Bucket for Budget Bucket Moth Trap

Using a off the shelf bucket with a lid to make a moth trap is a very cost effective place to start. Here is an approach to using such a  bucket. An option shown below is to add a drainage funnel which can reduce the amount of water affecting the egg boxes and moths, but just having holes drilled around the bottom is cheaper and reasonably effective.



We have selected an all black bucket with a good fitting lid. They are used in hydroponics and food industries. A compact trap can use a 20 litre capacity bucket and a large one a 35 litre bucket. Larger capacity buckets will hold more egg boxes, but are obviously larger to carry around and store; try and find shorter and larger diameter buckets.

Entrance funnel

A large (in our case 21.5cm or 25.5cm) household funnel that we cut down by up to 10cm to give a 4 or 5cm gap to the bottom of the trap. The diameter of the bottom of the funnel can be as little as 3cm still allowing large moths in while making it difficult to get back out. It is worth considering painting the bottom part of the funnel matt black to avoid it being at all lit up and attracting moths to a possible exit from the trap.

Egg boxes Collect and reuse your own egg boxes or for neater stacking larger trays can be obtained and cut down with a smooth, sharp carving knife.


Cut hole in lid to fit entrance funnel

The entrance funnel should have a good lip so that there is no risk of the funnel falling through the circular hole in the lid. The diameter of the hole in the lid needs to be measured carefully to be very slightly greater than the outer size at the top of the sloping sides of the funnel.

For the 215mm outside rim diameter funnel we use, the hole required is 202mm.

We have a circle compass cutter to make the hole. The lid is just about thin enough (1.2mm) to cut with a Stanley knife, but difficult to control so using good kitchen scissors or snips may be best. A drawing compass or string around a drawing pin held at the centre of the lid can provide the line to cut around.

Add drainage to the bucket

Eight , 6mm or 8mm, drainage holes should be drilled around the perimeter of the base of the bucket to allow any rain water to drain away.

Fit the entrance funnel into the lid and attach your light assembly

After filling the bucket with egg boxes in a way that keeps clear of the funnels, the lid can be replaced, the entrance funnel should slot into the lid.

Using the trap

Affixing a  small note to the trap explaining what it is, that the moths aren't harmed and some contact details may be worthwhile.

The trap is also quite light in weight which is great, but does mean that it can be affected by gusts of wind potentially blowing it over. To mitigate against this either put a rock, found near to the trap site preferably, inside the trap or have a 1.5m length of guy rope over the top of the bucket and a couple of tent pegs with which to attach to the ground.


To complete the trap follow one of the two options for the light:

See how to make a compact fluorescent light for this trap

See how to make an LED light for this trap

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