Summer is all about long warm days and relaxing evenings that you can spend in your backyard, with friends and family. Or at least it would be if you wouldn’t have to flap your hands around half the time to scatter swarms of blood-thirsty mosquitoes.
These carriers of diseases and bringers of rashes are, without a doubt, the world’s greatest annoyance. Luckily, there are plenty of preventive measures that can help you survive their onslaught.
In our previous chapter, Mosquito Repellent 101: How to Efficiently Prevent Mosquito Bites, we delved into the details of mosquito repellent solutions. In this second chapter, we will take a closer look at the best mosquito traps to find out how they can be used to draw these insects away & teach you how to wipe out mosquito breeding grounds.
While it is true that mosquito traps are efficient against mosquitoes, they are still an emerging technology. Please be cautioned against putting too much faith in them as your single means of control. Successful mosquito control requires a well-formulated plan of attack that consists of 4 fundamental steps:
- Drawing mosquitoes away from outdoor & indoor spaces (with mosquito traps).
- Wiping out mosquito breeding grounds (with mosquito dunks, bits, and barriers).
- Applying repellent to prevent mosquitoes from entering your yard or home.
- Protecting your body (with repellents, zappers, or candles).
Following this plan from start to finish would guarantee relief from mosquito infestations once and for all. However, most people skip step #1 and #2, and jump directly to #3 and #4, without realizing that simply applying mosquito repellent will only solve the problem temporarily.
In the following guide, you will find out all you need to know about the best mosquito traps.
- 1 How to Choose the Best Mosquito Trap
- 2 Types of Mosquito Traps
- 3 How to Maximize Mosquito Trap Effectiveness during Breeding Cycles
- 4 Best Mosquito Traps for Indoor Use
- 5 Best Mosquito Traps for Outdoor Use
- 6 Mosquito Trap Placement & Optimization
- 7 Best DIY Mosquito Traps
- 8 How to Prevent Mosquitoes from Breeding
- 9 How to Protect Ornamental Pools & Ponds
- 10 How to Protect Swimming Pools
- 11 How to Kill Mosquito Larvae in a Pool of Water
How to Choose the Best Mosquito Trap
The first step to achieving ultimate mosquito control is luring them away from your outdoor & indoor living areas. This can be done by setting up mosquito traps around the perimeter of your property. The best outdoor mosquito traps will offer immediate, as well as long-term relief from infestations, by disrupting the breeding cycle of mosquitoes.
Before you choose a mosquito trap, you have to understand how they work, and ultimately, how mosquitoes work. When they’re in the search of blood, female mosquitoes fly roughly 25 feet or less off the ground, and they use sensing organs to find prey:
- Two light-sensitive eyes, accompanied by compound eyes that are made from hundreds of tiny lenses, help them spot movement. This organ is particularly important for day-biters that rely on visual cues.
- Antennae help female mosquitoes detect the carbon dioxide released by a human’s lungs. Furthermore, mosquitoes can pick-up more than 340 chemical odors produced by our skin (e.g. octenol).
- Maxillary palpus is an organ located on a mosquito’s head. It is used to detect heat, thus enabling mosquitoes to locate warm-blooded prey & identify capillaries close to the skin that are easy to reach.
Types of Mosquito Traps
The best mosquito traps take advantage of a mosquito’s sensing organs. They imitate the smells, warmth, and movements of humans to lure in mosquitoes and trap them. Below are the most popular types of mosquito traps.
Propane Mosquito Traps
The main purpose of a propane mosquito trap is to divert a mosquito’s attention from a human (to it), by imitating body odors and/or excreting artificial CO2. The latter is produced through the oxidation of propane in a catalytic burner. As for body smells, propane mosquito traps use baits such as Lurex3 or Octenol.
For propane traps to be effective, they must run at the right time (at the very beginning of mosquito season, to disrupt their breeding cycle).
- Advantages of propane mosquito traps: they also catch other insects, they perform a number of tasks (irradiate heat, sprinkle water, emit CO2), available as wireless or wired models, easy to set-up.
- Disadvantages of propane mosquito traps: slightly expensive expandable material & you will have to buy your own propane tank.
CO2 Mosquito Traps
Carbon dioxide baited mosquito traps have been on the market for over a decade. New commercial traps use CO2 as an attractant – carbon dioxide is obtained through the catalytic burning of propane, or it is generated chemically & photo-catalytically.
Several studies demonstrate that CO2 traps are efficient in catching mosquitoes, but many homeowners wonder if this will also result in a measurable reduction in the number of mosquito bites in the area that the trap is designed to protect.
