Moth trap tripod

Hey everyone,

I’m setting up my first proper moth trap and am only missing two more pieces. I currently have a 12v marine battery with a power inverter as a power source as I didn’t want to have to lug around a gas generator and listen to all that noise the whole night. The bulb I’m using is a 175 watt mercury vapour bulb with an H39 ANSI ballast. The two pieces I’m missing are the tripod to hold up the light and something to hold up the bedsheet. I have no idea what to look for when it comes to these so any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Have you calculated how long the battery will run the light? 175W is a big power drain for a battery. You could run 20W UV bulbs instead and get a much longer run time, or even go for LED lights and use a much smaller USB power pack.

You don’t need anything special to hold up the sheet. A simple cord tied between two trees will work. You don’t need a special tripod either. Just use your imagination and find a way to hold the light at the height you require. A simple pole stuck in the ground can work as long as you can clip the light to it.

Im haven’t done any proper calculations yet but I’m hoping to get at least 4 hours of power from it before I recharge it. I made sure to pick a marine battery too since they are made to run for longer periods of time even without external support. I’m not a fan of the UV lights mainly cause I’d have to be sitting there looking at everything through the blue light which I find annoying.

I would use the tree method with the sheet sometimes but a lot of areas I’ll be trapping in are parking lots in provincial parks or treeless openings. The only reason I’m wondering about the tripod is because I know MV lights get very hot and heard they can melt plastic, so I don’t know what I’d use to make a DIY tripod, especially when it comes to having the light actually attach to it.

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If you just need to hold up a sheet where there aren’t any existing supports, you could consider a photo backdrop kit/stands. Cheap ones are <$40 on amazon, and they’ll probably do the job. I doubt they would hold up in high winds though.

Depending on how you’re doing this, you could probably also rig something up by tying a cord at one end to your vehicle and a portable pole at the other end (beach umbrella? clothesline support?). Again, wouldn’t be much in high wind, but in calm conditions, jury-rigging something shouldn’t be too hard.

Yes, I agree that such a hot light would be safer on a legitimate light stand. I used to have a work light stand I got at either Costco or Home Depot. It was not expensive at the time. The height was adjustable and - except for 1 part - it was very sturdy. There was a tiny connector that was basically made out of tin-foil, but duct tape held it together pretty well after that failed.

Here are some ideas:

These seem pretty affordable:

Thank you, a photo backdrop stand is pretty much exactly what I was looking for, I just didn’t know what they were called. I agree with the high winds but it’s usually not windy at all when I go out at night unless there’s a storm coming, in which case I wouldn’t be going moth trapping.

I adapted an old tripod that used to hold a halogen work lamp. A small piece of sheet metal to fasten the mogul bulb base onto the top of the tripod. The sheet can go almost anywhere - the side of a car/truck, a rope tied between two trees, or a purpose-built stand. Here is a reasonably-priced product that is designed for this purpose:

If you’re on Facebook, there is a group that has a lot of info/ideas on this topic: Entomological Traps

Recent setup at a camping trip in Texas, using a 175w MV light:


Thanks, I’m gonna order the one from home Depot.

I use a portable clothing rack from walmart ($20). Cheap, light, and multi-purposed. I usually clip the sheet onto it, in order to avoid wind movement


175 watt / 12 volt = ~ 15 amps * 4 hours = 60 amp-hours for light / 0.85 % inverter efficiency = ~70 amp-hours from battery. Most inverters that I am familiar with stop working at about 10 or 10.5 volts so you don’t damage your battery. Good luck - sounds fun and something I have been wanting to try.

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I use a piece of lightweight drainage pipe that’s sold in 10ft sections in the U.S. – it’s easy to cut to a convenient length and much cheaper than PVC pipe. You can run a piece of rope through the pipe to suspend it (with no droop or gathering towards the middle) or use plastic chain and a couple of carabiner clips so no need to tie and untie it. Drape a sheet directly over the pipe once it is suspended, OR fold the top of the sheet over and sew it in advance to form a tube, then insert the pipe and chain through it.


I just got the light running today and did the calculations. At full brightness i’ll get around 9 hours of light with my battery. I also found that the socket has pre-drilled holes for screws at the bottom so it might just be easier to screw it into a piece of wood and set it on the ground sheet. I’ll be doing my first hunt Monday night at a local forest so I’ll see how it goes. I also got the stand that @jgw_atx recommended since it seems good for the price and even has the water things to hold it steady.

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