Introduction: How to Make an Ovitrap Mosquito Trap

Picture of How to Make an Ovitrap Mosquito Trap

Do you have a major mosquito problem? Well, here’s a solution used by the military to drastically cut down their numbers.

Step 1: Watch the Video!!

Watch the Youtube Video!

Step 2: Getting Started

Picture of Getting Started

Grab a plastic bottle from your recycle bin. The bigger the better. This concept will work with many types of containers, but if it’s too small, the water may dry up.

Materials that I used:

  • Plastic Container
  • Sharpie
  • Small Drill Bit
  • 3/8” Paddle Bit
  • Black Spray Paint
  • 17 Gage Galvanized Wire
  • Super Glue
  • Gorilla Tape
  • One Black Sock
  • Pet Food
  • Water

Step 3: Prepare Plastic Bottle

Picture of Prepare Plastic Bottle

I used an orange juice bottle for the first one, but I think next time I will experiment with a 2-litter bottle.

I cut the top off of the bottle with a hacksaw and trimmed the rough edges with a pair of scissors.

Step 4: Drill Holes

Picture of Drill Holes

I marked 2 holes on the top with a sharpie for a hanger wire and 2 bigger holes below for water overflow.

Drill out the holes. The drill bit size for the hanger holes will depend on the size wire that you are using. I used 17 gage galvanized wire.

I drilled the water overflow holes with a 3/8 inch paddle bit, but they could probably be smaller and work just fine.

TIP: Run the drill bit backwards in plastic for an easier cut.

Step 5: Paint It Black

Picture of Paint It Black

If your container is not already black, then give it a quick paint job. I ran out of paint towards the top (old can), but the important part is to create a dark container to simulate a dark, pond type environment.

Step 6: Make the Hanger

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When the paint has dried, make the hanger. I cut a piece of wire about a foot long and fed each end through the hanger holes. I made a loop and twisted the ends of the wire tightly around itself.

Step 7: Add the Screen

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I used some scrap window screen and cut out some squares a little larger than the water overflow holes. I superglued and Gorilla taped them into place.

Step 8: Add Screen to the Top

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You’ll also need to cut some screen for the top. I cut out a circle larger than the opening in the top and pushed the screen down inside. I also Gorilla taped the sides of the screen to the bottle for extra secureness. Keep in mind that metal screen may grip the bottle better than window screen which is a metal/plastic type material.

Step 9: Cut Up a Sock

Picture of Cut Up a Sock

Find an old pair of black socks. The fuzzier the better. I cut a strip out and pushed a bit down into the water to act as a water wick. Then, wrap the rest of the sock around the rim of the bottle and tape into place.

Step 10: Add Water

Picture of Add Water

Fill the bottle with rain water. You can also add tap water and a few pieces of pet food or grass clippings to create stagnant water in just a few days.

Add water until it starts to pour out of the overflow holes.

Pour water over the sock until it is soaked. The sock needs to stay wet to attract the mosquitoes.

Step 11: Hang Your Ovitrap

Picture of Hang Your Ovitrap

Hang your completed Ovitrap in a tree in a dark, shady spot in your yard.

How it works:

* The mosquitoes will be attracted to the dark wet sock near the body of stagnant water and lay their eggs in the sock.

* Once the mosquito larvae has hatched, they will drop into the water to become adults.

* When the mosquitoes are full grown, they will be too large to fly out and will be trapped inside by the screen.

Key Points:

When designing your own Ovitrap remember to have a dark container with continuous, dark, wet material at the top with the screen being as close to the top of the water as possible.

Step 12: More DIY Videos

Picture of More DIY Videos

Watch the Youtube video!

Thanks for watching! This video was inspired by this excellent instructable:

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HowieDoodle (author)2016-05-28

Hello! I think I'm being dense here, but how are the mosquitoes getting in to lay the eggs in the first place?

chuckr44 (author)2015-11-28

Great idea. I put a goldfish in my tiny pond every spring, they eat every bug that drops in there. I never feed them and they grow to be huge.

alSteven (author)2015-10-30

Arent the holes in the wire too big for the mosquitoes?

or Am i wrong?

WhyMeLord (author)2015-08-20

Nice video but some of us can't hear the audio for technical or physical reason Is there any possibility of adding a text file/description.

I'm told there are differen lures for differen types of misqutoes.

