I first saw these years ago when I was visiting the Amish of Adams County, Indiana. It was an odd sight: 2-liter green soda bottles dangling from trees. This is a photo I snapped of one way back then. The soda bottles were almost always green and I have a few theories as to why. But, first, what were these dangling items hanging on the lowest branches of fruit trees?
I asked my Amish friends about these during a visit to the farm and they explained to me that they were "bug traps." "Once inside, they're done for," she said matter-of-factly.
It takes a few days for the bugs to begin to show up but, wow, once they do these things really do work. These things turn into the Hotel California for flies, mosquitos, and yellow jackets - they check in but they never leave.
🐜 The Amish and Bugs
Since the Amish generally live without air-conditioning and with open windows and doors, they have had to learn to coexist with bugs. Most Amish homes I have been in have strips of flypaper hanging down from the ceiling, a strip or two in each room and they usually catch the insects. But it is a constant battle because once one fly meets its doom, more come inside to replace them.
You tend to find the homemade traps outside more, if you hung one in your house, the smell of banana peel and vinegar would be strong. The Amish are avid picnickers and no one wants a pest at a picnic.
There are many different types of homemade outdoor bug traps that the Amish use, but some of the most common include:
- Sugar and vinegar traps: These traps use the scent of sugar and vinegar to attract insects, and the combination of the two liquids creates a sticky substance that traps the insects.
- Banana peel traps: Banana peels are a natural insect attractant, and when they are placed in a bottle with water, they can attract and trap a variety of insects.
The Amish use homemade bug traps because they are a natural and effective way to control insect pests. They are also a relatively inexpensive way to control pests, and they can be made from materials that are readily available. The trap "recipe" below combines the banana peel and vinegar methods, so its a double whammy!
📜 Tips For Traps
- Hang the traps on the lower branches of some trees in your yard, preferably a decent distance from any eating or gathering area.
- Use green 2-little soda bottles to better blend in with the environment.
- Fill bottle halfway with water
- Some place a funnel in the top of the bottle to better collect bugs, but the trap works fine without the funnel.
🙋 FAQ Question About Amish Bug Traps
I doubt there is any magical about the green color, more that if you used a clear bottle, there would be the unsightly tableau of dead bugs very visible. The green blends in better with the trees and you can't see inside as well.
Either vinegar will work, but apple cider does the best job of attracting bugs.
Homemade Amish Bug Trap
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1 or 2 banana peels
- Pour sugar and vinegar into thebottle and stuff in banana peels.
- Fill bottle half way with water
- Discard bottle cap,
- Use string to hang from a low tree branch.
- Bugs should start arriving within days, when the trap is full of bugs, empty and start over!