Mosquito traps get a lot of attention in the realm of consumer mosquito control products. Some people swear by their Mosquito Magnet or Mega-Catch devices. But even with all the buzz, others want to know if these popular traps really work.
How do mosquito traps work?
The basic concept behind a mosquito trap is that it attracts mosquitoes and then traps them or kills them, reducing the number of mosquitoes that will come after people. Some traps even claim that they can collapse mosquito populations by killing significant numbers of females.
There are several different types of traps, but each lures in female mosquitoes by mimicking the smells or other signals they use to find human blood. Some of these signals include: carbon dioxide (human breath), heat, fragrances, or light.
Trapping and killing methods also vary – some devices suck mosquitoes in with a fan, some use a sticky surface that mosquitoes get stuck on when they land, and others use an electric grid that electrocutes mosquitoes.
Are mosquito traps effective?
Mosquito behavior is a very complex subject, and most species have different ways of sensing and tracking their next blood meal. According to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) this is likely why trap brands and trapping methods vary widely in efficacy. Seasonal and circadian variables could also affect how mosquitoes respond to the attractants used in certain traps.
Some studies indicate that mosquito traps eliminate a noticeable number of mosquitoes. One trap brand, Mosquito Magnet, offers information about several independent studies that compare the efficiency of different brands. One of the most convincing outcomes was at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in the Bahamas. Their station had become uninhabitable because of swarms of mosquitoes. They installed six mosquito trap devices and captured 1.5 million mosquitoes in six days.
However, the jury is still out on whether or not killing mosquitoes can actually affect the size or stability of mosquito populations. The AMCA says that this depends on breeding habits, species, and wind patterns, among other factors.
Are mosquito traps worth it?
Mosquito traps seem like a simple, effective method of mosquito control, but they are not maintenance-free. The AMCA explains that each method of mosquito trapping requires some work on the homeowner’s part: Propane tanks that burn carbon dioxide need to be refilled, capture nets need to be emptied, sticky boards need to be replaced, and electric grids need to be cleaned out.
Can traps replace mosquito control programs?
Unfortunately, mosquito traps are not a magic bullet. The main reason is that they don’t have any effect on the source of mosquito infestations: breeding grounds. If you do choose to install a mosquito trap, you still need to use repellents and practice other mosquito control methods in order to truly get relief from the biting bugs.
The AMCA states that mosquito trap technology is evolving and has great potential, but shouldn’t be overestimated. It seems unlikely that traps can ever fully replace multi-pronged mosquito control programs.
DC Mosquito Squad works to develop well-rounded, integrated pest management solutions that can help you get to the root of your mosquito problem. Our goal is to help you reclaim your backyard from buzzing, biting pests.Mosquito Squad of Greater Washington DC to find out about our barrier sprays, misting systems, and other solutions.