If there's a mosquito found on a wall on shabbat, are you allowed to place a cup over it and slide a sheet of paper under it and remove it from the house?

The reason for doing this would be that you can avoid killing the insect but can also get rid of it.

Would such an action be prohibited as a manifestation of the melacha of trapping?

  • I've always heard that mosquitoes are mutar to kill on shabbat. Sep 28, 2014 at 13:52
  • Noach, who did you hear that from?
    – Ani Yodea
    Sep 28, 2014 at 14:39
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt, jewishpathways.com/files/Shochait_Live_and_Let_Live.pdf
    – Ani Yodea
    Sep 28, 2014 at 14:41
  • I do not recall, however the premise is based on pikuach nefesh. Even near me, some mosquitoes carry diseases (not just malaria) and thus the danger of someone becoming sick from a mosquito-bite outways the issur of killing. Sep 28, 2014 at 15:16

2 Answers 2


Rabbi David Ribiat in his 39 Melachos page 863 says that since mosquitoes are too elusive to be captured easily, therefore they may not be trapped on Shabbos.

However, Daily Halacha | Congregation IKLF | 235 N. Main Street | Spring Valley | NY | 10977 says it would be permitted to trap if a child or an adult would suffer an allergic reaction.

Similarly, if a mosquito is hovering near a small child who may suffer a reaction from a simple mosquito bite, it would be permitted to trap the mosquito. Hornets or wasps near a small child may even be killed (using a spray or other method) if necessary, because their sting can be dangerous to a small child. The same is true of an adult who may suffer an allergic reaction to an insect sting. Chazal did not extend the Rabbinic restriction on trapping insects in the face of substantial physical pain and discomfort. Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Brurah 315, 316, Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 25:7, Sefer 39 Melochos

  • 1
    A mosquito sitting on a wall is not moving at all...
    – Ani Yodea
    Sep 28, 2014 at 19:06
  • @AniYodea It doesn't matter that the animal is easy to catch right then (Shulchan 'Aruch OC 316:2, Mishna B'rura 316:7). The issue is whether it is generally easy to catch (so easy that you could easily catch it at will with a single swipe - like a snail, or an animal that moves slowly because it is missing a leg), in which case the animal is considered to always be in an inherently trapped state (ניצוד ועומד).
    – Fred
    Dec 20, 2022 at 20:04

Shulchan Aruch HaRav chapter 316, states that one may not trap a creature that merely causes pain but does not injure. If one is being actively bitten he may take hold of the creature and throw it away (while being careful not to kill it).

One may however, even initially, trap a creature who's sting or bite commonly injures or is deadly (and in some situations kill it outright).

It follows that it would depend what effect the mosquito's bite has on you. If you are highly allergic to the point that it would cause you injury, or live in an area where mosquitoes carry serious diseases, you would be permitted to trap it. If however, like most of us, the bite only causes discomfort or even pain, you would nonetheless be forbidden to trap the mosquito, unless it is actively biting you.

See here Halacha 17 through 19, for more information, including the reasoning behind these rulings. (See further for when and how a dangerous creature may be killed.)

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