Controlling the mosquito population on your property is not only a matter of comfort, but also of health: These miserable adversaries cause skin irritation and itching, and they also spread deadly diseases like malaria, West Nile virus, and Zika virus. Using a high-quality mosquito repellent is the most effective way to protect yourself from being bitten, but you can take additional measures to reduce the number of mosquitoes on and around your property. One such measure is the mosquito trap.
Mosquito traps mimic the presence of a mosquito host, such as a human or large animal. In doing so, they lure mosquitoes into a deadly trap, so the bugs can’t bite people or spread disease. We’ve rounded up the best mosquito traps to keep your family and your property safe. Read on to learn the factors we considered when choosing the best traps and the advantages and disadvantages of our top picks.
- BEST OVERALL: DynaTrap Extra-Large Insect Trap
- RUNNER UP: Tysonir Electric Mosquito Zappers
- BEST MOUNTED OPTION: Faicuk Wall Sconce Fly Light Trap
- BEST FOR INDOORS: KATCHY Indoor Insect and Flying Bugs Trap
- BEST PORTABLE: DynaTrap Indoor Insect and Mosquito Trap
- ALSO CONSIDER: FENUN Mosquito Catcher Indoor
Types of Mosquito Traps
Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide that humans and animals exhale and the body heat that’s produced. A mosquito trap uses several different ways to mimic the presence of a large, warm-blooded creature to attract and capture mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are attracted to the heat that emanates from humans and other warm-blooded animals. An effective trap produces a thermal heat plume that mimics the presence of an animal. When a mosquito gets close, the trap’s intake fan pulls it in.
Many plug-in mosquito traps feature compact fluorescent or LED UV lighting. Unlike other insects, mosquitoes are not attracted to ultraviolet light alone. However, UV light enhances the effects of heat and carbon dioxide in a mosquito trap. Traps with UV lights are usually more effective than those without them.
Propane-powered mosquito traps are portable, and they produce both heat and carbon dioxide. When propane is burned, it gives off carbon dioxide. Because humans and animals exhale mostly carbon dioxide when they breathe, the hungry mosquitoes approach the propane-powered trap because they think they’re hot on the trail of a warm-blooded creature. When mosquitoes come close to the trap, they’re drawn into the collection chamber by the trap’s fans. These propane-powered devices are portable and self-contained, but they’re usually more expensive than electric mosquito traps.
To a mosquito, the presence of carbon dioxide is the primary clue that a meal is nearby. Some mosquito traps use plumes of carbon dioxide, whether it’s exhaust from burning propane or a compressed gas cylinder, to attract the insects. The plumes mimic a human’s exhaled breath, which attracts blood-feeding mosquitoes looking for a meal.
Standing water is a breeding habitat, and it should be eliminated in the landscape whenever possible. However, water also can serve as a trap for mosquitoes. Add Mosquito Bits to birdbaths, landscape ponds, and other water features. It’s a natural larvicide that kills mosquito larvae, but it’s safe for people, pets, frogs, fish, and other aquatic animals.
Although mosquitoes stick to sticky yellow flypaper, it’s not an effective mosquito trap. Glue boards, on the other hand, are an integral part of many mosquito traps. Essentially, a glue board is a piece of cardboard with adhesive on one side. When a mosquito is lured into a trap’s intake area, a fan sucks it into a collection chamber, where it crashes into a glue board and sticks to it.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Mosquito Trap
Whether your mosquito problem is indoors or out, in a large area or a small one, a mosquito trap is available. Keep reading to learn more about the criteria used to select the best mosquito traps for different situations.
Mosquito traps cannot guarantee that the mosquitoes won’t bite. A trap is most effective when used as part of a broader mosquito control program that includes habitat modification, physical barriers like window screens and clothing, insect repellents, and more. Before buying a mosquito trap, understand how it functions and its limitations. Ask these kinds of questions: How does the trap collect mosquitoes? How much area does it cover? How is it powered? Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions for setup and maintenance. Indoor mosquito traps may be ineffective for outdoor use, and outdoor traps placed in the wrong location may even make your mosquito problem worse.
Types of Mosquitoes
As of 2020, at least 176 mosquito species are known to exist in the United States. Each species acts on a unique set of visual, thermal, and scent cues to seek and find a blood meal. For this reason, different traps are designed to appeal to different mosquito species, but the reasons are not entirely clear. Though these devices are capable of capturing a variety of mosquitoes, trap manufacturers rarely provide data as to the success of their traps in attracting and eliminating specific species.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Use
Outdoor traps use carbon dioxide and heat—and sometimes light—to attract mosquitoes. Some traps also use scents meant to mimic human scent. Many outdoor mosquito traps capture a large quantity of insects inside a screened chamber where they dessicate, or dry out, until the chamber is emptied.
Indoor mosquito traps rely primarily on heat and light to attract bugs. A high level of indoor carbon dioxide is unhealthy, and the chemical odors some outdoor traps emit would be unbearable in a closed environment. Instead of a holding chamber filled with thousands of insect carcasses, most indoor traps contain the insects on sticky glue boards that can be replaced quickly, cleanly, and easily.
The length of time a propane mosquito trap can run has everything to do with the size of the propane cylinder. A small tank of propane (the size that attaches to a gas grill) can run a propane mosquito trap around the clock for about three weeks. Every time you refill the propane tank, remember to stay abreast with the other aspects of an outdoor trap’s maintenance, such as replacing scent attractants, emptying the collection chamber, and cleaning the vents.
