Kids Go Free
Louth Museum

Ruth's Blog

The Flea Trap

by Lydia Rouse, student

Ivory flea trap

Ivory flea trap

Ruths Blog Logo

I have been doing two weeks work experience at Louth museum and as part of my work experience I was asked to pick an exhibit from the museum and write this blog. So I picked the flea trap because of its connection to everyday life and because it is weird and wonderful.

The flea trap is about 7 cm long and 1.5 cm wide. It is made from ivory and has a carefully carved pattern on it; the reason for this was because it was designed to hang around a woman’s neck and so it had to look fashionable and match their clothing. Through research I have found flea traps from all over the world and I have found smaller traps made from nuts with carvings as well.

The trap would have had blood, fat or sometimes jam or honey in it so it would attract the fleas into the trap where they could not escape. These traps would be worn around the neck and in the dress, so many people could have been walking around Louth with dead fleas around their necks and in their dresses.

We are not sure of the date for this particular trap but we do know that flea traps have been used for hundreds of years, especially in the Georgian era when lice and fleas were common in their large wigs.