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How to Make a Black Light Ladybug Trap

Updated November 21, 2016

One ladybug is cute and considered a symbol of good luck. A dozen ladybirds are beneficial to your garden, eating other pests that can harm your plants. Hundreds of them are a nuisance. To make matters worse, 25 per cent of people who live near large populations of multicoloured Asian beetles--which are virtually indistinguishable from standard ladybirds--are beginning to develop strong allergic reactions to the tiny bug's bite. Ladybug traps sell for as much as £130 in garden centres nationwide. Or, you can build your own for a fraction of the cost. The trap uses black light to attract the ladybirds and takes less than 10 minutes to assemble.

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  1. Place the lamp on a flat surface with the lighting element face down. Using the hammer and nail, make four evenly-spaced holes around the lamp's flat edge. These will connect the lamp to the transparencies later with twist ties, so the holes do not need to be large. Screw the black light bulb into the light socket of the lamp.

  2. Cut half way down each transparency lengthwise. Turn one sheet upside down and slide it through the cut in the other, forming an "X." Using the tape, connect the two sheets at the four newly-formed seams.

  3. Cut a small hole in each corner of the transparency tube, both at the top and the bottom, creating eight small holes all together--four at the top and four at the bottom.

  4. Put a small piece of tape on each corner of the transparency--this will keep the holes from tearing. Punch a hole in each corner through the tape, making 8 holes all together, 4 at the top and 4 at the bottom. These holes will connect to the lamp at the top and the milk jugs at the bottom.

  5. Clean the milk jugs with mild bleach water and invert to dry. Remove the lids and cut large holes in them, taking out most of the lid in the process.

  6. Cut the bottom third off one of the milk jugs. Punch 4 holes in the sides of this jug and attach it to the bottom of the transparency X with twist ties. Screw the lid back on to the bottomless jug and use tape to connect the second lid to the first. This will allow you to remove the bottom milk jug, where the trapped bugs will be, without taking the entire trap apart.

  7. Attach the second jug to the first by way of the lids. Then paint both the milk jugs and the lids connecting them black. When the paint is dry, sprinkle powder into the transparencies and down into the jug. This prevents the ladybirds from being able to climb back out.

  8. Hang the trap near a place you have previously found ladybirds and plug in. Turn off all other lights, if possible. The light will draw the ladybirds in and they will fall down into the collecting jug.

  9. Tip

    Check collecting jug regularly. Reapply powder often.

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Things You'll Need

  • Clamp-style lamp
  • Nail
  • Hammer
  • Tape
  • Black light bulb
  • 2 transparent plastic sheets, 8 ½- by 11-inches (the type normally used for overhead projectors)
  • 8 twist ties
  • Paper hole punch
  • Scissors
  • 2 milk jugs
  • Flat black paint, formulated to adhere to plastic
  • Talcum powder

About the Author

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.

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