RMP2003 (author)2015-08-12

Nice! We have a SERIOUS mosquito problem... so thanks!

delicia.ambrosino.1 (author)2015-08-09

Betta aka Japanese Fighting fish LOVE mosquito larvae. In fact, it is their main source of food in the wild. However. if used for this purpose the larvae cannot be allowed to live in tainted water of any kind. I'm mentioning this because of a comment I'd read.

I like the concept. I have a huge 50 gal. homemade rain barrel with a screen on top. No food is provided. They {skeeters} can get in, lay their eggs, but nothing can get out. All the dead eventually sink to the bottom and decay. By the way, my barrel is white. I should use a dark barrel and on extremely hot days cover it so whatever is in there can "cook" as an extra precaution.

ClaireMW (author)2015-07-31

RE: midges, in the eastern provinces of Canada, we call these nasties "little black flies". Boy, do they ever bite! The leave a little round hole in your skin that will bleed for about a full minute or two. Are we talking about the same creatures?

jig10 (author)2015-07-07

Brilliant! Thanks for sharing. I live in Scotland, where we are hounded by midges... I'm going to make one of these, as well as one with sugar/yeast added to the water. Fingers crossed : )

KumoBob (author)jig102015-07-07

Maybe you call mosquito midges in Scotland, but midge and mosquito are different. Midge look a lot like mosquitoes, but they do not bite, and are very beneficial to fish. I just wanted to be sure you were not trying to kill midge.

yebo77 (author)KumoBob2015-07-12

From what it sounds like I'm sure that the Scottish "midges" are a real pain...... but try hanging out in the Florida Everglades, I used to live near there and the mosquitoes are so huge that not only do they have hair on their legs but along with a nasty bite, their toenails can leave some serious scratch marks....... DO'OH!!!

sallydaw (author)yebo772015-07-23

Yes, I believe that the worst mosquitoes in the west are definitely with you guys in Florida :D

LoganSix (author)KumoBob2015-07-07

This probably wouldn't work for midges, they are much smaller than mosquitoes, but just as annoying (from what I remember).

fenikkusu (author)KumoBob2015-07-07

It appears not all midges are created equal!!!

Highland Midges apparently descent on human en masse and bite bite bite. The description sounds quite terrifying. Look up Highland midge

Also it appears that there are lots of different types and that there are over 4000 species of midges that bite!

By the way I'm not being a know-it-all here... before today I didn't actually know what a midge was, well I knew it was a biting flying insect but I thought it was one of those tiny gnat sort of things. This has been very eye-opening... now I know those mosquito things that have extra fuzzy antennae are the males.

KumoBob is correct though if you can find the ones that don't bite they are really important for the environment. Good luck with that ... they look like a mosquito to me...

This is what Purdue has to say:

jig10 (author)jig102015-07-07

I can assure you that the Scottish midge bites. It is the bane of our Summers and Autumns here, as anyone visiting would know.

rustyfox (author)2015-07-22

This device WILL reduce the population, but maybe not significantly enough to be noticeable. Any mosquito which deposits her eggs into this trap is not laying them where they can fly loose, and therefore has reduced the wild, at-large population. That said, unless you have dozens of these, I doubt that it will make much of a difference. In much the same way as every bucket of water you take out of an Olympic sized swimming pool has reduced the volume - but will anybody notice even 1,000 gallons missing?

I'm building one right now - but my goal is the same as another poster - to provide live food for my aquarium fish. It's so much easier than catching the odd mosquito by hand and hoping there is enough life left to attract the fish's attention. The odd wriggler (as we call the larvae in Australia) that I find in my spare aquarium water (aging before adding to the aquarium) is devoured within seconds. Thanks for the inspiration!

rustyfox (author)rustyfox2015-07-22

Slight clarification on my comment:

Any mosquito which deposits her eggs into this trap is not laying them
where they can eventually fly loose after maturing, and therefore has reduced the wild, at-large

dhed317 (author)2015-07-13

I made this but I adapted it so I could easily see the larvae and extract them when they reach a certain size. I do this for live fish food and for the shear sadistic joy of watching the little monsters get eaten. It actually made it quite a bit easier because it renders a few steps unnecessary. The end result is very different than what you have here but you were the inspiration.

bettbee (author)2015-07-13

I like the idea of the mosquito dunks to kill the larvae, thus avoiding drowning living creatures. Here's another kind of mosquito trap that people might find works better for other critters, not sure. (Is it ok to put up links to other sites with ideas on how to achieve the same things by different methods?)

