Of Mosquitoes and Traps

Living in Minnesota, well, what can I say? The state insect must be the mosquito. It just must be. I spend the rest of the year trying to figure out how to avoid this pesky annoying insect.

This year though I had plans. Great plans. Wonderful plans. I was going to beat the mosquitoes this year.

Even with all the rain, the mosquito season started out very slowly but it has since picked up. Just yesterday I heard that the West Nile virus had been detected in mosquitoes in a county near ours. No human has contracted it yet — just the tested mosquitoes.

For awhile I thought I was going nuts as my husband would work outside and come in unbitten whereas I would come in all bitten up. Hmmm … a friend of mine told me they must like Spanish blood. Yeah, okay.

With high hopes, I set out with my plans in hand. I was going to make a mosquito trap this year. Yes — this trap would produce carbon dioxide so the mosquitoes would be attracted to it instead of to me. What a great plan, right?

It took just a few items to get going …

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 gram of yeast 
  • 2-liter plastic bottle
  • Duct tape
  • Wire
  • Hole Puncher
Mosquito Trap Items Needed
Mosquito Trap Items Needed

(Not shown above is the duct tape, wire (for hanging) and a hole puncher.) Simple enough, eh?

First, I boiled 1 cup of water, added 1/4 cup of brown sugar to it, stirred it up and set this aside to cool.

Second, I rinsed the 2 liter plastic bottle then I cut 1/3 off of the top. The 1/3 is important so that when it’s inverted the top doesn’t touch the liquid on the bottom.

Cut 2 Liter Plastic Bottle
Cut 2 Liter Plastic Bottle

I then used the paper puncher to cut two holes on each side of the top portion of the bottle then used wire to make a hangar for it.

Punch Hole, Make Hanger
Punch Hole, Make Hanger

After the boiling water had cooled, I added 1 gram of yeast (almost 1/4 teaspoon) to the cooled water.

I then poured the water mixture into the bottom portion of the plastic bottle.

Yeast Mixture
Yeast Mixture

I then took the top of the plastic bottle and placed it inside of the bottom (so that the spout is pointing down).  Then I carefully took duct tape and taped the bottom and top together.

Duct tape top to bottom
Duct tape top to bottom

Eh? We’re getting along quite fine here. My excitement was building. If this works then I’ll have them hanging all over my property.

The internet instructions said I should place them away from our “normal gathering area.” Huh. I’m not much for outside gathering on our wooded lot so I placed one on the ground near the front door (where I’ve seen mosquitoes) and one on the back yard fence.

Within a couple days, both of them had fallen due to the wind. Drats!

So I started over again. This time I was more intelligent! I knew it and I could feel it! I placed one on a table on the deck and another one on a tree limb.

Mosquito Trap
Mosquito Trap
Hanging Mosquito Trap
Hanging Mosquito Trap

I just knew I was going to be the new girl scout of the neighborhood. So, now I waited for the mosquitoes to come.

And I waited. And waited. And waited.

I went outside and worked without adding mosquito repellant and I got bit. And I got bit again. I went to check my mosquito traps and nary a mosquito had visited my traps. Hmmm … the people I spoke with said the formula should produce carbon dioxide and I knew the yeast had fermented.

Okay — I waited a couple more days. What’s this? No … just a few other bugs and a spider who came to inspect. No mosquitoes. The trap does not work.

Out for a walk one day, I spoke with a neighbor about my traps. He suggested something different, something that he used that really did work.

With my hopes dashed because of this experiment, I was determined to try something else. And this time, I felt sure it would work. The product is called Thermacell.  The “set” comes with a butane cartridge and repellant saturated “mats.” The cartridge heats up and and is directed to a metal grill that the mat sits under.  The smell repels mosquitoes. I bought myself a carrier for this and simply hook it to the back of my pants. More importantly ~ it works.

The butane cartridge lasts approximately 3-4 hours and the repellant mat lasts around the same amount of time but I change it out sooner so that the smell stays strong. Using this, I don’t have to spray myself with Deet unless I’m walking out in the woods where there might be ticks as Thermacell doesn’t work on ticks ~ only mosquitoes.

Try it ~ Thermacell works for me and I’m glad my neighbor told me about it.

Related Articles:

How To Mask Your Mosquito Smell

The Bat House

The Kite Mosquito Patch




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9 thoughts on “Of Mosquitoes and Traps”

    1. I used both green and clear bottles so I figured the green would be dark enough. From the reviews though, it doesn’t sound like anyone else is having success using any kind of bottle. Thanks for your input!

  1. Hi, I did the same things you did and got the same results.

    I checked the originating instructions:


    and I believe we might skipped a couple of steps ie

    01 using a thermometer to set the sugar water temperature to 40 centigrade before introducing the yeast. I also believe boiling the sugar water first would kill other organisms and give the yeast a head start.

    02 Keeping the bottle wrapped in black paper. Apparently the yeast likes
    to work in the dark.

  2. I have made 2 bottle traps like this and with every rain/thunderstorm, the bottle got filled with water over the top. I also seen no mosquitoes in the bottle at all. After 1 day, the yeast smell was gone. I was very disappointed.

    1. I wrote the post about Mosquitoes and Traps to show that the process did not work. It was never intended for people to try it but to alert them to the fact that it doesn’t work.

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