This is difficult to measure because mosquito numbers vary according to the time of day and breeding cycles. Studies that have taken into account mosquito activity as a key outcome demonstrate that one trap alone isn’t enough to provide relief. However, strategically placing an array of traps in a neighborhood has been shown to reduce biting.
Heat Mosquito Traps
Mosquitoes use heat sensing to spot a human’s activity. Some mosquito traps (e.g. the Black Hole, Goblin, Skeeter Vac, or MegaCatch) use a combination of attractants – one of which is heat. These traps emit heat as infrared light. Heat mosquito traps are extremely effective for smaller indoor areas.
H2O Mosquito Traps
H2O mosquito traps are easily distinguishable, due to the existence of an open tray for water. They are effective both indoors and outdoors. Mosquitoes always lay their eggs in water surroundings, but they drown quickly in any other liquid. H2O traps use the liquid as both bait and killing device.
Many homeowners stress the superiority of H2O mosquito traps over other solutions, such as light indoor traps. Furthermore, compared to propane analogs, H2O traps are more cost-effective because they do not require any accessories (attractants, poisons, gas balloons, etc.).
If you’re not bothered by the gross appearance of “mosquito soups”, then H2O mosquito traps might be a great choice.
UV Indoor Traps
Many mosquito traps have been designed for indoor use. Because manufacturers try to avoid the use of chemical devices within homes, the notion of light & heat mosquito traps has become synonymous with indoor trap.
UV Indoor traps use line power connection to generate ultra violet light. This type of trap is extremely safe, and it will not disturb the sleep of inhabitants. Plus, it’s super cheap! Budget UV indoor traps cost around $20-$100. The only real downsides of UV indoor traps are the relatively high noise generated by the ventilator & the dependence on electricity.
How to Maximize Mosquito Trap Effectiveness during Breeding Cycles
Mosquito traps can be used anytime there is a need for them but there is a way to maximize their effectiveness. Keeping track of mosquito breeding cycles can help you know when to expect a surge in the mosquito population and use the traps that you have at your disposal to prevent infestations, eliminate larvae, and exterminate the insects before they have a chance to breed again.
Mosquitoes will typically appear in spring as the weather gets warmer and disappear in winter when temperatures drop below freezing point. However, their breeding cycles will vary depending on where you live so it’s important to keep track of them and take all of the possible preemptive measures to avoid a surge in mosquito numbers.
As the start of each mosquito season is influenced by rainfall as well as temperature, the mosquito activity in your area will vary from one year to the other. Using traps and repellents during certain times can help you eliminate more mosquitoes, larvae, and eggs. Here are a few guidelines to help you figure out the beginning and end of each region’s mosquito season.
Once you’ve noticed the weather get warm enough for mosquitoes to appear in your region, you can start using repellents and mosquito traps to eliminate the insects before they can breed, significantly reducing their numbers. Doing so will allow you to maximize the potential of your mosquito traps and reinforce a long-term solution to repel and exterminate the insects.
Best Mosquito Traps for Indoor Use
A wide array of mosquito traps have been designed for indoor use. The most popular indoor mosquito traps come from manufacturers such as Stinger, Flowtron, and Cocoweb.
Stinger Indoor Trap
The Stinger Indoor Insect Trap is one of the most popular & easy-to-use budget solutions. It is also quite ecological. The trap attracts mosquitoes with the help of its UV lamp that gives of white light. Mosquitoes enter the trap and dry-off in a matter of hours.
Homeowners can remove or clean the sliding mosquito collector easily. This mosquito trap also saves users from unpleasant encounters with nasty fluids. However, you should keep in mind that the Stinger Indoor Insect Trap must be cleaned once a month.
Amazon reviews for the trap are contrasting – nearly as many 5-stars as there are 1-stars, so you should check a few out before buying.
Additional Product information: 8.4 x 8.4 x 12.4 inches, 3.9 pounds.
Dynatrap XL Insect Trap Model DT2000XL
The odor-free Dynatrap DT200XL Mosquito Trap was designed for indoor & outdoor use. It consists of two UV bulbs, a catch cage, and a 7-foot cord. As the name suggests, this trap attracts and kills mosquitoes across one acre.
Insects are initially attracted by the trap’s UV fluorescent bulb that generates warm light. The trap’s second lure consists of a titanium dioxide-coated surface that produces CO2. Once they get close enough, mosquitoes are sucked into a whisper-quiet vacuum with a retaining cage, where they dry-up and die.
