Introduction: The 1 Minute / 0.10 $ Insect Trap

Picture of The 1 Minute / 0.10 $ Insect Trap

What is more annoying than bees, wasps and other insects looking for something sweet when you are about to eat a good meal on your porch? Using a PET-bottle, a knife and some adhesive tape, in less than 1 minute you will have the most effective insect trap ever!

Step 1: Cutting

Picture of Cutting

Taking care not to cut your hand into slices, use the knife to cut the bottle. Cut about 1/3 of the top of the bottle, and about as much at the bottom. You will now have 3 pieces. You can discard the "middle" piece.

Step 2: Making the Funnel

Picture of Making the Funnel

Now, turn the top part of the bottle upside down, and "insert" it into the bottom part of the bottle. Make sure there are no openings between the funnel and the container, since the insects will crawl out that way. Use the knife to trim the funnel to a perfect fit. You will now have a kind of a "funnel" that will lure insects into the container, but prevent them to find their way out, since insects tend to fly along boundaries and have really bad accuracy for flying through holes.

Step 3: Finish It Off

Picture of Finish It Off

With some adhesive tape, tape the top part of the bottle to the bottom part of the bottle. Pour some soda or other sweet liquid into the container, to about 1 inch deep. Pour some extra sweetener into it, like honey or more sugar. Put this container close (but not too close) to your table, preferably on the floor, and wait for the bugs to start disappearing into the container. Once it's full, just discard it and make another one or empty it and fill it up again:

Time consumed: < 1minute
Money: 0.10 $


MamaBrownBear (author)2011-10-10

Does this work for common houseflies? Anyone know? Also, anyone know a good bait to use?

peoplayer (author)MamaBrownBear2013-08-01

There is a trick (that seems to work) for common houseflies here in Mexico. Fill a plastic bag with water and hang it somewhere from the roof. According to experts, the reflections of the water, hanging, will scare flies off. Most Mexican roadside restaurants have these and they work as far as I am concerned.

Debunked on Mythbusters, oddly enough

Void Schism (author)2010-07-20

It does work. If you put a couple of teaspoons of jam (or jelly for those "state-side") and splash of hot water in the bottom and mix them up the bugs will dive for it and get stuck in the mixture

tsmith161 (author)Void Schism2014-07-07

Jelly and jam are two completely different products. Stateside or not.

Void Schism (author)tsmith1612014-07-10

Indeed they are.

However what is called Jam in the UK is Jelly in the US and what is called Jelly in the UK is Jello in the US. Just helping with a little cultural translation for folks.

tsmith161 (author)2014-07-07

Anyone try a rotting piece of red meat in the bottle. It sounds extreme, but I'm wondering...

AluminumFoilMaster (author)2012-04-02

FYI, wasps will attack when unprovoked. When I got my first sting, a yellow jacket landed on me when I was drinking from a water fountain. I have no memory of trying to kill a bee or wasp in my life but I have been stung twice. People who say the only attack when provoked have clearly never been stung. All you gotta do is get like 20-30 feet from their nest.

I couldn´t agree more. I was attacked by a wasp just for walking below a nest I hadn´t even seen.
Immediately and as a retaliation, my wife destroyed the nest with a broom. For some reason wasps didn´t sting her; perhaps a decided attack works with them better than being a peaceful bystander.

cowsclimbtrees (author)2012-01-16

Great Idea. If you want to catch yellow jackets just pour beer in the container.
just make sure its not good beer ;)

SirNoodlehe (author)2011-04-27

time to tie some bees to strings :D

trunx (author)SirNoodlehe2011-09-09

Why would you do this? Honeybees have suffered large population declines and you want to torture them?

peoplayer (author)trunx2011-09-09

Agree with you. I use this when the bees are too agressive by the outdoor table.

