The Advanced Trap

Research in Australia found that black 5 gallon buckets with 6” holes in the lid worked better than other sizes and colors. This recipe uses S-Methoprene, the active ingredient in Tango. The advantage is that the natural composting in the water continues (unlike using boric acid which inhibits it). Important: methoprene does not kill the eggs – they’ll turn into larvae and then into pupae. But at that point, they’ll die, never becoming adults.  So you may see wrigglers in your traps!

Here’s what you will need:

  • A handful of compost or yard waste
  • A 5 gallon bucket with a lid.  Paint it black or wrap it in black plastic (optional).  Important: the bucket must be clean and have smooth walls.  Don’t use a scraped up bucket.
  • Terro Ant Dust, kills fire ants too. Or, you can use bifenthrin treated sticks (see the Four Month Trap).
  • Altosid Pro-G, a granular form of s-methoprene
  • Some heavy paper, like a grocery bag or construction paper where the females will land.
  • Some tape or large rubber bands.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Cut a hole in the lid about 6” diameter. The hole does not have to be neat, and can be square.
  2. Add one or two gallons of water.
  3. Add a handful of organic debris (compost, grass, etc.), the more rotten and smelly the better. (See the tip below).
  4. Add about 1/8th teaspoon granules of Altosid Pro-G (S-methoprene).  The exact amount is 80 granules per gallon.
  5. Take one or more 16” x 4” strips of heavy paper and write the date on one end. Wet it to make it damp.
  6. Sprinkle Ant Dust on it to cover 100% of area, both sides. Use about 4 grams of dust = 1 tsp. If you need more to get 100% coverage, that’s OK.  Shake it to remove loose dust.  Or skip the Ant Dust and just use a couple of Bifenthrin treated sticks as described here.
  7. Lay the paper over the edge of the bucket so about 1” hangs out (showing the date), with the rest inside, touching the water.
  8. Press the lid onto the bucket. You don’t have to bang it down, just press enough to hold it.
  9. (Optional) Cover opening with 3/4″ mesh and hold in place with good quality duct tape.
  10. Place trap in shaded location protected from rain WHERE YOU WILL NOT FORGET IT.
  11. Remake this trap every 30 days. The Altosid won’t last much longer than that.

Now go get the materials and make one!

Fun tip:  if you want to see dead larvae and pupae in your trap, put the compost into a fine mesh cloth (like bug netting) and wrap it up so it can’t get out.  Add a small rock to make it sink.  Now, your water won’t fill with organic gunk and you will be able to see the larvae. (They’ll never hatch into adults because of the Altosid).