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.
If you are going to have a party, toss pieces of dry ice into a ditch
a few hundred feet away. They go for the carbon dioxide in your
the dry ice provides plenty of that, makes them head for the source.
Some have good luck with the traps, some don't. And there are some
possible reasons for the disparity. For one thing, wind direction. If
is a very gentle air movement sending the machine's attractant, but
mosquitoes heading for it find you before they get to it, you would
saying that it isn't doing the job. But if the neighbors on both sides
you use them, you would be saying you don't need one.
Most anything that makes carbon dioxide can serve as an attractant,
even the family dog. If you decide to get a device, be sure to decide
where your prevailing winds come from, and if wind speed is 3 miles
an hour or more, turn the unit off to save gas.
Also, consider taking 100mg. Vitamin B before you're going to be in
the yard, especially during the evening. And Avon Skin-So-Soft might
not be a bad idea, either. Neither are going to hurt, might help.
on 8/15/2009 10:45 AM (ET) Yard Guy wrote the following:
The best mosquito killers are Bats. Build some Bat houses around your
yard. Bats require no electricity, chemicals, devices,or other man made
objects, other than the bat house, to eliminate mosquitoes and other
While I've got nothing against bats, and wouldn't mind if there were
some around my place (I don't think there are any), I can't believe that
a mosquito is large enough to have an acoustic profile that would result
in it reflecting enough sound back to a bat to allow for echo location.
Or that there are enough calories in a mosquito to be worth the effort.
In other words, while I can believe that bats can detect, and eat, a lot
of flying insects (moths, etc) I simply don't believe that mosquitoes
form any significant portion of their diet.
A bat that eats one mosquito per night would not it a good reason to try
to attract bats to my back yard.
And you didn't respond to my comment that I question if a mosquito is
large enough to be detectible to the echo-location mechanism that bats
use to locate and consume their flying food items at night.
"A single bat can swallow 600 to 1,000 mosquitoes an hour, depending on the
bat species. An individual bat feeds for an hour or so at dusk and retreats
to its home site to rest. A second feeding may take place near dawn. With
about 100 small brown bats in a typical single colony, a lot of mosquitoes
can disappear in a single night. "
When I lived in the Chicago area, a
local TV station did a test of various
mosquito units. As I recall, they found
these units to work real well. On
the down side, they were expensive and
expensive to run. They found
that the bug zappers not to do as well
(I'm digging this out from about 3
years ago, so it might not be real
accurate). Also, the one thing I remember
is that products like "Bug Free
Backyard" work almost as well and are
very cheap comparatively. You do have
to apply them every 3 weeks
or so. I've used this stuff in the
Chicago suburbs and
have been very happy with the results
.... probably poisoning me and
everything around me.
Thats not surprising given that many in mosquito
infested areas find that they dont see any mosquitos
inside the house while the lights are on in the evening, and
get them zooming around you in bed with the lights off.
They clearly do prefer the dark.
It would be interesting to see if part of the reason for
the variable results some get with propane traps is just
whether they are located where its dark and where its not.
Yeah, the maintenance man at one place I worked
at believed in those and applied them when there
was a big outside barbeque at work in the evening.
This is in an irrigation area where the mosquitos
have 6 engines. Worked very well.
Have you considred building bat houses? Environmentally friendly,
affordable, and feuled by mosquitos... Bats eat a thousand mosquitos
a night, and are rumored to be much more effective than birds at
eliminating mosquitos (as they don't eat as many dragonflies). All
you need is a reliable water source for them and some cedar, and some
non-squeemish family members. Apperently they also eat some of those
grub-laying beetles that ruin you lawn.
I've got nothing against bats, and wouldn't mind if there were bats
flying around my place at night (there might very well be - I don't know
- it's hard to see when it's dark out).
But it's a fallacy that bats eat lots of mosquitoes.