Venom8 (author)2015-07-12

This isn't a bad idea, and it deserves a little credit for it's ingenuity. Unfortunately, though, the population of mosquitos (localized) depends greatly on the existing landscape. This project would probably do fairly well where there are few other breeding areas available for the critters. The best one I have found to date, for reducing (not eliminating, that's just not going to happen) are the systems, some homemade as I have one myself, where as I took a hanging plastic birdfeeder, a fan from a computer or other small fan and a small CO2 generator, a drowning pool made in the bottom of the feeder with a drop of dish soap to eliminate surface tension. Etc. You can Google these, that's where I got my idea from (not expensive). Also the inclusion of two strategically placed Male Drone generators (Arduino project) that multiplex through the various sounds of the different varieties of mosquitoes, (through a Piezo element) Next and probably the most helpful are to place fans in you immediate area to create a brisk breeze. This reduces them to an ALMOST no bite night out in yard. (30% Deet spray also if you can stand the feeling of that stuff on your skin)

gmartin23 (author)2015-07-07

Uh, I don't see how this cuts down on the mosquitos. The mosquitos trapped are not taken out of the free mosquito population, and you are in fact just hanging on to ones you helped create. And the ones that manage to fall outside the trap, well some of them hatch which actually means you INCREASED the mosquito population. It's like lighting your house on fire, putting it out rather soon, and saying you kept your house from burning down.

ringai (author)gmartin232015-07-10

The way the trap works is that mosquitoes lays their eggs on the sock. The eggs hatch and the larvae crawl to reach food in the "pond." They pass through that screen on the top to do so. Any larvae that happen to reach the ground are on the fast track to an early death. They won't live to maturity unless you've accidentally placed the trap above a stagnant puddle ;-)

The larvae that did reach the "pool" mature into adults. But they can't get through the screen, now. That's also why the overflow drain holes are screened.

Use several traps to keep mosquitoes from laying eggs where they could possibly mature. Adult mosquitoes want to lay quite a few eggs and will do that in several places. Provide them with plenty of spots to do that to quickly cut down adult population

It's a pretty cool device.

rkrishnan7 (author)gmartin232015-07-07


A proportion of the mosquito population that would otherwise lay their eggs elsewhere in other moist areas are more likely to use the trap, and their progeny will be taken out of the gene pool. No doubt some will escape, but I think there will be a net reduction in the production of new mosquitoes/per cubic meter/hour :).

gmartin23 (author)rkrishnan72015-07-07

Also keep in mind this "trap" is in competition with all the other places a mosquito might lay eggs. There is no extra alure or mosquito sexiness abouy this device to make it a "more likely" place for incubating the offspring. More mosquitos lay eggs on or near the ground anyways, and especially in the undergrowth of wooded areas. It is only because we can see larvae in standing water people generally think that is where mosquitos come from. ANY damp soil or habitat will allow larvae to survive. It is not like they have gills like tadpoles, although we see them in the same places. Go camping in a wooded area where there is no standing water. Still as many (if not more because there are no fish, frogs or bats eating the adults.

Best defense against mosquitos is building a bat house in the same area you would hang the "trap".

Lynslee (author)gmartin232015-07-08

Actually, bats don't really eat enough mosquitoes to make a substantial difference. Time magazine did a study.

gmartin23 (author)Lynslee2015-07-09

I LOVE the rabbit..... Awesome.

gmartin23 (author)Lynslee2015-07-09

Maybe you should re-read the time article. It estimates that a single colony of North American bats eats an estimated 20,000 pounds of insects just during the summer months alone. For regions that have a longer warm season, that number goes up dramatically. I think TEN TONS of flying bugs would include a significant amount of mosquitoes! Don't you?

gmartin23 (author)gmartin232015-07-09

And this is ditectly from the article, after reading all off Time's separate articles on bats, and not as heard through the grape vine.

gmartin23 (author)gmartin232015-07-09

And a Fox News Magazine article estimates bats eat up to 600 mosquiyoes per hour each night. Compare that to how many would use the "trap" per night.

gmartin23 (author)rkrishnan72015-07-07

Your assumption is that every egg laying mosquito lays eggs in a habitable location. What this "trap does is merely create a habitat for yhe eggs' survival that the adult female may never had found. It is fact that the vast majority of egg layers never do. If they ALL found the perfect place, the air would be thick with mosquitos like fog around most of the globe. Take a million offspring of a billion egglaying adults and you get my picture. You are simply helping a mosquito breed which in all probability wouldn't have produced offspring.

