Mushroom Bait Preparation

A project log for Mosquito Trap

Attract mosquitoes with the help of CO2 gas and octenol extracted from mushrooms, then dehydrate them in a trap.

EnginEngin 10/03/2021 at 12:030 Comments

I went to a local grocery store to buy mushrooms. The one that was on the shelf was a Champignon or "white button" type. I was searching for an oyster mushroom because it has already been tested in a study and has attracted more mosquitoes compared to the other types. This may be due to the amount of octenol content in the extract. In my internet research, I found that octenol gives a unique smell to mushrooms together with some other compounds and can be determined by its smell even at low amounts. [1] According to the researchers, octenol is the most abundant in the total volatile fraction constituting  %44.3-%97.6, depending on the extraction method. [2] So I will use the odor to verify if there is an octenol in my extract. This measurement will not be scientific but definitely give an idea.

Cleaning and chopping mushrooms:

Mushrooms contain too much water. The first step of the extraction is to remove water from the mushrooms. We do not want to evaporate volatiles during this drying process. It has been stated that most of the octenol can be lost during drying. [1] To minimize the loss, I roughly sliced the mushrooms and placed them in a well-ventilated place, which is the balcony in my case. Beware of direct sunlight hitting them while drying if you repeat this process.

My balcony has windows and it allows protection from cold and warmth, also from insects. I live in a pretty dry place where humidity levels are considerably low. I left the sliced mushrooms there for about 3 days, leaving one of the windows slightly open to ventilate the room. I regularly checked them to see if they were crispy. One day I figured that there were flies flying inside, which was not usual because I had left the window open many times before for other reasons. I think that was not a coincidence, because it has been stated that octenol is also attracting flies. There are mushroom-insect mutualistic interactions due to the volatiles emitted by mushroom sporophores which play an important role in attracting flies and mosquitoes to disseminate spores. [2] This put a smile on my face, but wasted no time; I gathered them in and tried to protect the volatiles as best I could.

Dissolving the content:

I decided to use %96 ethanol to dissolve the ingredients of the mushrooms that I bought from a grocery store. But first, I sliced the dried mushrooms in a food processor to further break down the cells, and allow the ethanol to penetrate. The volume of the mushrooms was greatly reduced and could be placed in a small bottle. After adding the ethanol, I left the mixture to stay at least 48 hours to do its job.

Next, I will filter the solvent from the mixture and try a couple of ideas to further concentrate the extract. I am also deciding to repeat this process for other types of mushrooms.


[1] J. A. Maga, “Mushroom flavor,” J. Agric. Food Chem., vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 1–4, Jan. 1981, doi: 10.1021/jf00103a001.

[2] E. Combet et al., “Eight-carbon volatiles in mushrooms and fungi: properties, analysis, and biosynthesis,” Mycoscience, vol. 47, no. 6, pp. 317–326, Dec. 2006, doi: 10.1007/S10267-006-0318-4.