DIY Homemade Mosquito Trap: Does it Work? 4

Thanks to unusual weather patterns across the nation, mosquitoes are attacking Americans in swarms—literally. Here in Alaska, I can’t open my door without 30+ little blood suckers sneaking in to bite me in my sleep. As a result, mosquito control efforts are a hot topic, and one image in particular has gone viral: a DIY mosquito trap.

In the photo (seen below) a few simple household items are used to create a two-liter bottle trap that is so coated in dead bugs it appears black. When considering in most instructions these little DIY homemade mosquito traps only require yeast, water, sugar (often brown), and a two-liter bottle, these crafty contraptions seem brilliant. Being that mosquito trap machines such as the Mosquito Magnet cost hundreds of dollars, my first question as was, “does it work?” I’m not the only one either, but when I attempted to find out all I found was others asking and no one answering, so I’ll answer.

diy homemade mosquito trap

DIY homemade Mosquito Trap instructions: (quoted via the viral mosquito trap’s photo description)


Items needed:

1 cup of water
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 gram of yeast
1 2-liter bottle


1. Cut the plastic bottle in half.

2. Mix the brown sugar with hot water. Let it cool. When cold, pour mixture into the bottom half of the bottle.

3. Add the yeast. No need to mix. It creates carbon dioxide, which attracts mosquitoes.

4. Place the funnel part, upside down, into the other half of the bottle, taping them together if desired.

5. Wrap the bottle with something black, leaving the top uncovered, and place it outside in an area away from your normal gathering area. (Mosquitoes are also drawn to the color black.)

Change the solution every 2 weeks for continuous control.”

On my traps, I upped the ante by using black cloth rather than paper. Before applying it, I rubbed it on my skin for my ultra-attractive body oil application and then sprayed it with flowery perfume. I made three traps and placed them in three well-skeetered locations. There were so many even if the bottles didn’t attract them, they’d fly in from sheer numbers. One bottle had brown sugar, one white, and one vinegar and baking soda as this was an alternate recipe found on a few photos.

Did the DIY Homemade mosquito trap work?

It didn’t not work, but the photo showing hundreds of dead skeeters must have been from months of use as my bottles caught about ten mosquitoes give or take every 24 hours which isn’t even a tiny dent in our yards infestation. Worse, they attracted ants. The baking soda/vinegar bottle only caught one mosquito. Brown sugar was the most effective bottle.

Verdict? Waste of yeast, this viral DIY homemade mosquito trap photo is false hope-and advertising.

I did find some other ways to get rid of mosquitoes though, and shared them here.


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4 thoughts on “DIY Homemade Mosquito Trap: Does it Work?

  • George Kahl

    I think I found the answer. I think the Flowtron (the ½ acre, NOT the 1 or 1.5 acre, because those for larger areas use brighter lights that don’t attract well [per an Amazon reviewer], and may even drive mosquitoes off) does a great job of killing mosquitoes as long as it effectively draws in enough mosquitoes. Many people swear it does draw entire local mosquito populations, while others complain it does no such thing. But no question that CO2 draws mosquitoes and all flying/biting insects…IF you can produce enough. Suggestions are everywhere, but most are not practical from my viewpoint:
    • “Use dry ice”. Expensive. You also have to keep going to get it regularly—totally impractical.
    • “Pour vinegar into baking soda”. Works great…for minutes. The problem, you need it continuously.
    • “Use a 2 liter bottle [to grow yeast]”. This is the spark of the idea. The problem is that this is like using a glass of water for your bathtub when you want to take a bath. Hence I kept looking, and think I found the solution. It is from someone who wrote in an answer—here’s the link, and what I believe to be the solution:

    Source: :

    Vinegar and baking soda will produce carbon dioxide very quickly; the reaction will be over in a matter of minutes. And dry ice requires special handling and going back and forth to the store many times to procure fresh ice.

    A better way to continuously produce 1 to 3 humans’ worth of carbon dioxide over a period of about 3 to 4 days is via (yeast) fermentation.

    You will need a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. Drill a hole in the lid of the bucket and connect a length of hose long enough to reach from the bucket lid to an area adjacent to the zapper; most standard garden hoses are 5/8-inch in diameter; you will want the hole to be slightly smaller than the hose so that the hose fits snugly in the hole. Don’t put the business end of hose too close to the zapper, because foam from the fermentation process might travel up and spill out of the hose (onto the zapper!). You will want to set the bucket on a piece of wood or insulation to prevent the ground from cooling it. It may be helpful to paint the outside of the bucket black to help it absorb heat from the sun. You will need 750 grams (1.65 lbs) of sugar and a pack of active yeast. Mix the sugar with 1 gallon of hot tap water. When the water has cooled to around body temperature (feels neither warm nor cool on your forearm) add the yeast and close the lid.

    My anticipated modification is to route the tube just above the Flowtron (I ordered 2 today which will arrive from Amazon this Saturday), understanding that CO2 is heavier than air, therefore will sink. So the mosquitoes (and other biting varmints) will follow the CO2 plume from below the Flowtron up…up…and hopefully will drift into it to get zapped. If not, they will weary flying around the tube and drift back down for another opportunity to get zapped.

