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Do Mosquito Traps Work?

Updated on October 30, 2016

by Mozziemaid

The traditional method of dealing with mosquitoes, creating an insecticidal fog, is environmentally unfriendly. It is also unpleasant for people in the area and more importantly is becoming less effective every year as insecticide-resistant strains of mosquitoes spread around the world. Enter the mosquito trap.

Mosquito traps don’t REPEL mosquitoes, but actually ATTRACT and then kill them - aka Fatal Attraction! It also takes a while for them to lure and kill a large local population, usually 6-8 weeks. So buying a mosquito trap in the afternoon and setting it up in the middle of your big neighborhood barbeque that same night is a sure recipe for turning your party into an itchy, buggy disaster!

Recalled Trap
Recalled Trap

Mosquito Trap Brands

In the U.S. there are a number of major brands of mosquito traps available through the usual retail outlets and manufacturers websites. The main design feature of most of these traps is the use of propane which is combusted to produce CO2, water vapour and heat to attract mosquitoes.

Pros: CO2 is a known mosquito attractant and very effective at attracting mosquitoes.

Cons: Less reliable than their non-propane competition, propane traps are prone to burnouts and/or blockages.

Propane, while non-toxic, is flammable. Some years back a popular brand of propane trap, the Mosquito Deleto, were recalled in their thousands because of a potential fire hazard

Propane Traps

  1. Mosquito Magnet® traps use a standard 20lb propane cylinder or “barbecue tank”. And all Mosquito Magnet® traps, with the exception of the Executive and Commander operate like a BBQ burner which runs continually (24/7) until the propane tank runs dry.
  2. SkeeterVac® traps are self powered i.e. they don't require mains power. As with the Mosquito Magnet®, the SkeeterVac® traps use propane to combust CO2 as the primary attractant for mosquitoes.
  3. Koolatron® Guardian MK14 and MK12 models use CO2 (generated by continuous propane combustion), ultra violet light, color, shape and airflow to capture mosquitoes. The MK12 requires electricity whereas the MK14 is cordless. All models must be operated continuously (24/7) which becomes expensive.

Notable exceptions to propane traps include Dynatrap® and Mega-Catch™ mosquito traps.

Dynatrap DT1100 in blue
Dynatrap DT1100 in blue
Mega-Catch Ultra - The Nuclear Option
Mega-Catch Ultra - The Nuclear Option

Non Propane Mosquito Traps

  1. Dynatrap® produce electric traps (110v) and advertise 9 traps in the range including the DT1100 which comes in a range of designer colors including blue, bronze and green. A UV fluorescent bulb generates a warm light, attracting insects and a secondary attractant, an exclusive Ti02 titanium dioxide-coated surface that when heated produces CO2 to attract mosquitoes. Although the trap is marketed as being safe for indoor and outdoor use (the traps don't use pesticides or propane) they run off a 110 volt power system, which is not as safe as a 12 volt system for outdoors use.

  2. Mega-Catch™ produces 4 electric (12 volt) models; the Alpha, Premier, Premier XC and Ultra traps. Research into mosquitoes over the past 50 years has shown that they find their prey using a combination of sensory cues which includes: shape, color, heat, vibration, sweat and other by-products of human activity. EnviroSafe Technologies have used that research and claim to have developed the world's most advanced mosquito traps; the Mega-Catch™ Pro 900 Series Mosquito Traps.

    Their top-of-the-line machine, the Mega-Catch™ Ultra trap is CO2 capable, however uses pure CO2 cylinders, and doesn't require propane combustion to produce CO2. Independent testing in places like the swamps of Florida and Far Northern Queensland in Australia, showed that the Mega-Catch™ trap significantly outperformed competing mosquito machines, including the Mosquito Magnet Liberty and Pro, in nearly every respect. This trap is described by the Wall Street Journal as the nuclear option of mosquito control.

  3. Koolatron™ MK05 Champion Mosquito Trap requires electricity and has all the design features of their MK12 model but doesn't use propane. This is a small decorative trap that covers up to 1/2 acre. Uses heat, light and baits (octenol) to attract mosquitoes away from humans.

Mosquito Magnet 'Defender'
Mosquito Magnet 'Defender'


It's now easy to check out the different mosquito traps on the market and how they perform, with a simple click of the mouse.

Mega-Catch Ultra: "We're looking for a way to put the hurt on clouds of bloodthirsty mosquitoes, something a mosquito-repelling T-shirt or necklace probably can't do very well. Enter the Mega-Catch Ultra Trap, a serious-looking contraption that lures in the little buggers with a combination of flashing LEDs, an ultraviolet light and a strip of octenol. After attracting those bloodsuckers, it vacuums them up to their well-deserved deaths." Mosquito Jihad

Mosquito Magnet : "I have had the Mosquito Magnet for 3-4 years. The magnet is very, very problematic...."

"I am using the Mosquito Magnet with Lurex, and the Ultra with CO2, octenol and light...I suspect the Ultra will just simply destroy the magnet in my tests" Amazon

Koolatron MK05: "Very nice design and fits into landscape perfectly. However, I'm not sure about the effectiveness".


Mosquito traps shouldn't be used as a replacement for mosquito nets, or insect repellents, but an adjunct. Mosquito nets protect limited spaces; whereas mosquito traps protect larger open spaces. Nets are extremely effective at blocking mosquitoes; traps kill mosquitoes, but have to attract them in first. Together, they make a potent combination

  • When outdoors, use an effective insect repellant like Picaridin, DEET or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
  • Use screens and mosquito nets where practicable to provide mosquito-free areas
  • Keep grass mown, bushes trimmed and debris out of the gutters

  • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites i.e. old tires, bird baths, pot plant bases, decorative ponds, plastic containers etc. Remember anything that holds water is a potential mosquito nursery.
  • Get rid of standing water from ditches and low-lying areas
  • Wear light colored clothing which is less attractive to mosquitoes and long sleeves and long pants during the hours when mosquitoes are on the hunt.


While killing off all the mosquitoes in the world sounds like a great idea, it's not likely to happen any time soon. However, mosquito traps, when set up correctly, are an effective tool, known to interrupt the breeding cycle thereby significantly decreasing mosquito numbers. And when you reduce mosquito populations, you reduce the number of potential mosquito bites and the risk from the diseases they carry.

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