Buzz, buzz, buzz….SLAP! If that annoying sound of a buzzing mosquito – followed by a slapping noise as you try in vain to prevent the foul little creature from biting you – is a too frequent soundtrack for your outdoor activities, consider the following advice on how to trap mosquitoes.
A mosquito trap has two basic components – first, something has to attract the mosquito to the trap. Secondly, something has to keep the mosquito in the trap and prevent it from escaping.
There are two things commonly used to attract mosquitoes. The first is carbon dioxide. This is the gas we exhale when we breathe, and it’s thought to be one of the things that first attracts mosquitoes to us. In a mosquito trap, there’s usually a mechanism for producing small amounts of carbon dioxide, similar to what we exhale. For example, most manufactured mosquito traps use propane gas to generate carbon dioxide, while homemade mosquito traps sometimes use yeast to produce carbon dioxide.
It’s not just our breath that attracts mosquitoes to us – humans release other scents as well, including the smells of our breath and sweat. Octenol, also known as mushroom alcohol, is the other most frequently used attractant, as it’s said to mimic human breath and the other factors mosquitoes use to target mammals for feeding.
Once you have the mosquitoes coming to your trap, you need a way to keep them there. Most commercial mosquito traps use a vacuum to suck the mosquitoes into a net bag, where they dehydrate and die. Some traps use a sticky pad from which the mosquitoes can’t escape. Homemade mosquito traps frequently create an enclosure from which the mosquito has a hard time escaping.
If you’re considering purchasing a commercially available mosquito trap, you’ll need to make several decisions. First, determine how large an area you need to cover. Then, determine whether or not you’ll need a cordless model or whether you have access to an appropriate power supply outdoors. Next, consider its shape and function. Mosquito traps that are built on wheels are easier to relocate and store when not needed. Consider whether you want a trap that uses propane or a chemical attractant, or both. It’s also a good idea to consider the cost of replacement supplies. Finally, consider price, warranty and consumer reviews.
If you don’t want something too involved, an inexpensive commercial trap is available that uses no attractant, but rather is designed to be located in a place where mosquitoes are naturally found, such as near pets. The company provides a net on a frame that you attach to your own box fan. Because this set-up is inexpensive, you could easily use several of these traps around your home if you wanted to.
It’s also possible to make your own mosquito trap using a 2-liter soda bottle. Empty the bottle and remove the label. Cut the top off the bottle several inches down from the top where the sides are straight. Put a mixture of sugar, water and yeast in the bottom of the bottle and turn the top of the bottle upside down and insert it into the bottom of the bottle. Tape the bottle where the sides join and cover the outside of the bottle with dark paper. As the yeast begins to produce carbon dioxide, mosquitoes will be attracted to the trap. Once they’re inside, they become confused and can’t get out.
Whatever method you decide to try to trap mosquitoes, be patient, as it can take a while to make a difference in the mosquito population near your home.