As the weather gets warmer, mosquitos come out in full force. These pesky insects can turn a beautiful summer evening into a nightmare. Store-bought mosquito traps can be expensive, and some of them can be harmful to the environment. Fortunately, there are several DIY mosquito traps that are effective and easy to make.
Mosquitoes are one of the most common flying insects worldwide. And while not all mosquitos bite animals or humans, the most common reactions can be swelling or itching.
Among the mosquito population are over 3500 types of mosquitos worldwide; some are vectors, meaning they spread pathogens to people and animals. And the ones that do bite but don’t spread diseases are known as nuisance mosquitoes.
These flying insects can be annoying, especially if you want to enjoy an outdoor evening. If you don’t want to use mosquito repellent, don’t worry, you don’t have to spend time chasing them. You can create a DIY mosquito trap with everyday household items, which is an excellent idea since home remedies are safer and less toxic.
Whether you try a sweet water trap, a fan trap, or a bucket trap, you’ll catch pesky mosquitoes and keep them away from you and your guests. All of these traps are easy and quick to make.
How Do DIY Mosquito Traps Work?
Before we dive into the best DIY mosquito traps, it’s important to understand how they work. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide that humans and animals exhale. They are also attracted to certain scents and colors.
Homemade mosquito traps work by luring these flying insects towards them with an attractive scent or color. Once the mosquito gets close to the trap, it becomes trapped inside and cannot escape. It’s that simple!
Remember that mosquitoes are attracted to water, human scent, sweets, and warmth, which are key elements of any mosquito trap. And so the basic principle of any trap is to incorporate one or more elements resembling a mosquito’s food and reproduction source. For example, light bulbs emit heat and attract female mosquitoes’ attention.
These flying insects also search for bare human skin areas, using heat receptors to get as close to the food as possible. However, they are often deceived by sticking to warm objects.
7 Best DIY Mosquito Traps
Brown Sugar & Yeast Bottle Trap
This trap is extremely easy to create and functions by taking advantage of the mosquitoes’ attraction to carbon dioxide. This trap requires an empty plastic bottle, half a cup of brown sugar, yeast, and a cup of hot water.
To create this mixture, mix the sugar and the water until it dissolves, then pour the mixture into the plastic bottle. And to initiate the carbon dioxide release reaction add the yeast.
Remove the cap from the bottleneck and turn the top of the bottle upside down. Connect both parts to form a funnel and place/hang it in an isolated area or corner.
Dish Soap and Light Trap
This homemade mosquito trap is one of the easiest ones to make at home. As previously mentioned, mosquitoes love light and moisture. And this trap assumes that mosquitoes will be attracted to it.
To create this effective trap, you’ll need a small container or dish and a cup of water mixed with soap to create bubbles. This dish soap and light trap can be used indoors or outdoors.
Mosquitoes will be attracted by the soap bubbles and won’t be able to fly away, so they’ll drown. You can use an additional light source like a candle or a small lamp to draw even more mosquitoes to the dish solution.
A candle is more effective than a lamp because of the heat it produces. But, if you’re using a candle, do not leave the trap overnight, as it could be dangerous.
Dish soap is a great ingredient to use in mosquito traps because it reduces the surface tension of the water, making it easier for mosquitos to sink and drown. This trap is perfect for indoor use, especially in areas where mosquitos tend to congregate, such as near windows and doors.
Amish Flying Insect Trap
You can use a big plastic bottle to make this trap. This trap works because insects flock to the carbon dioxide that’s released by the baker’s yeast. However, there is also a yeast-free option.
Humans and animals breathe out carbon dioxide, which is why mosquitoes are attracted to them. You can create an alternate source of carbon dioxide by tricking dipterans.
The most popular ingredient in almost all mosquito traps is Baker’s yeast due to its effectiveness, price, and availability. But besides Baker’s yeast, you’ll need:
- Sugar baker’s yeast
- 2-liter soda bottle (or a big hardy plastic bottle)
- Warm water (no higher than 104 F as the fermentation stops)
- Black cloth (aluminum foil works too)
This trap works from 4 to 7 days. Wait for the moment until the whole thing has fermented; then, you can leave the bottle but change the bait.
Yeast-free Amish Flying Insect Trap
If you don’t have any yeast on hand, you can try this yeast-free version of the Amish Flying Insect Trap.
