In today’s article, we’ll be looking at a fascinating device – the mosquito trap.
These machines use a clever combination of signals, including CO2, heat, and scent to attract and then trap mosquitoes.
But, do they really work? The answer is yes, but some work better than others.
So, in this review we’ll be comparing these traps. We’ll take a look at catch rates, longevity, and price to help you weigh your options.
We’ll also talk a little bit about how these traps work. This will help you to choose a quality trap and not a glorified bug zapper!
However, if you don’t have time for the whole article, then we’ve also gone ahead and put our editor’s choice pick at the top.
If you’d like to know more about these devices and read a better explanation of why we’ve chosen this particular trap, then keep reading after the featured snippet.
This article covers the best mosquito traps for outdoors, meaning they use propane, CO2 canisters, or something else which can’t be used inside your house or camper, but we’ve also done an article on indoor mosquito traps if you need one for that!
However, if you don’t have time for the whole article, then we’ve also gone ahead and put our editor’s choice pick at the top. If you’d like to know more about these devices and read a better explanation of why we’ve chosen this particular trap, then keep reading after the featured snippet.
The Mega Catch
The mega catch comes jam packed with amazing features that allow you to dial in your mosquito management routine and customize it to your area.
This is important, because not all mosquitoes respond the same way to attractants. It’s the only trap that offers this level of control, and for that reason, it’s our top pick.
However, this trap also offers superior durability, and Mega Catch doesn’t nickel and dime you on accessories, making it a more cost-effective unit in the long-run, despite the higher initial price tag.
When something finally does break, the unit is easy to repair yourself, unlike competing units which make this near impossible.
The only failing of this unit is that it is not a portable option. If you’d like a trap that can be used without electricity, then the Mosquito Magnet is your best bet.
Sticking around for the full overview? Great! Before we get started, let’s go over how these traps work. It’s important to know this so that you can understand the difference in price points for these products and make an informed decision before dropping a substantial sum on a trap.
What’s so great about mosquito traps?
If you’re looking for a natural way to deter mosquitoes from entering your property without the use of pesticides, which are harmful to kids, pets, and the environment, then a trap is a great alternative.
Depending on the complexity of the device, they use CO2, scent, heat, and other attractants to lure mosquitoes in before trapping them in nets or catch buckets. It’s a clever system which mimics signals from living hosts, to lure these biting pests to their demise without harming native flora and fauna, which is especially important if you’re concerned about your local pollinator population.
However, some of the devices advertised as “mosquito traps” are really just fancy bug lamps. They don’t have much when it comes to attractants, and they are not real traps. A real mosquito trap should use CO2, as it’s the main attractant. The CO2 mimics our breath, and mosquitoes will seek this out.
This video from This Old House talks about how these trap works and how to maintain a Mosquito Magnet trap.
As explained in the video, octenol (or Lurex3) provides the smell factor that mimics what a living host, like a human, would smell like. Having this significantly ups your catch rate.
However, you should also know that not every mosquito species is attracted to the same thing. If you live in a northern state, then you’ll likely need the octenol, but if you live in the south, then the Lurex will probably be more effective against the mosquitoes which inhabit those regions. Premium traps will allow for more customization in this department, hence the higher price tag.
Okay! Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive a little deeper into our top picks.
Best Mosquito Trappers Guide
The Mega Catch
Best All-Around Mosquito Trapper
The Mega Catch is our top choice for mosquito traps, and it’s because it just works. It’ll also keep working season after season, which can’t be said for a lot of their competitors, which have numerous complaints about their traps breaking after just one season.
The Mega Catch also does not require propane like other traps do to produce CO2. This provides a big cost savings over competitors, and it makes it far more convenient as well.
This trap can also be used without attractants, but we recommend that you use them anyway, because it really makes a difference in catch rate. If you compare your results side-by-side with and without the fragrance strips, then you can easily test this yourself and see which scent strips work best on the mosquitoes in your area.
Part of what makes this trap so effective is the fact that it uses several different methods to attract biting insects. The use of heat, CO2, scent, and light go a long way in tricking mosquitoes into thinking that this machine is a living host, and to us, that makes it worth the extra cost.
On the left, you can see all of the cues which the Mega Catch uses to trick biting bugs into entering the trap. Below, you can see the results of these cues for yourself. When it comes to mosquito trappers, it’s all about the catch rate!
Some cheaper traps use only light as an attractant, and others skimp on important cues like scent, heat, and moisture, which provides sub-par results when you’re trying to thin out a very large mosquito population. If you live in the country where the county does not spray, then this is you.
So, just how effective is it you ask? While it seems like that might be difficult to measure, it’s really not!
Test Results From The University Of Florida
The University of Florida conducted a test of these machines to see how well they worked when compared to the Mosquito Magnet, and you can see the results of that test here.
It’s pretty clear that the Mega Catch performed the best, catching nearly twice as many mosquitoes per night!
This device also has a huge number of customization features, which we really like. It allows you to easily dial in your settings, adjusting them to adapt your machine to your specific environment. That’s really important, because there are many, many different species of mosquitoes, and what works in one area may be totally ineffective in another area, much to the dismay of consumers who purchased a budget trap.
With their top of the line model, you’ll be able to adjust pretty much every attractant method to your liking. The trap also has “smart” settings, allowing you to time its operation for optimal mosquito hours, and to program it in a way that will preserve your CO2 canisters, should you choose to use them for better catch rates. At the lowest setting, a canister could even last you a whole year!
However, our favorite feature is the self-diagnostic tool. While other traps, like the mosquito magnet, are impossible to fix on your own, the Mega Catch is different. Their self-diagnostic tool makes it easy to repair the machine yourself with parts from the manufacturer, allowing you to forgo expensive third-party repair services, or the hassle of sending it back to the company.