Despite the fact that the Dynatrap DT2000XL is recommended for indoor & outdoor use, I strongly suggest using it only indoors because it covers a smaller area than advertised. According to reviews, it will provide good coverage for a ¼ acre area and help you clean out an entire area, even during summer’s most difficult months.
Be advised that the Dynatrap will also catch other insects, such as moths and flies, but what’s wrong with that!
Additional Product information: 16 x 14 x 14 inches, 4.8 pounds
INADAYS InaTrap Insect Killer & Night Light
If you’re looking for a stylish and compact indoor mosquito trap, then you should definitely check out the INADAYS InaTrap. The winner of the 2012 Taiwan Excellence Award boasts powerful mosquito trapping capabilities. Disguised under the form of a night-lamp, the unit, which features a powerful LED light bulb, can last around 30,000 hours will attract flying insects from day one.
Despite the fact the product has received mixed reviews, the INADAYS Inatrap seems to hold true to its promise. The only thing you have to worry about is quickly removing insects once the fan goes off.
How it works:
“This is a stylish device that looks like a nightlight. It is lit by a very small CCFL that emits a blue or violet light that attracts the insects into the lamp. A special chamber creates a vortex driven by a small, fast-spinning computer fan that is virtually silent (…). The ideal place to set the lamp is near the entry way into your home.”
Additional Product Information: 8.5 x 8.6 x 12.3 inches | 2.9 pounds
DynaTrap Indoor Mosquito Trap DT0500IN
The DynaTrap DT0500IN indoor trap is another popular product. While the unit has received contrasting reviews, reading the reviews will reveal the fact that many buyers did not read the product’s specifications (e.g. using it outdoors when it was meant for indoor use). If you want to get the best mosquito trap, you have to thoroughly read the product’s capabilities.
I find the DynaTrap Mosquito trap quite effective for killing mosquitoes and other winged nuisances, such as pantry moths, and flies. The unit can be placed on a table-top or mounted on a wall.
How it works: Like most indoor mosquito traps, the DynaTrap DT0500IN attracts flying pests with a UV fluorescent bulb that generates warm light. The insects are then lured even closer with a TIO2 surface that produces CO2 and sucked in by a quiet vacuum.
Additional Product information: 13 x 10 x 6 inches, 5 pounds | 10 ft cord
Electronic Insect Killer for Indoor Use, SKUniverse
The SKUniverse Electronic Insect trap uses a powerful UV bulb as an attractant. Flying pests and mosquitoes can be killed without disturbing the household and removed from the unit’s washable tray in a matter of minutes.
The Electronic Insect Killer has a broad coverage area, of 860 square feet, making it ideal for indoor spaces and covered patios. Thanks to its 10-ft cord & built-in hook, you can hang the mosquito trap from a mantle in your house. Another plus is the fact that this mosquito trap actually looks stylish enough to be confused with a décor piece.
Additional Product information: 13 x 10 x 6 inches, 5 pounds.
Other indoor mosquito traps:
- Stinger’s Rechargeable Cordless Insect Killer
- Flowtron PV-440 Galaxie Power-Vac
- Klau Electronic Indoor Mosquito Trap
- Not a trap, but a worthy mention: Portable Thermacell Mosquito Repeller
Best Mosquito Traps for Outdoor Use
Now that you have a better idea about the best products for indoor use let’s take a look at some of the best outdoor mosquito traps.
Mega-Catch PRO 900 PREMIER XC Mosquito Trap
If you’re looking for a cheap solution, then the Mega-Catch Pro 900 Premier Mosquito Trap is probably out of your budget range. Nevertheless, if you’re willing to spend a bit over the market price for a reliable piece of equipment, then you should consider investing in this eco-friendly unit.
The scaled-down version of the Mega-Catch PREMIER XC & ULTRA traps uses a sophisticated infrared energy source, dual frequency UV LEDs and a heated core with digital pulse width modulation to attract and kill mosquitoes. Furthermore, homeowners have two operation options: wet catch (using the included bucket), or dry catch (using the included net).
What do buyers have to say about this product? The vast majority of buyers gave the Mega-Catch PRO 900 five and four-star reviews. Naturally, there are some 1-start & 2-star stragglers as well. There is one review in particular that is extremely useful for first-time buyers:
Be realistic and you’ll love it. It takes several weeks of continuous trapping to interrupt the reproduction cycle. If you stick this trap in your yard and then expect mosquitoes to be gone immediately, you just don’t get it. C’mon, people, read the directions!
Additional Product Information: 12.5 x 14.5 x 22 inches, 15.4 pounds
Dynatrap DT1050 Outdoor Mosquito Trap
This is probably one of the most appreciated mosquito traps produced by DynaTrap. The smokeless, odour-free unit uses a unique twist-on/off feature to protect backyards from pesky mosquitoes. All you have to do to use the DynaTrap DT1050 mosquito trap is to install it your yard.
