How to build a better mosquito trap


English: B/W-Photography of a female Culiseta ...This spring has been an especially bad year for mosquitoes here in Michigan. After multiple sessions of trying to garden and just plain enjoy being outside, only to be nearly carried off by those pesky biters, Best Husband and I decided to take action.

And so it was, to the interwebs. Searching under “mosquito traps” led us to YouTube,  where Hiten Patel, an Asian gentleman and self-described “mind therapist and holistic healer” has a hilarious how-to for making a mosquito trap. Patel elucidates each point of the process of taking an ordinary soda bottle and turning it into a mosquito killing machine, as if he were teaching us how to install guidance chips into sidewinder missiles. At one point he switches the camera to Grandma, who sits cross-legged on the floor while demonstrating the intricate process of assembling the two-piece mosquito trap, all the while solemn-faced, and making Vanna White-type illustrative gestures, while Patel narrates in the background. If you have eight minutes (!) to spare, be sure to watch this gem.

Next, I searched for a recipe for the mosquito killing solution. Patel gave his recipe in gibberish metric, which was completely unhelpful, especially since I had never heard anyone speak of measuring water in milligrams. I found an American recipe that was quite detailed for something which only included three ingredients, including measuring the water temperature before adding the yeast. How many people really do have home kitchen thermometers, I wonder?

Next, the fun began. Best husband and I, with three college degrees between us, spent a lively hour arguing debating the best way to assemble the mosquito trap, with each of us believing that our way was best. In the end, there was no agreement, which led to the only logical conclusion possible: to make several mosquito traps, each with a little different configuration, and see which one works.

How to build a better mosquito trap

1. First, buy a two-liter bottle of soda, and drink it down as fast as you can. (or, dump it down the sink, as we might have done, but I’m not admitting to it.) In fact, buy several soda bottles, because chances are, you’ll need want to make more than one, because it’s such fun.

2. Follow the recipe for making the mosquito-killing secret sauce, which, it turns out, makes more solution than will fit in the bottle. Then, start over, and make up your own recipe as you go along.

3. Next, cut the soda bottle into two pieces. Grandma eyeballed this and dove in with ordinary scissors, which was much too simple for us. Instead, you’ll need a black marker, utility knife, tape measure, and GPS. Eyeball the spot where you will dissect the bottle. Then, to be sure, measure and mark, then debate the pros and cons of why you selected this spot to slice in. Best husband posits that the top should be significantly shorter than the bottom, allowing a gap between the liquid and the opening, thereby insuring room for the little buggers to drop in. I contend that the bottle should be cut into nearly equal parts, as this will prevent the mosquitoes from having any dead space to use for escape, and seemed closer to the way that Grandma did it.  Debate this endlessly if possible, but for at least an hour.

4. Tape the two ends of bottle together, then cover the bottle with black paper. Or green paper, because we didn’t have black. And argue about discuss whether it’s better to cover the whole bottle for improved effectiveness, or leave part of it uncovered, so you can have the satisfaction of seeing the floating mosquito carcases in bottom.

5. Add the killing solution, and discover that it won’t all fit, and the leftover part contains most of the yeast, which is the crucial ingredient.

6. Place the extra killing solution in a cup and store in the refrigerator, where it promptly ferments in record time, and oozes yeasty goo all over your refrigerator. Then, in disgust, dump the rest of it in your mosquito trap, which is what at least one of you wanted to do in the first place.

7. Hang your mosquito trap in your yard, and in no time at all, enjoy a peaceful, mosquito-free environment. Or, conversely, hang the damn thing in your yard and check it every few hours to see how many dead mosquitoes have accumulated, so you can enjoy the satisfaction of seeing your environmentally friendly couples-project rid your property of insect Armageddon. We’re still waiting for that part.

© Huffygirl 2013

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