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How to Build a Bug Trap

Outdoor pests making your skin crawl? Make a wind tunnel to trap bugs and ruin their best-laid plans.


  • Step 1: Draw the blade Remove the bottom lid of a coffee can with a can opener. On the lid, draw the outline of a double fan blade measuring 3 inches across.
  • Step 2: Cut the lid Cut out the blade with metal shears. Then, punch a small hole in the center with a screwdriver.
  • Step 3: Attach the blades and motor Slide the blades onto the shaft of a 10- to 20-watt, 120-volt AC motor that runs at 1,500 to 3,000 rpm. Secure the blade to the shaft with superglue and bend each end at a downward pitch of 30 to 45 degrees, so the motor's rotation causes downward airflow.
  • TIP: You can find a usable motor in most small desk fans or old record players.
  • Step 4: Make a bracket Screw the bulb into the socket and place it on a flat surface opposite the motor, with 1/2- to 1-inch between the bulb and the blades. Measure the distance from the socket's bottom to the motor's base. Double this distance and add 7 inches. Then, cut a piece of hanger iron measuring the total length to act as a bracket.
  • Step 5: Attach the bracket Bend the iron at right angles to form a rectangle, with the 2 vertical sides separated by 4 inches. Using the motor's original screws, screw the ends of the hanger iron to either side of the bottom of the motor's base.
  • TIP: Make sure the blade clears the bracket on either side.
  • Step 6: Extend the motor's wires Cut a 1-foot length of lamp cord, and set aside the piece with the prongs. Strip both ends of the 1-foot cord, and attach one side to the motor's wires, covering any exposed wires with electrical tape. Tape the cord along the interior of the hanger iron bracket.
  • Step 7: Make a cover To make the light cover, cut off the bottom of a 5-inch diameter plastic jug at a height that exposes 1 1/2 to 2 inches of the bulb. Place the socket on the cover and mark 2 holes for bolts. Mark a third hole in the center and a fourth close to the edge for the lamp cord with prongs.
  • Step 8: Connect the lamp cord Drill the 4 holes in the cover. Then, slide 12 inches of the lamp cord with prongs through its hole in the cover. Strip the cord's end, separate the wires, and touch one to each of the socket's hot terminals.
  • Step 9: Complete the circuit Touch the wires from the piece of lamp cord that's taped to the bracket to the hot terminals to form a circuit between the motor, socket, and wall. Tighten the wires against the terminals with a screwdriver.
  • Step 10: Connect the cover Place a hook eye in the cover's center hole, securing it with a nut. Then, put a 3/4-inch bolt in each of the 2 holes on either side. Place the bracket and socket inside the cover, sliding them over the bolts and securing each bolt with a nut. Screw in the bulb.
  • Step 11: Attach the coffee can Slide the coffee can over the motor, so the blades are an inch below the rim. Make holes on opposite sides of the coffee can just above the blades. Place a 3/4-inch bolt in each hole and fasten the bracket to the coffee can, securing each bolt with a nut.
  • TIP: Be sure that the bolts and nuts do not prevent the blade from turning.
  • Step 12: Create the bag Cut an 18-inch-long section of a leg of undamaged pantyhose, turn it inside out, and tie a knot at 1 end. Slip the other end over the bottom of the coffee can, and secure the nylon to the can with rubber bands. Then, hang the completed trap outside your home, plug in the prong from the lamp cord, and prepare for a pest-free summer.
  • FACT: In 2007, British scientists discovered fossilized remains of a bug, the giant sea scorpion, which measured 8 feet long.

You Will Need

  • 4-in. diameter coffee can
  • Can opener
  • Ruler
  • Felt-tip pen
  • Metal shears
  • Screwdriver
  • Small motor
  • Superglue
  • Light socket
  • Blue light bulb
  • Perforated hanger iron
  • Lamp cord
  • Scissors
  • Wire strippers
  • Electrical tape
  • Clean
  • empty
  • plastic jug
  • Electric drill and drill bits
  • Hook eye
  • 5 nuts
  • 4 bolts
  • Pantyhose
  • Rubber bands
  • Small desk fan or record player (optional)

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