Indoor traps also must be cleaned and emptied regularly. Glue boards inside most indoor traps last up to 30 days. Ultraviolet lamp bulbs last for approximately 3,000 hours, or for about four months, of continuous use.
Ease of Use
An electric mosquito trap is easy to set up and use: Just plug it in and turn it on. As mentioned, it requires the regular replacement of glue boards, cleaning of collection chambers and vents, and the occasional replacement of UV bulbs. These tasks are simple and take just minutes to perform, and they are easy to remember because they happen at regular intervals.
Propane traps are easy to use on a day-to-day basis but require a bit more work to maintain. You might have to haul a heavy propane tank to the far corner of your property. Cleaning these traps can be more time-consuming as well, because these larger devices attract more mosquitoes than their electric counterparts.
Some traps are designed to be set up and used in a single location. Wall units and some of the larger electric traps, for instance, must be positioned close to an electrical outlet. On the other hand, mosquito traps with USB adapters are easily moved around because they may be powered from a charger hub that is plugged into the wall or with a portable powerpack. Although their weight and bulk make them a bit more challenging to reposition on a whim, propane mosquito traps can be set up just about anywhere.
Our Top Picks
This trap from DynaTrap can reduce mosquito populations on properties of up to 1 acre in size. It plugs into a standard 110V electrical outlet and operates quietly 24 hours a day. Carbon dioxide emanates from the titanium dioxide surface, along with the off-gassing of organic matter inside the collection chamber. Warmth and ultraviolet light from two bulbs attract mosquitoes to the upper housing. A quiet fan pulls the insects into the metal retaining cage, where they dry out and die without zapping or buzzing. It’s easy to maintain, too—simply twist off the retaining cage and empty its contents.
With constant operation, the DynaTrap takes about three weeks to capture enough mosquitoes for there to be a noticeable impact. It can take up to six weeks to kill enough mosquitoes to disrupt the mosquito breeding cycle.
Tysonir’s electric bug zapper uses heat and ultraviolet light to attract mosquitoes and a variety of other bugs. Its 4200V electric shock grid, which is surrounded by a protective ABS plastic housing, quickly kills bugs. This unit plugs into a standard 110V-household power outlet. It’s rated for both indoor and outdoor use in all kinds of weather. Hang the lantern-style housing by the metal hang loop or set it on a solid surface. The Tysonir’s coverage area is 860 square feet. Simply unscrew the threaded base for quick cleanup. For best results, use this device in a dark room or an unlit outdoor area.
The Faicuk attracts mosquitoes and other flying insects with an 8W ultraviolet lamp. The trap’s reflective inner surface boosts the light’s intensity. It has a 6-foot power cord that plugs into a standard household electrical outlet, and it operates quietly with no buzzing, zapping, or fan noise. The glue board collection system captures bugs efficiently, and it’s easy to replace when needed (the unit comes with six replacement glue boards). Its coverage area extends 900 square feet.
The KATCHY trap uses UV light to attract mosquitoes and other insects. Place the trap near the source of the insects (a trash bin, for example) and its quiet fan will draw the bugs into the capture basket and onto a sticky glue board. Run this unit day and night, and you should see fewer bugs within about three days. Both the light and fan are powered by a USB cable that plugs into a wall adapter or a portable USB power source. This electric mosquito trap is also compatible with scent attractants.
This DynaTrap option is only slightly larger than an electric outlet cover. That makes it easy to move as needed. It plugs directly into a wall outlet, and it includes two built-in AC outlets so you can plug in other devices. Warm ultraviolet light attracts flying insects, trapping them on a sticky glue card hidden behind a decorative cover. The replaceable glue cards last for 30 to 60 days. Suitable for indoor use, this mosquito trap covers up to 600 square feet.
From FENUN, this trap uses a 5W ultraviolet light to attract mosquitoes and other biting insects. The light can be set to one of seven UV wavelengths to attract mosquitoes of specific species. The trap also uses simulated human body heat to enhance trapping ability. A quiet fan pulls bugs into the collection basket where they are held on a sticky glue board. To operate, the trap plugs into a standard outlet or a portable USB power source. It comes with multiple replacement glue boards. Each board lasts 30 to 60 days.
FAQ About Your New Mosquito Trap
Get the most out of your new mosquito trap. Read on to learn more about owning, operating, and maintaining mosquito traps for the best possible results.
Q. How do mosquito traps work?
Mosquito traps use various attractants, such as warmth, carbon dioxide, and ultraviolet light, to draw in mosquitoes. Many of these traps employ powerful fans to pull mosquitoes from the nearby air space into collection chambers. Inside the collection chamber, the mosquitoes are contained inside by the force of the fan’s air or a glue trap.
Q. Are mosquito traps safe for pets and humans?
Mosquito traps are safe for pets and humans when used as directed.
Q. Do mosquito traps attract more mosquitoes?
Traps are intended to attract mosquitoes, and they should be placed away from high-traffic areas. Mosquito traps are most effective when used as part of a broader mosquito control program, including the elimination of the mosquito breeding habitat in the adjacent landscape.
Q. Do I need any extras (fuel, insecticide, etc.) when buying a mosquito trap?
Propane-powered mosquito traps require fuel initially, and they must be refueled approximately every three weeks. Traps that use glue boards come with boards for the initial setup, but these boards must be replaced every month or so. Replace ultraviolet light bulbs about every four months.