The only potential negative about the Mega Catch is that it’s not as portable as some other traps. All of their traps require you to have access to electricity at all times. So, if you’re looking for a mosquito trap that can be used at primitive campsites or remote cabins, then this one will be a no go for you, unfortunately. If that’s the case, then keep reading to see our second pick.
The Mega Catch is best for consumers that need a high-functioning trap for their backyard, or RV and have access to consistent power sources.
- Features multiple attractant methods
- Durable and high-quality construction
- Less “stuff” to buy to make it work
- Simple operation
- Time and energy saving smart features
- Programmable and customizable
- Self-diagnostic repair features
Okay, so the Mega Catch is our top choice here, but it falls short in one category: mobility. If you’re looking for a trap that you can bring to your hunting camp or cabin, then the Mega Catch will not work without a power source. So, which trap can we recommend for this situation? Let’s take a look at pick #2 – The Mosquito Magnet.
The Mosquito Magnet
Best Portable Mosquito Trap
Looking for a trap that’s a little more portable? While the Mosquito Magnet is not as fancy as the Mega Catch, and its features leave a bit to be desired, it does do a decent job at murdering mosquitoes.
It also has one advantage over the Mega Catch in that it’s portable. Their Executive model features a rechargeable battery, and the Independence model uses replaceable C batteries for operation.
It should be noted though that the cheapest model, the Patriot, does not have a battery option. So, if you need a portable trap, don’t buy that one.
While the Mega Catch is still our top pick for home use, if you need a trap that you can take with you on-the-go, then we’d recommend the Mosquito Magnet. These traps use propane as their main attractant, and their LCD screens run off batteries.
In some cases, these traps are a bit more affordable than the Mega Catch, but they have a lot of “stuff” to buy that we aren’t a fan of, as talked about in our Mosquito Magnet review. This includes scent strips, propane tanks, “cleaning” things, and other gadgets that drive up your usage price, unfortunately.
Also, while the Mega Catch’s attractants are optional, the Mosquito Magnet’s are not. It will not work without propane and fragrance strips. So, make sure to keep that in mind when doing cost comparisons. If you were to run this trap 24 hours per day, you’d get 21 days of use out of your propane tank and fragrance strip.
The Mosquito Magnet also does not have the same customization features as the Mega Catch, and you’ll be limited to using either the Lurex3 or Ocetenol as an attractant. These work pretty well though, and you should still get adequate results using this machine.
The Mosquito Magnet is best for consumers that are looking for a full-featured trap that is still portable. We’d recommend this trap for fans of primitive camping or hunting where a reliable AC power source is not an option.
- Ocetonol or Lurex3 attractant
- Runs on easy to find propane
- No AC power required
- Top tier models are programmable
- Good for remote locations
What about the other traps on the market?
We’ve looked into some other traps, and to be honest, we can’t recommend those. While the Skeeter Vac is cheaper and only uses propane, it’s performance is quite poor. It doesn’t even come close to the performance of the other two traps, and has a high rate of return from consumers.
The most effective mosquito traps are those which use multiple cues to attract insects, and these cheaper traps just don’t have those features. That leaves many consumers confused, annoyed, and eaten up by mosquitoes despite dropping $300+ on a trap that may or may not deliver results.
In short, don’t be tempted by the low price tag of these inferior traps. They’re cheap for a reason, and they’ll only waste your time and money. Spend a bit more on a real mosquito trap for the best results.
Can I use these traps indoors?
NO, the above traps can not be used indoors. It’s important to realize that these traps release carbon monoxide. While in a properly vented area they are harmless, but inside these gases can build up and become deadly very quickly. If you plan to use a Mega Catch or a Mosquito Magnet, make sure that they are only being operated outside. That means not in your house, not inside your tent, and not inside your camper.
While there area few indoor traps on the market, their performance is sub-par at best, and they can’t be used for primitive camping situations anyway since they all run on electricity.
So, honestly, they’re kind of a waste of time when you could be using a professional trap, like the Mega Catch Ultra, to keep them from getting in at all.
However, if you do want a small trap which can be used indoors, then Mega Catch does make the Alpha. You should know though that this trap does not use CO2, one of the best attractant methods, and it’s more like a bug light. Albeit a pretty effective one.
Though you can use it both indoors and outdoors if you want something quick and easy that you can drop on your patio to lure bugs away from barbecue guests. It might also be a good choice if you need a small trap for a a camper and don’t have room for the larger models, but only if you have access to AC power to use it, because it does not have battery operation.
Unlike most other indoor traps, you can actually use the Mega Catch attractant strips with this model as well. That makes it a good bit more effective, as it does have the “scent” cue, which most other non-CO2 traps lack.
In closing, for most situations, we’d recommend the Mega Catch. It’s a top of the line machine, and it gives superior performance when tested side-by-side with competitors. However, if you need a trap that is portable, then the Mosquito Magnet is your best bet. This unit runs off of propane and battery power, making it a more portable option than the Mega Catch.
Mosquito Traps Compared Side by Side
- Multiple Attractant Methods
- Durable and High-quality Machine
- Highest Catch Rate
- Less “stuff” to buy to make it work
- Simple Operation
- Lots of Customization Features
- Time and Energy Saving Smart Features
- Can Repair It Yourself
- Higher Price Tag Than Other Traps
- Must Have Access To AC Power
- Battery Powered
- Great Portable Option For Camping
- Energy Saving Features
- Runs On Easy To Find Propane
- Lots of “stuff” to buy to make it work
- Durability is questionable
- No customization features
- Lower catch rate than Mega Catch
- Can’t repair it yourself