This attractive bug trap will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to disrupt breeding cycles of mosquitoes and suck them into its vacuum. We strongly recommend opting for the DynaTrap DT1050 for heavy outdoor use.
Not only do we barely notice the mosquitoes outside, but the pile of dead bugs that accumulates in the trap each week is solid evidence.
Additional Product Information: 10 x 10 x 12 inches, 4 pounds
Mosquito Magnet MM4200 Patriot
It may not be the prettiest of the bunch, but the Mosquito Magnet MM420 Patriot Plus trap is a solid unit for outdoor use. This silent trap mimics large mammals by emitting a combination of heat, carbon dioxide, and moisture to attract female mosquitoes. Once they get close enough, the blood-thirsty ladies are sucked into the vacuum where they dry-off and die.
This trap is ideal for heavy outdoor use. It comes equipped with a 50-foot, 12V power cord that allows placement virtually anywhere in the yard. Furthermore, the unit is made from marine grade metals and durable plastic, thus allowing it to survive in harsh environments.
Homeowners are advised to give the unit at least four weeks to see significant results. The Mosquito Magnet MM4200 has been demonstrated to disrupt breeding cycles of mosquitoes.
Additional Product Information: 16 x 22.6 x 17.2 inches | 22.1 pounds
Blue Rhino SV3100 SkeeterVac
As you can see, most outdoor mosquito traps sit at the expensive end of the spectrum. The Blue Rhino SV3100 SkeeterVac Mosquito Eliminator is no exception. But what exactly can this unit do for its whopping $336.52 price? Kill plenty of mosquitoes, obviously.
The unit clean-burns propane into carbon dioxide to attract mosquitoes. The Blue Rhino SkeeterVac even allows you to set an attractant that matches the area’s indigenous species of mosquitoes. Once the bugs come close enough, they will be sucked into the Vac&Tac trapping system.
According to the user manual, you should see significant results within 3 to 6 weeks of using the SkeeterVac. Do keep in mind that the propane tank is sold separately.
Additional Product Information: 24.9 x 12.1 x 31 inches, 19 pounds
Koolatron Guardian Pro Bite Shield Cordless Mosquito Trap
The last product on our list of best outdoor mosquito traps is the Koolatron Guardian Pro Bite Shield, a not-so-popular unit that packs quite a punch. This product promises to draw annoying insects away from where your loved ones gather.
The waterproof unit is simple to assemble and operates with a 20-pound propane tank that you have to buy separately. The Koolatron Guardian Pro Bite uses a combination of thermal imaging, airflow movement, moisture, and carbon dioxide emissions to attract and trap mosquitoes.
What do customers have to say?
Some buyers are disappointed; others say that it works as promised. As is the case with most mosquito killing products, you have to take reviews with a grain and salt and remember that trapping mosquitoes alone isn’t enough to get rid of them.
Additional Product Information: 14.25 x 16 x 19 inches
Mosquito Trap Placement & Optimization
Proper placement of mosquito traps is as important as the product itself. Here are a few rules you should follow:
- The Right Attractant: As previously mentioned, propane traps use two different types of attractant: octenol (standard & R-octenol) and Lurex. To ensure that you maximize the effects of your mosquito trap you will have to use the right attractant. According to this study, standard octenol is commonly used in North America & Canada, while Lurex is used in southern America.
- The Right Height. For maximum effect, you should place the trap at the right height. Studies have shown that the optimum height is between 40 and 70 cm from the ground. The mosquito trap should not be placed under direct sunlight.
- The Right Distance. A common mistake of home owners is placing the trap too close to the area where they usually sit. Never do this! This will confuse mosquitoes and draw them to you, instead of the trap. You should place your unit minimum 10-20 meters away from where you’re sitting.
- Damp vs. Humid Environments. Avoid placing your trap near humid environments. If possible, place it in a damp area near a marshland or stream.
- Wind Direction is another important consideration. As a general rule, the airflow carrying the scent emitted by your trap should interrupt the flight path of mosquitoes. This would be next to the wetlands where females place their eggs.
Best DIY Mosquito Traps
If you’re reluctant to spend money on commercial mosquito traps, you might want to check out a few DIY solutions that work.
How to Use Baking Soda to Trap Mosquitoes
Remember the old baking soda & coke trick? Apparently it’s not as useless as it seems. This trick can be used to trap & kill mosquitoes.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Step #1: Drink a 2-liter soda bottle, wash it out, and let it dry.
