How to Build a Moth Trap

Updated July 20, 2017

A moth is a kind of insect very closely related to a butterfly, since they belong to the same order. Moths are usually nocturnal but there are some species that are mostly active throughout the day. In homes and gardens, moths are most notorious for eating through clothes, your backyard plants and trees and therefore are considered to be pests. One of the most destructive insects that can attack your garden is the gypsy moth. Gypsy moths can cause great damage to various kinds of trees and even cause complete defoliation, which is why these moths have to be stopped. Fortunately, you can easily build your own moth trap and solve your pest problem.

Find a plastic sport drink bottle and thoroughly clean it with warm water and liquid detergent. Then rinse the bottle thoroughly to remove all the detergent and leave it to dry for a few minutes.

Make small holes just below the neck of the plastic bottle. Use a sharp tool such as a thick needle to make four evenly spaced holes and then cut them with small scissors to make them a little wider. The final size of the holes should be around 1 ¼ inch long and ½ inch high.

Punch a hole in the centre of the plastic lid with a sharp knife. Make the hole as small as possible and only big enough for a thread to go through.

Run a strong thread such as twine through the hole in the plastic lid and tie a big tight knot at the inside end. You can also tie a piece of twine around the neck of the bottle. This will be used as a hanger for your moth trap.

Place a strip of pheromone moth bait into the plastic bottle. Make sure to wear latex gloves so you don't get the pheromone substance on your hands. Also, let the strip partially hang from the lid rather that tape it all over and cover it completely. This way the bait will be more effective.

Pour a few inches of water mixed with liquid dish detergent into the bottle slowly, making sure not to create bubbles.

Hang your homemade moth trap to a tree or wherever you want it, but try to avoid placing it near the entrance to your house. Try to find the tree with moth hives to solve your problem on its very source.

Change the mixture inside the plastic bottle every week or every 2 weeks, depending on the effectiveness of the trap.


If you want to catch wax moths, make a mixture from equal parts of white vinegar, sugar and a banana peel and add it to the water in the plastic bottle trap. You can save the rest of the mixture for later use as well, but keep it outside the house.


Wear disposable latex gloves while working with pheromone strips, vinegar and detergent, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic sport drink bottle
  • Liquid detergent
  • Needle
  • Small scissors
  • Knife
  • Twine
  • Pheromone strips
  • Tape
  • Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Banana peels
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About the Author

Based in New Jersey, Michelle Raphael has been writing computer and technology articles since 1997. Her work has appeared in “Mac World” magazine and “PC Connections” magazine. Raphael received the George M. Lilly Literary Award in 2000. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from California State University.