Build a Homemade Mosquito Trap

By: Gene Rodriguez, III

Mosquitoes are more than just annoying pests in your yard or garden. Mosquitoes carry many diseases including West Nile, encephalitis and malaria.

There are many commercial products to rid your landscape of these dangerous insects. Most of these products are quite expensive, however. A homemade mosquito trap is a simple, cost effective way to protect your yard and family from unsafe mosquitoes.

How it Works
Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide (CO2) that we exhale. Commercial mosquito traps work by generating CO2 and broadcasting it into the air. Mosquitoes are attracted by the gas, fly to the trap and are sucked into a net bag where they die of dehydration.

Your homemade mosquito trap will use yeast to create CO2. Yeast is an organism that eats sugar and exhales CO2. (We use this feature of yeast all the time when we bake bread.)

To build your homemade mosquito trap, you’ll need:

  • 1 plastic two-liter drink bottle, emptied and cleaned. Discard the cap.
  • A utility knife or other sharp knife
  • A roll of tape
  • Black construction paper or other heavy black paper
  • 1 packet of dry yeast
  • ¼ cup of brown sugar or molasses
  • 1-1/2 cups of warm water

Putting it Together

  • Cut the top off the two-liter bottle just below the point where the top merges into the cylinder. If you’ve done this correctly, you’ll end up with one funnel-shaped piece and the rest of the bottle.
  • In a small pot, warm the water to a simmer.
  • Add the sugar or molasses and continue to heat and stir to water until the sugar or molasses has dissolved.
  • Remove the water from the stove. As it cools, monitor the temperature with a thermometer.
  • When the temperature of the water reaches 120 to 130 degrees, pour the water into the bottom section of the bottle.
  • Add the packet of yeast to the water and stir until the yeast is dissolved.
  • Invert the top section of the bottle and place it inside the bottom section. The funnel shape should be pointing down and the cut edges of the two bottle sections should line up.
  • With tape, seal the join where the two sections of bottle meet.
  • Cover the outside of the bottom section with black construction paper.

Using The Trap
Your homemade mosquito trap will work indoors or out. If you’re placing it indoors, put it in spot where it will not be disturbed. If you put your mosquito trap outdoors, avoid placing it in direct sunlight. Too much heat will kill the yeast.

You’ll need to replace the yeast mixture about every two weeks.

The trap can be made more effective by taping an Octenol or Lurex mosquito lure to the inside of the bottom section of the bottle before sealing. Mosquito lures area available in larger hardware stores.

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