Lynslee (author)gmartin232015-07-08

I agree with you gmartin23. I think this will "attract" the little buggers more to your yard before they actually get "killed" in the water?

pete.hohensee (author)gmartin232015-07-07


Chico da Rave (author)2015-07-08

Can I use tulle?
(I dont know if the name is correct... AKA mosquito net to put all over the bed)

kedwa30 (author)Chico da Rave2015-07-09

Yes, but it depends. Nylon tulle will withstand the elements fine, but silk tulle will probably rot away. I don't know abut rayon. Just keep it in a shady area out of direct sun and it should last a long time.

Chico da Rave (author)kedwa302015-07-09

Generally it is polyester or polyamide.
Thank for the answer.

AbbyL1 (author)2015-07-08

How does it trap the mosquitoes

kedwa30 (author)AbbyL12015-07-09

It doesn't. It traps the eggs. Ovi means egg. It's an egg trap. The idea is that it reduces the population of mosquitoes in the area, not by actually killing mosquitoes; rather, by foiling their reproduction. It's not likely to eliminate all mosquitoes, but it will reduce their population density.

They're low maintenance. Once you set it up, you can leave it and it will continue to work for generations of mosquitoes. Just check to make sure the sock doesn't rot away allowing mosquitoes an avenue of escape. I think a design improvement may be to thread some black yarn through the screen to make the wick in such a way that even if it riots away, the screen will still be solid.

A local flower shop usually throws away black plastic buckets that the flowers are delivered in. I got some free just for asking. I plan on making several of these traps using these buckets. I intend to put them halfway down into the mulch under bushes and out of sight.

Shaunt_S (author)2015-07-09

Wow! Some of these responses are really off the wall. But not here to start war of wits.

This is a great idea. In my humble opinion, you don't need it to be this elaborate. A bucket with a paint stirring stick in it (or similar) is enough. The most important thing is to have Bacillus thuringiensis serotype israelensis (Bti). In the US this can be found at any hardware store like Lowes/Home Depot/etc. They cell them as ring shaped floaters, in liquid form, or pellets. These bacteria are harmless to humans and pets so it is safe to use around the home. The bacteria is will destroy all mosquito larvae that is present in the water.

I think if you combine the Bti and this instructable, you have a great way to reduce the population around you.

Do a little search online and you can find out more about it.

pete.hohensee (author)2015-07-07


AbbyL1 (author)pete.hohensee2015-07-08

I am still confused on how it traps the mosquitos!

EulogioE (author)2015-07-08

I would rather suggest that you take off that upper wire mesh and the socks and make the lower wire barely touch the water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs directly on top of the water with their eggs floating for about 3 days before it hatches as a small larvae. Once it hatches, the larvae will live underwater for a couple of days and grow and feed on any substrate available before it emerges out of the water as an adult. Make sure the wire mesh is fine so that the adult larvae cannot escape. In this way the larvae will die of drowning.

smooney2 (author)EulogioE2015-07-08

Actually container breeding mosquitoes , such as Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti, lay their eggs above the water line. Once they hatch, the go thru 4 different in-stars and then a pupae stage before they emerge. They only eat up to the early 4 th in-star , and don't even have a mouth as pupae.

smooney2 (author)2015-07-07

Beware of the plural police

smooney2 (author)2015-07-07

This seems sound enough .. sort of.. 1rst not all mosquito's lay their eggs in water . flood water species and container breeding mosquito's, eggs need to dry out before they are viable. They lay their eggs above water line. 2nd larva would just stay in sock if it's wet , they are not like a worm that will wiggle to water .

pete.hohensee (author)smooney22015-07-07

The plural of "mosquito" is "mosquitoes".

smooney2 (author)pete.hohensee2015-07-07

that's what I get for not proof reading before I sent

datacomm (author)2015-07-07

Not flawed. Only works with certain mosquitoes but not flawed.

Leatrice Reints (author)2015-07-07

Need to try this soon!

jroquai (author)2015-07-07

Just a question.

in step 9, the sock, is it going trough the screen? or is the screen lower than the water level and the sock just kind of rests on the screen to stay wet?

Show and Tell (author)jroquai2015-07-07

I pushed a section of sock down the side of the bottle and the side of the screen. The sock is long enough to be underwater. The screen is above the water. Hope that helps. The video may show more as well.

cv66seabear (author)2015-07-07

Going to try this! We are known for our large, hungry mosquitoes in Wisconsin!

Nice write up, I wasn't sure the larvae would fall through the screen, but I've nveer seen them hatch, so didn't know ho large they were. Definitely worth trying!

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