Most backyard barbecue attendees would agree that swatting mosquitoes away from their exposed skin really bugs them. But there’s a way to keep itchy bites, annoying buzzing, and the possibility of disease from ruining your plans: by arming yourself with the best mosquito killer.
Whether you’re in a backyard oasis or snuggled up in bed on a summer night, having the best mosquito killer can keep those bloodsuckers at bay. You’ll be able to relax and enjoy the warmer months to their fullest without swatting pests or soaking yourself in bug spray.
- BEST OVERALL: HEMIUA Bug Zapper for Outdoor and Indoor
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: SPECTRUM BRANDS 61067 HG-61067 Rts Bug Free Spray
- BEST WALL-MOUNTED: DynaTrap DT1100 Insect Trap
- BEST PORTABLE: DynaTrap DT1775 Insct Trap AtraktaGlo Light
- BEST ECO-FRIENDLY: Summit Responsible Solutions Mosquito Bits
- BEST FOGGER: Cutter Backyard Bug Control Outdoor Fogger
- BEST INSECTICIDE: Black Flag 190255 32Oz Insect Fogger Fuel
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Mosquito Killer
In order to control the hordes of mosquitoes that bombard backyard soirees or sneak into homes during the warmer months every year, only the best mosquito killer will do. The following are a few points to keep in mind when picking the best mosquito killer.
There are several types of mosquito killers available for handling those pesky critters. Here are some of the most common types to choose from.
- Insecticides are chemicals that attack infestations. Homeowners can apply these chemicals, which affect bugs’ central nervous systems, through a sprayer, fogger, or mister. The most common types of insecticide are malathion and permethrin-based, both of which are safe for humans, but permethrin can be toxic to bees and fish.
- Zappers attract flying insects toward a bright light and then electrify them once they land. They’re not particularly effective at reducing the population in your backyard, but they’re excellent for keeping them away during the time folks are outside relaxing.
- Lures can be effective at handling mosquitoes, particularly inside the home. They mimic the carbon dioxide humans exhale, causing the mosquitoes to investigate. But when they land, they’ll find themselves stuck to a sticky pad or caught in a canister where they’ll dehydrate and die.
- Foggers come in two forms: aerosol cans and liquids poured into fogging machines. They contain pesticides that interrupt the mosquitoes’ central nervous system. Like standard insecticides, they’re excellent for handling infestations or for use in large yards.
Indoor vs. Outdoor
Mosquitoes are annoying and dangerous no matter where they are, but how to treat them outdoors can vary from how to handle them inside the home. When it comes to outdoor mosquito problems, just about anything goes. A homeowner can employ a sprayer filled with insecticide to treat the yard, use a fogger to create a bug barrier, or plug in a bug zapper to help wipe out those blood-bound bogies before they can land on anyone’s skin.
Indoors is a different story. While bug zappers are safe enough to use indoors (though maybe a bit noisy), foggers and insecticides are better left outside. Instead of the chemicals and loud zaps, consider using a lure. Lures will attract the mosquitoes, catch them in a caster or on a sticky pad, and cause them to dehydrate, effectively controlling the bug population inside the home.
Chemical vs. Natural Ingredients
Some of the best mosquito killers use ingredients specifically designed to kill mosquitoes. Those ingredients can be chemically derived or natural.
Chemical ingredients come in two main varieties: larvicides and adulticides. Larvicides target mosquito eggs in standing water, while adulticides attack the fully grown bugs. Larvicides might contain a chemical known as temephos, while adulticides favor malathion or permethrin.
While most natural ingredients actually repel mosquitoes rather than kill them, there are some naturally occurring compounds that will help reduce the mosquito population. A compound found in rosemary oil, peppermint oil, and citronella (as in citronella candles) called geraniol 600 can do the trick without powerful chemicals.
Many of the best mosquito killers are nondiscriminatory, meaning they’re effective at killing several types of bug species. Different products are capable of killing ticks, fungus gnats, and mosquitoes.
This broad-stroke approach can be good and bad. On the one hand, there’ll be fewer mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and moths to worry about. On the other hand, this method can inadvertently end up killing pollinators such as honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies, and other helpful insects.
To avoid killing these important species, the best approach is to use a bug zapper or trap. They’re most effective at night when mosquitoes are active, while pollinators are tucked away till morning.
Each method of mosquito eradication has a different level of convenience (or inconvenience). For instance, foggers are extremely effective, but they aren’t all that long-lasting. They’re easy to spray, but they require frequent reapplication, especially right after a soaking rain or a hot, dry week.
When it comes to bug zappers, convenience has a lot to do with portability. While they’re lightweight and easy to move around, they require an extension cord to plug them in. Battery-operated zappers aren’t as effective; they trade function for convenience.
When dealing with a product designed to kill something, safety should be front of mind. Make sure that whoever is using the product takes proper safety precautions and that it won’t affect family, pets, visitors, or other wildlife.
Mosquito lures, traps, and zappers have the least impact on the environment, and they’re all equally safe to humans and pets. Treat insecticides and foggers with caution, as they are poisons—just on a smaller scale. Wearing a respirator is probably a good idea to avoid any respiratory irritation. Although it’s not necessary, changing clothes after application will limit exposure to the chemical.
