wash out the emptied trap, rebait it and start all over again.

Using several traps and keeping them several yards away from our house and kennel, we have less of a problem. This also helps to keep from using hazardous chemicals and poisons that would prove harmful to our grand children and animals. When we do locate another hive, we destroy it immediately. If the hive is in ground, we soak it with gasoline (combined with water, to avoid an explosion) then start it on fire, with a fire extinguisher handy at all times. If the hive is in a tree, we cover it with a heavy duty plastic leaf bag, and transport it to our burn barrel. We have found hives in trees that were nearly 26 inches in diameter.

There are also forms of wasp bait on the market, that get carried back to the main hive, eaten, killing off the hive. However, my experience has not been positive with some of these products, as they also attract cats, raccoons and other animals, proving to be hazardous to their health, or deadly. .

Granted, wasps do have a purpose in nature by keeping harmful insect populations down, especially mosqui-toes, but there’s a point when they’re a bigger nuisance than the mosquitoes. That’s when we need to go the extra ten miles to take action in keeping them away from our living areas. For more information, contact your local county extension office.