    I also intend to use a much smaller tube than he suggested: a clear plastic tube. Why? Because a larger diameter may be more effective if it were suction, but for gas pressure coming out, the rate at which yeast would be producing it would very easily force it through. I cannot imagine the production to be strong enough to produce a blowing breeze! But even if it did, that would not be a problem. The clear plastic will also make it easy to see if the foam is rising through the top of the bucket into the tube. On the other hand, the big tube of a garden hose may attract mosquitoes right on through the hose and into the bucket, which is not what I want. Also where I live (near Myrtle Beach), I don’t think I would paint the bucket black, because that just might kill the yeast by cooking them. We don’t have cool nights during the summer to balance our hot, humid days.

    If a 5 gallon tank (1 gallon of water, and 1.65 lbs of sugar) produces like 1-3 people, it’s easy to see why the 2 liter jars would attract mosquitoes in heavily populated areas, and nevertheless be totally ineffective overall.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Wow, very cool idea. Sorry, this somehow ended up in my spam bin, the link perhaps, though I don’t know why stack exchange would be on the spam list. Let me know how it works 🙂

  • George Kahl

    I bought a Mosquito Magnet. It was very expensive for my budget, and quickly failed. I was credited it, and bought an even more expensive model–about $500-600 (if I remember correctly) in 2005. It worked well for a couple years, then failed. After a few year gap, I bought a SkeeterVac for just under $400. It lasted one season, and wouldn’t run the next year. I was expecting/hoping for decades of use for my expensive investments! Even if they were free to buy, they are very expensive to run, replacing LP gas every 2-3 weeks (plus attractants)! I couldn’t afford to keep doing this, so I basically vacated my very large beautiful yard for several years.

    I’m hoping I’ve found a solution. I found the Flowtron BK-15D on Amazon and Home Depot. A reviewer said this 1/2 acre device worked very well, especially when next to his Mosquito Magnet (caught more than the Mosquito Magnet, but worked much better in his opinion because the Mosquito Magnet attracted mosquitoes close by). With that in mind, I’ve been looking for a good carbon-dioxide attractant. It seems as if the yeast trap concept (perhaps modified) might work by placing it in/under/by/etc. the device. I don’t know, because I haven’t bought it nor tried the yeast trap yet, but I’m hoping…

    All I know is that I REALLY hate mosquitoes and other biting insects, and want to get my yard back, but can’t afford to by a new Mosquito Magnet/SkeeterVac-type equipment every year! I don’t even want to invest in the propane to fuel the things, either. I’m just hoping the solution I mentioned might work.

    I have come across the “dunks” as I’ve researched this out, but it’s a stretch. We have a 3.7 acre yard with no pond, but our neighbors to the left, to the right, across the street, and the neighbors beyond in each direction have ponds. Even if I could drop dunks in the ponds, how many would it take? It works great for a barrel, but how about an acre pond? The pond across the street is considerably larger. Unfortunately, as I understand it, you can’t merely seed it once, but have to do it again regularly. What if the problem is my own yard? I live near Myrtle Beach, where the water line appears to be inches below the surface of the ground here. So while I have no man-made objects holding water (that I’m aware of), the ground is saturated daily with dew. It seems mosquitoes are able to breed in the damp soil in the rear of our property, which isn’t always wet, but is sometimes.

    In essence, it seems you are most favorable to something I’ve ruled out, because they are disgustingly unreliable, although marvelously effective when they work. You suggest the yeast-trap solution in ineffective, which is discouraging, but not completely so, because I intend to use it only as an attractant, not as THE solution.

    Hopefully I am right, and if I am, perhaps that will also be useful to you, as well. I wish you the best in fighting your bird-sized mosquitoes. We’ve got the horrible daytime-biting Tiger mosquitoes as well as additional night-time biting varieties here…so I really hope my research and ideas work for us!

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      On the grass note, keeping it cut back helps a lot (I live in Alaska, where the mosquito is basically our state bird). Firewising the property (cutting back trees to form a big open ring around the house) too as they like to hang back in the shade during the day. Encouraging birds/bats to nest near by is also a great way to cut down. I found keeping finch food out all year keeps them nesting near the house and makes an impressive difference in the bugs.

      Dunks need to be redone every 30 days and each one is good for about 100 sq ft, so it would really depend on your pond size, and yeah, you’d have to keep redoing it unfortunately.

      I used my mosquito magnet for about 3 years before it went kaput on me, it ran but stopped releasing the CO2, so may have even just needed a proper take-apart clean. I moved and the bugs are low enough where I am now it wasn’t worth the investment/time to me to fix/replace it.

      If you’re looking just to lure them to a different trap, there are carbon dioxide generators aplenty online (they are used for greenhouses and fish tanks for example), though I’m really not sure how well they work in an outdoor enviroment and some can be pretty expensive. The problem you’re going to have with just a coke bottle with some yeast is 1, it’s not going to put out a lot of CO2 or have much of a range, 2 you’re going to have to refill it a lot. It might attract a few more than you’d have without it though.