I have no doubt that in more tropical or sub-tropical areas, rural, lots
of standing water, marshes, etc, that there are clouds of mosquitoes
where the bats can just fly around with their mouths open and collect
dozens of mosquitoes in a single pass and repeat that several times a
minute for several hours.
But in the northern half of the US and southern Canada, in urban or even
suburban residential back yards, you're not going to have these dense
clouds of mosquites and large open flyways for the bats to swoop in with
their mouths open and collect them.
Individual mosquitoes are too small to be detected by the bat's
echo-location system, and a single mosquito wouldn't give the bat enough
calories to make the effort worth it.
Am I to assume that there is a debate regarding these propane-powered
traps, and if by the sake of their operation they end up attracting more
mosquitoes to an area than would ordinarily be there in the first place,
and that they may not capture these excess mosquitoes, thereby making
the mosquito problem worse for the backyard the unit is located in?
Not that so much as many cant seem to grasp that by their
nature they are going to be quite dependant on the wind.
With that sort of variable, its not surprising that few can really
grasp the basics of when they work well and when they dont.
The other complication is that counterflow traps work a lot better
that traps that dont have counterflow as well as the propane.
That wouldnt matter if they then trap the mosquitos effectively.
They should do that if they are well designed.
There is no evidence of that. Like with anything tho, some work better than
My limited experience with the controversy stems from the many
factors that influence the effectiveness of the traps (prevailing
wind, landscaping, etc.)
I maintain 2 Liberty Plus / Mosquito Magnets (cordless 1 acre
version) for three years now.
One for me (mine) and one for in-laws (theirs).
After many attempts to find optimal locations by moving the traps
around the two properties my results are as follows.
Mine is very effective, catching lots of mosquitos and a
noticeable reduction in mosquito troubles.
Theirs is not effective, catching relatively few and having
continual mosquito troubles.
Mine is on the edge/corner of the yard at the top of a sloping
open lawn with bushes around the perimeter and away from the
Theirs is at the edge of a heavily wooded lot with sloping hill,
a creek nearby, rock outcrops, oddly shaped yard and open
space/patio bordered by low thick bushes.
When i purchased my traps the hardware guy offered me an
annecdote about how one year there was a run on their mosquito
trap inventory. The traps were returned in droves with the
primary complaint being they made the mosquito problem worse.
When he asked about the location of the mosquito traps it was
mostly placed on the deck or patio. So, the traps were just
attracting the mosquitos to the areas where people did not want
The location of the trap in the yard should make no difference - and I
would say that you want the trap to be located where you or other people
usually are in the yard - not in some distant, isolated corner.
The idea that wind is an issue is bogus. If it's too windy for the trap
to work then it's also too windy for a mosquito to find and land on me
It seems that these devices are good at attracting mosquitoes, but not
If they attract more mosquitoes to their immediate area than would
ordinarily be there, and if they don't vacuum up 100% of those excess
mosquites AS WELL AS capture some of the ones that were already there,
then the devices are clearly not beneficial to have.
I want the mosquitoes that ARE close to me to be attracted and captured
BY THE TRAP. That's not going to happen if the trap is 100 feet from me
in some isolated corner of the yard.
First you say that wind is bad for these traps to operate, now you say
that a downwind is necessary. Which one is it?
Well guess what. Just me being there will attract mosquitos to that
area. So we're back to square one.
That's the problem with these things. They seem to do a terrible job at
actually capturing them.
Again, your statements are contradictory.
- "you clearly will only attract mosquitos from downwind"
- "Light wind makes it harder for mosquitos to work out where
the CO2 and smells are coming from"
Can a "downwind" also be a "light wind"?
When the Mosquito magnet was first out and very popular, they had an
interactive "video" on their web site. (in fact, they still do, as I just
found when I looked) that shows pretty much what Rod is saying.
http://support.mosquitomagnet.com/placement/start.html . The prevailing wind
direction, and the placement of the unit is critical to the success of its
operation. I tried mine everywhere I could think of, and it still only
catches less than 20 mosquitoes each night. It definitely must not be
placed where you hang out.
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