Our Top Picks
Now that you know a bit more about the different types of mosquito killers, you’re ready to start shopping and comparing the various products on the market. Below is a list of some of the best mosquito killer products available for controlling these annoying pests both outdoors and in.
Homeowners looking for a portable mosquito-killing solution for both indoors and out should check out the HEMIUA Bug Zapper. This electric bug zapper features a 15-watt ultraviolet light that lures bugs in and a 4,200-volt electrical grid that zaps them instantly—and silently. It’s also weatherproof and has a top-mounted ring, making it easy to hang outdoors, where it can cover up to 1,000 square feet of yard space.
While the HEMIUA is killer for mosquitoes and other flying bugs like gnats, moths, and flies, it’s safe for use around people. The electrical grid sits behind an ABS plastic shroud that allows bugs in but keeps humans out. There’s a twist-off cap on the bottom of the unit for emptying, which homeowners should do about once a week.
Treating an entire yard for mosquitoes or other insects can be a time-consuming hassle, but Spectrum’s Bug Free Spray does the trick quickly and easily. This 1-quart bottle of chemical insecticide screws onto the end of a garden hose, allowing the user to cover up to 5,000 square feet of yard without mixing chemicals or requiring expensive equipment.
This spray contains lambda-cyhalothrin, which is a synthetic version of naturally occurring pyrethrins. It works by disrupting the bugs’ central nervous systems and killing them. As it is a poison, users should wear gloves when applying, and though the water-based formula isn’t likely to require a respirator, it never hurts to throw one on. Each spraying can last several weeks, and Spectrum suggests using the product no more than 14 times each year.
Those concerned about their mosquito killer’s aesthetics should check out DynaTrap’s DT1100. This electric bug trap comes with a detachable wall mount that gives the trap a pleasing, lantern-like look while providing plenty of bug-killing capability both indoors and out.
The DT1100 features a UV light and a quiet fan that work together to attract and capture insects without loud zaps or buzzing. Once trapped, the fan continues to dehydrate the bugs, causing them to die in the bottom of the fan. Once full, simply detach the canister, empty it in a trash can, and replace it on the unit.
This trap can handle areas up to half an acre in size, and the top-mounted ring allows it to hang from a garden hook as well, making it versatile enough for the entire yard. It’s effective against mosquitoes, wasps, gnats, flies, and other flying insects.
Portability often comes at the cost of functionality, but that’s not the case with the DynaTrap1775 Insct Trap. This electric trap weighs just 9 pounds and features a flat bottom for tabletop use and a top-mounted ring for hanging, making it portable enough to take anywhere there’s electricity. Not only is it highly portable, but it also has an extended coverage area of up to 1 acre.
The DT1775 uses a UV light and a quiet fan to attract bugs and suck them into the canister at the bottom of the unit. There they’ll stay until they dehydrate and die. Emptying the canister is easy: Simply twist it off and dump the contents, then twist it back on.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, which can make getting rid of them tough for those who have ponds on their properties. Summit Responsible Solutions’ Mosquito Bits tackles this problem, killing mosquito larvae in ponds, birdbaths, and marshy portions of property. This product uses bacillus thuringiensis insecticide, or BTI, to target the eggs without fogging or spraying the entire yard.
Since mosquitoes lay their eggs on the water’s surface, the 30-ounce jug of Mosquito Bits can treat up to 5,000 square feet of water or marshy areas. Simply follow the instructions and sprinkle the bits into the water to eradicate mosquitoes before they can grow into flying, biting adults.
Backyard fogging doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. Cutter’s Backyard Bug Control Outdoor Fogger offers an aerosol solution that applies in minutes and protects for hours. This two-pack of 16-ounce cans offers up to 2,400 cubic feet of coverage while lasting up to six hours.
Cutter’s Backyard Bug Control Outdoor Fogger is effective against mosquitoes, gnats, flies, wasps, flying moths, and ants. It uses tetramethrin—a crystalline insecticide—and phenothrin, which is an insecticide used in many aerosol sprays.
Keep in mind that tetramethrin is extremely toxic to bees, so spraying it at night when bees are home for the evening is a good idea.
One of the quickest and most effective ways to apply an insecticide is with a fogger. Black Flag’s Insect Fogger Fuel uses pyrethroid compounds found in chrysanthemums to effectively kill mosquitoes and other flying bugs for up to six hours.
While application is easy, it does require purchasing a fogger separately, as well as screw-on propane tanks. Simply top off the reservoir with Black Flag Fogger Fuel, screw on the propane tank, and light the fogger to produce a thick fog for spraying around bushes and other areas where mosquitoes hide at night. Each bottle can cover an average of 5,000 square feet, and it’s effective for up to six hours.
FAQs About Mosquito Killers
Mosquito killers are designed to kill things, so apprehensiveness is warranted and further questions are understandable. To help, below is a collection of some of the most frequently asked questions about the best mosquito killers.
Q. Does a bug zapper kill mosquitoes?
Bug zappers do indeed kill mosquitoes. Their UV light attracts mosquitoes, causing them to land on the electrified grid, killing them instantly.
Q. Are mosquitoes attracted to UV light?
Mosquitoes are attracted to UV light, carbon dioxide, and alcohol.
Q. Are mosquito killers dangerous for people?
No poisons are good for any organism. But most mosquito killers, particularly those that attract and zap or dehydrate bugs, are harmless for humans if used properly.