SirNoodlehe (author)peoplayer2011-09-09

okay, time to capture robotic bees and tie them to strings

zupyo22 (author)2011-05-21

what kind of knife? By the way I liked your instructable.

peoplayer (author)zupyo222011-09-09

Thanks. It is a Swedish carpenter's knife. Good for most anything. Inox and very sharp despite being inox. :)

LEATHERDADDY4U (author)2009-08-03

it takes more than one minute!

peoplayer (author)LEATHERDADDY4U2011-01-20

not really. Cutting a bottle taping it and pouring liquid into it takes no more than 45 seconds.

unaffiliatedperson (author)2009-08-04

a great follow up to this wood be to put the insects in the refrigerator till they sleep and then glue them to a matchstick airplane so they can power it when they wake up

Thats kinda cruel.

pyro13 (author)2008-09-10

Very neat! They don't just fly out?

peoplayer (author)pyro132008-09-10

Actually, they don't! They don't find the hole at the end of the bottle neck (they fly and crawl along the container's walls and never make it to the middle). Usually before they even have a chance to make it, they fall into the liquid and drown.

pyro13 (author)peoplayer2008-09-10

Thats way cool! And you can get attractant at walmart for pretty cheap. What is the active ingredient in the attractant? Would it be a possibility to make homemade wasp attractant?

peoplayer (author)pyro132008-09-10

I usually use Coke or Fanta with some extra sugar in it... funny thing is, it takes a while for the first one to crawl in... but when he does, it fills up pretty quick!

So perhaps try to net a fly, and stick him in the bottle to get the ball rolling and attract the others, lol. Thank you for this good instructable!

dchall8 (author)pyro132008-09-10

Uh oh. I'm sorry but I'm going to drift off topic to say that wasps are the most beneficial insect in the garden. The problem is not with wasps but with people wanting to swat at them. Obviously they can get aggressive in a big hurry if you bother them or their nest, but if you can learn to act normal around them, you will be way ahead of the game...and use less insecticide in the rest of the garden. Personally I need a fly attractant.

mrdepo96 (author)dchall82009-08-10

sorry to say this, but i find that most wasps are more aggressive than the average bumble bee. (is bumble bee correct? that is what i have been calling those little balls of fuzz called bees that wander around my yard)

peoplayer (author)dchall82008-09-11

I agree with you, except that when eating it is annoying to have wasps, bees and other insects crawling/flying around your food.

dchall8 (author)pyro132008-09-10

They really don't fly out. I thought there was another fly trap Instructables that went into insect psychology, but it didn't pop up as related to this. Insects tend to not fly down or to the middle of the trap to get out. The trick to making these really work is to put an attractant in them. I thought spoiled milk would attract them but it didn't seem to.

zack attack (author)2010-07-05

i used orange soda and sugar and put it near a small forest for a whole day and i didnt catch anything.

pjgardens (author)2010-06-21

I use a Zephyrhills bottle so when I invert the funnel it fits snugly and there's no need for tape. Takes about 30 seconds to make, start to finish.

soozalooza (author)2010-06-04

I have recently moved into a house on farmland and my home is overrun with flies. I have pets so have to be cautious with pesticides. The fly strips work quite well but would prefer to live without strips covered in fly corpses hanging throughout my house. Your insect trap is a great alternative and I love how cheap and simple they are to make. Thanks so much for idea!

Davetech (author)2009-05-07

Do you know if this will work for Carpenter Bees? My house gets swarmed by them every year. Maybe a chunk of 2"x4" will lure them? LOL

