How to Make a Homemade Mosquito Trap
Get Rid of Pesky Mosquitoes With a Homemade Trap!
The shady woods and wetlands surrounding our property are the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes. As the summer sun begins to set, hordes of the hungry pests turn an enjoyable evening on the deck or sitting around the fire pit into a slaphappy session of trying to swat the bloodthirsty bugs. To combat the aerial insect attacks, we light the citronella candles and spray on some insect repellent to lessen their impact.
Mosquitoes find their victims by following carbon dioxide trails, which we produce as we exhale our breath. Many commercial traps attract bugs by burning propane to produce carbon dioxide. While carbon dioxide leads mosquitoes to you as a target, heat is likely the way they figure out where to bite you. Mosquitoes like choosing an area of the body where the blood is close to the surface. This would include areas like the forehead, wrists, elbows, and neck.
How Does This Homemade Trap Work?
A simple trap is made from a plastic bottle. The yeast and sugar bait are placed inside the bottle to create a carbon dioxide plume that lures the bugs into the trap. Hungry mosquitoes follow the trail into the bottle and down through the funnel. When they realize there's no food to be found, they fly along the surface of the brown sugar mixture until they reach the sides of the bottle. The bugs then fly up the side of the bottle but their escape is blocked by the inverted funnel (the reason for sealing the edges with duct tape). The little biters are trapped!
The mosquitoes then tire and fall into the liquid to drown. Sure, some lucky mosquitoes may find their way back up through the narrow entrance of the funnel to freedom (and to bite again another day), but the majority of bugs that enter the trap will perish there.
Will this simple trap clear your yard of mosquitoes? Nope, but they are cheap and easy to make. The bait is organic and safe for kids and pets. I was intrigued and decided to make a few to place strategically around the yard.
What You'll Need
- Empty 2-liter soda bottle or similar-sized container
- X-acto blade or razor knife
- Duct tape
- Black construction paper/spray paint
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 package dry active yeast
1. Cut the Plastic Bottle
Use a blade to slice off the top section of the bottle just below the area where the neck of the bottle flares out to meet the main section of the bottle. Be careful, as the knife is very sharp and can easily cut through the plastic and into a finger. Use caution and common sense while cutting off the top of the bottle.
2. Assemble the Trap
After cutting off the top of the bottle, you now have the two pieces that can be rearranged to make the trap: the bottom cylinder and the bottleneck.
When inverted and with the cap removed, the neck section resembles a funnel. Remove the cap and insert the "funnel" into the body of the bottle.
- Don't push the funnel all the way down to the bottom of the bottle. Leave enough space between the bottleneck and bottom to add a cup or so of liquid along with an air space between the surface of the liquid and the lowest point of the funnel.
3. Seal the Escape Route
Use duct tape to secure the funnel. The duct tape not only holds the funnel in place, but it also seals the edges of the funnel against the edges of the bottle. This makes it harder for any bugs that enter the mosquito trap to escape.
- Tip: Wrap a piece of black construction paper around the base of the mosquito trap. If you don't have the paper on hand, use black spray paint to cover the outside of the trap. The dark covering blocks out the sunlight, which keeps the trap cooler and helps extend the active life of the yeast and sugar bait.
4. Make the Mosquito Bait
- Add 1/4 cup of brown sugar to 1 cup of boiling water. Mix thoroughly until the sugar is dissolved completely.
- Allow the mixture to cool until you can comfortably stick your finger into the mixture. Ideally, the temperature of the sugar water should be between 120-130°F. If it's too hot, the high temperature will kill the yeast. If it's too cool, the yeast will not fully activate.
- When the sugar mixture reaches the correct temperature, gently mix in the yeast. Pour the mixture into the bottle (the inverted funnel makes this easy), and the mosquito trap is ready to go.
5. Set Out the Mosquito Trap
Place the homemade mosquito trap in a shady area of your yard. Since the goal of the trap is to entice mosquitoes, do not place the bottle too close to your sitting and deck areas. Instead, place the traps around the outer perimeter of your sitting area. As evening approaches, the mosquitoes will come out in search of their victims. Some of the bugs will find the carbon dioxide trail drifting up from the yeast mixture and follow it to their doom. The mosquitoes will fly down through the bottle top into the sugar solution and drown. Remember to change the solution in the bottle every two weeks.
If you're spending the evening outside and want to have some extra protection, I recommend using a chemical mosquito repellent. For adults, it should contain 30-50% DEET. For children over three months old, the repellent should have a concentration of no more than 10-30%. If you are putting on sunscreen, make sure to apply it before the mosquito repellent, as sunscreens block the effects of chemicals.
Will This Homemade Mosquito Trap Eliminate All of the Bugs in My Yard?
