May 31, 2022 - Things to Do

Try this DIY eco-friendly mosquito trap

Two black spray-painted buckets that will be used as mosquito traps on a white sheet

These are your weapons. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

👋🏻 Hiya, Thomas here!

Today we’re going to talk about a relatively low-cost and eco-friendly hack to squash skeeters in your backyard this summer.

  • I tried it during the pandemic and had some success when paired with other mosquito-prevention steps.

Details: Spray paint a plastic bucket and lid — the kind you find at hardware stores — black or brown. Fill it up a third of the way with water. Toss in some straw or grass clippings — something that can break down.

  • Throw in one-quarter of a Mosquito Dunk — those pucks that look like stone bagels.
  • Put the lid on the bucket and drill four or five holes in the top — enough so a mosquito can sneak inside.

Place several buckets around your yard in areas mosquitoes might find attractive. Clean them out and repeat the process every 10 to 14 days (the manufacturer says the dunks are effective for 30 days).

The theory: Mosquitoes will be drawn to the decaying grass clippings or straw, enter the buckets and lay their eggs.

  • When mixed with water, the dunks dissolve and release a bacteria that the CDC says is harmless to bees, birds, people and pets but that kills mosquito larvae.

Yes, you’re wiping out a generation of mosquitoes.

  • Remember: This is war.

Gut check: Mosquitoes can act as a pollinator and are a tasty treat for some birds and animals.

  • But they’re not an exclusive food source for birds and bees.

What they’re saying: “It’s an interesting idea, and that should not hurt the ecosystem,” Elmer Gray, an entomologist at the University of Georgia, tells Axios.

  • Don’t use too much of the dunk in one bucket. “I'd suspect that the more you put in it the less likely the females will oviposit there.”

Yes, but: Gray agrees that even the simple acts of eliminating standing water and keeping weeds, tall grass and overgrowth to a minimum will help thwart mosquito populations.

Thomas’ thought bubble: To keep my sanity during the pandemic, I placed six buckets in my front and back yards (plus two in my neighbor’s yard).

  • I was pleasantly surprised one day when I went outside to whack some weeds and… I noticed only a few mosquitoes.

The big picture: It’s not a silver bullet, mind you (I was vigilant about clearing out weeds). But I’m inclined to say it helped me enjoy the backyard.

  • Regardless, please join me in my quixotic quest to squash the skeeters.
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