Bamboo flea trap, China, 1751-1850

1751-1850 in China

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Bamboo flea trap, Chinese, 1751-1850. Full view, black background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Bamboo flea trap, Chinese, 1751-1850

The inner tube of this bamboo trap was coated with a sticky substance such as birdlime to catch fleas. It can be removed to dispose of the dead fleas. Other Chinese traps were made from hollow pieces of bamboo or ivory and heated to attract fleas. They could be placed in beds to catch these insects, which bite and cause intense itching. Fleas are known to be carriers of diseases such as plague.

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Science Museum: Making the Modern World Gallery

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Public Health & Hygiene
Object Number:
insect trap
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment

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