This trap will not capture and kill all of the mosquitoes in your yard nor eliminate the risk of being bitten. However, they are cheap and easy to make, which I think makes them worth a try. For the best results, try combining the mosquito traps with several other methods of mosquito control.
Mosquito traps offer several benefits over other bug-killing methods:
- The trap is easy to make from inexpensive materials and ingredients. No special tools are needed.
- You also don't need any special equipment to make the trap work in the yard. That means you don't need electricity, extension cords, or timers that other traps might require.
- It does not require expensive propane to operate.
- The trap works 24 hours a day.
- No maintenance is required. No fans or other moving parts that can break down are involved.
- The mosquito bait is completely organic and can be used safely around pets and children.
What About the Mosquito Population?
Mosquitoes that hunt at night start looking for places to sleep as soon as daylight comes. The population builds steadily during morning hours and remains static until the middle of the afternoon.
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Inside the House
- If you live in an area with many mosquitoes, you should use mosquito netting to protect infants less than two months old.
- Wear clothing from head to toe if possible, as limiting skin exposure will lower the chances of mosquito bites.
- Avoid wearing black or other dark colors, especially in warm weather, as they keep your body warm. Mosquitoes are attracted to warm bodies, and that's not a recipe for bite-free success.
- Avoid wearing perfumes, as mosquitoes are attracted to the scent mixed with our body sweat.
- Use weather-stripping products to seal any door gaps. Protecting your home entry is an important step to reduce the access mosquitoes have inside.
- Eat more garlic. If you consume a lot of it, your sweat will smell like garlic. The smell deters mosquitoes and keeps them away naturally.
- Try using silicone caulk or screen patches to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house. Make sure that no screens have holes or tears. Turn on fans because they can break up carbon dioxide and throw mosquitoes off course.
- Natural repellents claim to work as well as man-made compounds. A few of them are citronella oil, cinnamon oil, castor oil, peppermint oil, and lemongrass oil. Combine an essential oil with a base of carrier oil or alcohol like olive oil, sunflower oil, witch hazel or vodka. Be careful not to overdose on the essential oils, as this can cause potential skin irritation. Make sure the alcohol base you use is safe to apply to the skin.
How to Reduce Itching and Redness From Mosquito Bites
The longer a bite goes untreated, the more likely it is to cause damage and itching. You can do several different things to reduce the itchiness and redness that the bites create.
How to Reduce Itching From Mosquito Bites
Use alcohol to treat the affected area right away. Rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or using an alcohol wipe are both effective ways to address the area quickly. Refrain from scratching the area, as it can cause redness to show up sooner and will make the area itchier.
- Baking Soda: If you want natural solutions to reduce itching, you can find most of the supplies in your home. Baking soda is one of the most effective solutions. Mix it with warm water to create a paste. Use a cotton swab to apply the paste to the area. Leave the paste on the skin for a few minutes before washing it off.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Soak a cotton ball in the apple cider vinegar until it becomes saturated. Grab tape or a band-aid to secure the cotton ball to the skin that is affected by the bite. Keep the cotton ball in place as the pain subsides.
How to Reduce Redness From Mosquito Bites
- Aloe vera is a great topical treatment for many injuries and issues and is perfect to address the heat that comes with bug bites. Apply a bit of aloe to the area to feel relief.
- Honey is another great way to eliminate the swelling. Simply apply it to the area and rub it into the skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a product you should reach for soon after getting bit.
Mosquito Facts: Did You Know?
- There are over 3,500 species of mosquitoes. Mosquito is a Spanish word meaning "little fly."
- Only female mosquitoes feed on blood. They need it to help the eggs develop.
- A female mosquito can lay up to 300 eggs at a time, and she usually deposits them on the surface of stagnant water.
- Mosquito eggs need water to hatch. The tiny embryo wrigglers live in water for about 10 days before pupating into mosquitoes.
- Adult mosquitoes live for up to two months.
- Diseases carried by mosquitoes include West Nile virus, malaria, and encephalitis.
- Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, body heat, sweat, and dark clothing.
- DEET is an effective mosquito repellent. Picaridin and lemon-eucalyptus oil are also recommended by the Centers for Disease Control as mosquito repellents.
- No single method is 100% effective for controlling mosquitoes.
How to Make a Homemade Mosquito Trap
Use Multiple Methods of Mosquito Control!
To increase the effectiveness of controlling mosquitoes in your yard, use multiple methods of control including repellents and insect zappers.
How Do You Combat Mosquitoes?
How Do You Combat Mosquitoes?
Questions & Answers
How often do I need to replace the yeast mixture in this mosquito trap?
I've heard that the yeast can live for up to two weeks, as long as there is an adequate food supply.
© 2013 Anthony Altorenna