This trap works by giving off a scent that attracts mosquitoes. Once these insects fly in, they’ll drown. It is recommended that this trap be hung on an elevated area like a tree to get its scent into the air. To make this trap, you’ll need the following:
- 1 big plastic bottle
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup of vinegar
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 to 2 banana peels
Mix water, vinegar, and sugar, place them inside the bottom of the bottle, and shake well. Submerge the banana peels inside the mixture. Remove the cap from the bottleneck and turn the top of the bottle upside down. Connect both parts to form a funnel and hang it in an elevated area.
Vinegar and Baking Soda Trap
This is another simple DIY mosquito trap. It’s made the same way as the brown sugar and yeast trap, by cutting the top of a 2-liter soda bottle and inverting it, placing it upside down to create a funnel.
This trap also produces carbon dioxide that attracts mosquitoes. Once they touch the mixture, they will become trapped and unable to escape. To make this trap, you’ll need the following:
- 4 cups of apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup of baking soda
- One 2-liter soda bottle
Place the baking soda inside the bottle’s bottom and then add the vinegar. Place this trap in a highly activated mosquito area and allow it to sit for 20-24 hours.
This trap is perfect for outdoor use, especially in areas where mosquitos tend to congregate, such as near patios and decks.
Vinegar and Dish Soap Trap
If you don’t have any baking soda on hand, you can try this vinegar and dish soap trap. To make this trap you’ll need the following:
- A big plastic bottle
- One tablespoon of dish soap
- 3 cups of apple cider vinegar
Cut the top of the plastic bottle and invert it, placing it upside down to create a funnel. Add dish soap and vinegar and mix well. Place or hang the trap on an elevated area or in an active mosquito area.
Box Fan Trap
If you want to get rid of these flying pests and stay cool in warm temperatures, this trap is for you. This is a unique and effective DIY mosquito trap that requires a bit more effort to set up. You will need a box fan, some mesh screening, and a few other materials.
To create this easy box trap, you’ll need the following items:
- A floor fan or a box fan
- Insect screens
- Glue or zip ties
- Bucket of water
- A hole puncher (optional)
Cut holes in the insect screen to create spaces big enough for the zip ties to thread through. Attach your insect screen to the back of the fan using zip ties or glue, and ensure that the screen is pulled taut while the fan is running.
Place the fan in active mosquito areas and place a bucket of water behind the fan. Female mosquitoes regularly look out for standing water to lay eggs and get trapped as they draw nearby.
If in case you don’t have an insect screen in hand, you can use a tulle fabric or mosquito netting.
Tips for Controlling Mosquitoes at Home
Homemade mosquito traps work best if you’re trying to keep these flying insects’ population in your home low. You must combine control methods (traps) and long-term efforts for optimal mosquito control.
Remember that pest control is never a one-and-done solution. You can start with these recommendations for easy mosquito control at home.
Use an Outdoor Mosquito Light
Hanging these lights in your yard reduces mosquito populations. You can use an attract and zap style light or repellent lights. You can do your own research to see what option works best for you.
Reduce Standing Water
Female mosquitoes love using standing water to lay their eggs. If you’ve ever seen a bunch of tiny black wormy creatures in your pet’s water dish, there are likely mosquito larvae.
These flying insects prefer more shallow water sources, but even a bottle cap of water is enough to attract them, so leave no standing water.
Burn Scented Candles
The main goal of outdoors scented candles is to cover up your smell so mosquitoes won’t come near you. Many swear by citronella candles, so if you like the smell of it, burn away.
If you don’t like the smell of citronella, grab your favorite scented candle (lavender and other essential oils candles work great, too) and let the mosquitoes know they are not welcomed.
Avoid Dark Clothing Outdoors
Various studies have proven that mosquitoes are attracted to the color black when carbon dioxide is present in the air. If mosquitoes are already drawn to the air you exhale, do not give them another reason to be attracted to you.
Stick dryer sheets where you don’t want mosquitoes to land. Mosquitoes hate the smell of fabric softener, so placing them on your table when trying to enjoy a nice evening will keep them away.
Another simple and nice-smelling way to get rid of mosquitoes is to use citrus slices and cloves. Cut a lemon or lime in half and stick a bunch of cloves inside each slice. Set the prepared citrus a few feet away from the outdoor area where these insects tend to congregate.
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Melissa Pino is a biologist, master gardener, and regular contributor for Planet Natural. Melissa’s work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices, helping people create healthy gardens and finding ways to achieve overall health and wellness.