unclesam (author)Davetech2009-07-09

Davetech, there is now a commercial carpenter bee trap available, can be found using Google search, has video demo. Not cheap, but apparently effective, patented traps. The video provided sufficient detail so I could make my own traps, but only so I could evaluate adding "char" to the wood traps, which could not be done using the bought traps. I read university article that some other wood boring insects prefer charred wood. I charred some of the wood on my traps using propane torch, added Tanglefoot afterward. My traps have been in place for about a year, but I have not yet taken them down to see if they caught any bees. Trap consists of plank of wood with numerous three-eighth inch dia holes through it, and a channel routed on the backside of the plank running a couple inches from each hole, to a depth of about three-eights inch (Bees first bore a hole into wood, then turn and bore along the grain of the wood to make their galleries). The closed end of each channel is filled with Tanglefoot. Carpenter bees use the same holes again each year to hatch their young, and they overwinter in these same hole. These traps are placed wherever there are already bee holes. Tanglefoot is the trade name of a substance that is extremely sticky and remains sticky even when exposed to the weather. It is sold in hardware stores, home centers in tub, and squeeze tube. A bee crawls into one of the trap's holes, then into the channel, then gets stuck, dies there. Trap would be more effective if all existing natural bee holes were first plugged with caulk. My other strategies are to swat bees that are close to the ground using lightweight tennis racket. You extend your arm and raise the racket, then slowly creep close as you can to hovering bee. You freeze until bee turns to look away from you, then swat, smash bee with foot. Bee can dodge your swat unless you wait until it turns directly away from you. I live in a rural area, so for those bees that will not cooperate by coming close to the ground, I bought child-size single-shot bolt action .22 rifle (Gander Mountain) and bird shot (Wal-Mart, the kind that has a plastic nose containing the shot, not the crimped brass nose, which can get stuck in the barrel when the nose is expanded by firing). You do not press the rifle stock to your shoulder or use the gun's sights. You hold it at arms's length and sight with both eyes along the barrel at the bee, fire when the bee seems to hesitate in one location for a second. This rifle and cartridge have no kick and make relatively small pop. Rifle is very effective at about 10 foot range, fairly effective at 15 feet, may take a couple shots at farther range. I shot some rounds at paper plates from different ranges to get an idea of dispersion of the shot. At any range there are holes in the pattern bigger than a bee. Bird shot fired from a pistol dispersed too much to be effective over just a few feet of range. Google search will reveal articles about the life cycle and habits of the carpenter bee that will help you control them. I had so many bees many that I embarked on a campaign against them last year. So far this Spring I have seen only ten around my house and yard, and I killed most of those directly. I have not seen another in the intervening month. It may not yet be the height of their season here in Mid-Atlantic U.S., but so far it seems I may have just about wiped them out at my house. Uncle Sam

rimar2000 (author)2008-09-11

With this system, but two bottles (longer body), I have captured hundreds of small fishes. They are eaten fried, they are very tasty.

peoplayer (author)rimar20002008-09-11

Yep, it's perfect for that. The only thing is that you need to perforate the bottom of the bottle, so that - if you put it in streaming water - water is allowed to flow through the system.

rimar2000 (author)peoplayer2008-09-11

Yes, and also to put a stone inside the apparatus so that it sinks easily. What more attracts the fish are the grease bread crackers.

miseleigh (author)rimar20002009-04-16

Instructable to catch and cook please? :) (What are grease bread crackers?)

rimar2000 (author)miseleigh2009-04-16

Pardon, I don't speak English, I use google traslator. Ask him, please.

geoffypi (author)2009-02-10

you should use this and enter the 'best use of waterbottle contest"

nogginMoose (author)2008-10-04

UNNECESSARY COMMENT I assume you are referring to "How to make wasp trap from old plastic jug" being copied. Even if this author got the idea from that project, it is NOT copied, they are different. Furthermore, the following is copied directly from the wasp post: "...feel free to improve upon this design." The author also included 2 photos of his own variations to the project, with comments that further encourage readers to expand on the original idea.

peoplayer (author)2008-09-12

I saw somebody had done something like this, but only after I published this instructable. Besides, there can't be enough instructables on how to keep insects out of your food, huh? Cheers

liquidsunshine (author)2008-09-10

If it's specific to fruit flies, I've found that water + malt vinegar + a rotting piece of fruit works really well... also, to make the drowning process faster, adding just a tad of dish soap will break surface tension so they sink as soon as they touch the liquid, assuming it's a cohesive liquid.

peoplayer (author)liquidsunshine2008-09-11

Great idea to put a couple of drops of soap! Hadn't thought of that!

grundisimo (author)2008-09-11

I admit you beat me to this instructable. I made one of these just like threedays ago.

grundisimo (author)grundisimo2008-09-11

woops that was supposed to say three days not threedays

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