I remember seeing these propane-powered mosquito traps at local big-box
hardware stores a few years ago, but I don't think I've seen any of them
lately. They retailed for around $300 and up to $450 if I remember
correctly. Some brand names include Skeeter Vac and Mosquito Magnet.
The premis is that they gave off a carbon-monoxide (or co2?) scent (by
burning propane) which would attract mosquitoes into a one-way bag where
they'd die. Some of the claims were that one unit was good for about an
acre of coverage.
The reviews on Amazon are mixed. Some claim it catches everything but
mosquitoes, some claim it works great on them. Many don't like the
ongoing cost of replacing sticky paper.
Some employ some combination (or all?) of these methods: heat, co2,
octenol, lactic acid, suction, blinking lights, sticky paper.
What's the verdict on these things? Are they effective?
I've seen no independent testing results that indicated they're more
effective than alternatives tested--which is pretty much why they're not
particularly widespread; it appears that most of the glowing
testimonials are either sponsored "research" (read advertising hype) or
self-justification of the $$ spent to avoid admitting have been suckered.
It's been a while since I looked but google found several studies a
while back from various land-grant universities, etc., that concluded
they're of minimal help if any...
May be so; as noted the testing results I remember seeing didn't
demonstrate significantly higher preferential capture rates for the
devices. Particularly, they weren't effective for anything even
remotely approaching the acreage coverage claims iirc...
There are likely newer studies available; others are welcome to pursue
it. Seems like it was LSU extension maybe(???) that had some of the
most extensive that I saw previously but I'm not certain of that any
You're taking that away from the rest of the sentence it was modifying
to infer a totally different meaning from what I said...
Certainly it's know what attracts skeeters to live critters; what's not
so clear is that the artificially-generated attempts are effective.
Than the other devices in the test, obviously... :(
But still a portion of the test and how effective they are for practical
use. So what if even if they were 100% effective in a small radius--you
going to limit your position into that area? The devices are typically
advertised as covering sizable fractions of an acre.
No; the conclusions were they were no more effective than other traps
tested w/o the CO2 attractants...
As they say, "you can look it up"... :)
That's how the ignorant think it works. More knowledgeable persons
simply refute, then may or may not chastise.
Any device may kill tons of mosquitoes. Whether those kills provide
adequate relief is another story entirely.
Gas/smoke/heat emitting devices are obviously dependent on the speed
and direction of the wind, a severe limitation of effectiveness.
As a former PCO who lives in the woods with a SO who is outdoors
morning to usually late night I recommend materials that both kill and
repel. I use Tempo Ultra WP (available on eBay at nearly PCO $)
applied at a 0.10 concentration with a Birchmeier 2-1/2 gallon sprayer
(the Cadillac of sprayers).
The big downside is that pyrethrin insecticides, while safe for
mammals, aren't selective; they kill pretty much everything.
They are also quickly degraded by UV light (@48 hrs direct sunlight)
and while they will stick pretty good during a heavy rain, two rains
and they're in the dirt (it's been a tough year here in this regard,
it's rained twice every 3-4 days).
Another consideration is swimming pools. Get much in one by spray or
tracking) and you'll have algae growing like you've never seen before.
I spray everything in the vicinity; trees, grass, bushes, walls, deck
railing, being careful of overspray drift in the pool.
SWMBO sits out in her bikini unmolested by anything but me.
No "electronic" pest repellent/killer has been demonstrated to have
much effectiveness outdoors.
(I once met a client at a pet store and we put his new $50 electronic
rodent device in an aquarium full of mice. They immediately crawled
all over it.)
Good luck in your search. Like you, I've seen comments from those that swear
by them and swear at them. I do think that the science behind this is sound.
I did find that the comments seemed better for those that used a combination
of heat, co2, and attractant.
I'd be one that swears by them! We have the Liberty Plus model and it works
awesome! On year 3 now without a single problem. Our backyard is essentially
moquito free while our neighbors 2 houses away have them all over the place.
Every tank tank (3 weeks) I empty the net and there must be about 1000 dead
females in there. If it were to break down and be non-repairable I would
without question replace it with the same model without hesitation.
I, on the other hand, have a Mosquito Magnet Defender which is a smaller
model rated for 1/2 acre, I believe. Although we have lots and lots of
mosquitoes, the unit collects maybe 10 to 15 mosquitoes a night, but does
not do much to control the little bastards. I tried placing the unit in
several locations in my yard and finally found the place that it works best
in, but 15 mosquitos does not really do much to reduce the population. I set
the unit out in the early spring when the bastards first start, but they
just keep coming. The Summers here on Long Island, NY are hot and humid, and
they just thrive here. After having the unit for about 5 years, and the
original mfr replacing the 1st Defender unit on warranty in year one, I have
to say that at least in my case, the unit was a waste of 300 dollars to buy
it, a waste of 20 pounds of propane every three weeks, plus the Octanol
attractant also needed. I have mine running right now, but I keep hoping for
better results in vain. I am glad your unit works well for you Brian. I
have a friend who swears by his too, but if I am doing something wrong, I
don't know what it is. It works, but so does swatting them. Ouch! A thousand
mosquitos a month seems like a small number to me considering how many I
actually can see flying around in the evening all over my yard.
By the way, there is a web site that gives instructions on repairing these
units (the Defender, anyway) http://gra.midco.net/jmanley/#Defender
Get a good electric bug zapper. Mine is caked with mosquitoes, black
flies and minges every morning. Any small flying insect attracted by
ultra violet even small moths and beetles. Some take a while to cook and
smoke a little. It's fun to watch. The tiny flies get zapped when they
are 3 abreast in the zapper. Sometimes I blow it out at midnight and
again in the morning. I use an electric leaf blower. Bugs are pretty stupid.
I used one for a couple of years and like yours, it would be loaded with
bugs. The problem, however, is that it attracted more bugs than when I had
nothing and it was still a net gain on my screen door in spite of those
killed away from the house where the zapper was hung. I'd never have one
again. . It may work better in more urban areas, especially if a few
neighbors have them too.
That is pretty much my story too. I took one camping and it attracted
more than it killed. Having the extra propane bottle did come in
handy . They are good for emptying out the bugs in a controlled space
An entomologist was being interviewed about the various ways of
dealing with mosquitoes and said the propane zappers were a good gift
for a neighbor. He wouldn't use one on his property though.
It was a while ago, but I think his conclusion was deet and fans for
the best reduction in bites.
I find that this works pretty well.
Its got some drawbacks though. Since it outputs a gas to repel
mosquitos, any breeze reduces its effectiveness, and it takes several
minutes for the concentration of repellant to build up to effective
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.