- Step #2: Cut the bottle in half.
- Step #3: Place ¼ cup of baking soda on the bottom part of the bottle.
- Step #4: Invert the top of the bottle, so that it becomes a funnel, and place it over the bottom part of the bottle. Use tape to secure the two parts.
- Step #5: Pour one cup of vinegar into the bottle. When the two substances come in contact, they will produce bubbles and release CO2 that attracts mosquitoes.
- Step #6: Wait for mosquitoes to come close to the bottle. They will become trapped and die.
How to Trap Mosquitoes Using Old Tires
According to ScienceAlert, Zika-spreading mosquitoes can be trapped with a simple & effective DIY solution. Canadian and Mexican scientists have come up with a great solution that tricks mosquitoes into laying their eggs in old tires. Check out the video to see how the trap is made.
Sticky Paste on Paper
This mosquito trapping trick is as old as time. All you have to do is to find some old pieces of paper or cardboard and cover them with a paste of sugar, corn syrup, and water. Place the papers strategically around the house. Mosquitoes will be drawn by the smell and glued to the paper. Great for indoor use!
Or buy your own Fly Paper here.
How to Prevent Mosquitoes from Breeding
Before we conclude this guide, I would like to show you how to prevent or wipe out mosquito breeding grounds (step #2 of the mosquito control plan).
When we think about “pools of water” we immediately picture a pond, a lake, or a large pool. However, mosquitoes require precious-little amount of water to breed (even a 6-inch-diameter plant saucer with a finger of water is enough). So, in ‘mosquito speak’, any deposit of water can become a luscious pool for breeding. Here’s what you need to do to keep mosquitoes from breeding:
- Drain all the stagnant water in your yard. Reducing, if not eliminating, any standing water sources is the first and most important step to eradicating the threat. Make sure to drain all the sources, including gutters, plant saucers, spare tires, and pet bowls.
- Store your plastic wading pools inside the house or in the garage.
- Turn small boats and canoes upside down when you store them. Also, check for trapped water in covers and canvas tarps.
- Fix dripping faucets in your yard.
- Turn over compost piles regularly.
- Check water-holding areas, tree holes, and ornamental ponds once a week.
- If ditches near your home do not flow, they will create huge pools of stagnant water. This, in turn, will encourage mosquitoes to breed. Do not rush to clear these ditches, as they may be protected. Contact an expert!
- Turn over water-holding containers once a week (plastic jugs, tin cans, etc.)
- Clear leaves & dirt from your roof gutters and check flat roofs for standing water.
How to Protect Ornamental Pools & Ponds
- Place ponds in areas that are not sheltered from the wind. The movement of the water will deter female mosquitoes from laying their eggs.
- Opt for stone, plastic or concrete construction for the bottom and sides.
- Use a steep slope for your pond.
- Consider adding a fountain or aerator to the pond.
- Properly maintain the area around the pond (e.g. grass clippings, remove debris, tend to the weeds that grow too long, etc.)
How to Protect Swimming Pools
If they are properly maintained (chlorinated and cleaned with working circulation/filter systems), swimming pools provide poor mosquito-breeding conditions. However, if a pool sits idle for more than a week, it can become a breading area.
To kill mosquito larvae from a swimming pool simply remove all the water & organic matter. The larvae will be constrained to the bottom of the pool. Cover it until the pests dry-off, clean, and refill.
Mosquitoes love sodium just as much as they love sweets. It doesn’t really matter if you’re using salt-water or sweet-water for your pool.
How to Kill Mosquito Larvae in a Pool of Water
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, the inevitable happens: the pesky critter breed and your standing water pools turn into breeding grounds for mosquitos. Several years ago, local authorities would resolve this problem using mosquito larvicide, but at the moment, homeowners have to come up with their own solutions.
The following tips will show you how to kill mosquito larvae in a pool of water:
- Mineral Oil deters mosquitos from laying their eggs in a pool of water & will kill existing larvae. You can use a squirt gun to shoot oil into the pool.
- Use a woven leaf rake to skim the top of the pool and remove mosquito larvae and dead leaves. Repeat this action for a week to trap and kill all mosquito larvae.
- Pour several drops of kerosene into the pool. The kerosene will create an impenetrable film. This will kill larvae because they need oxygen to survive & breed.
- Add bleach to the pool once a month.
- Watch this video: (weird trick to kill mosquito larvae naturally).
This concludes our extended guide to mosquito control. Make sure you read the first chapter, as well as the second one, and follow all the steps describe to spend a relaxing, mosquito-free summer.