Dynatrap makes insect traps that work on the same principle as others. They attract flying bugs with warmth and carbon dioxide, then catch them and prevent them from escaping. For warmth, they use a fluorescent ultra-violet bulb, which also emits bug-attracting light. The main difference is that they don't use propane to create carbon dioxide (CO2). Instead, they use a special process. More on that below.
Since they don't use propane, that means no need to buy and change cylinders, and best of all, no maintenance problems with clogged lines or failure of the propane to light--issues that trouble many other traps. You still need to plug them in, so you'll need an outdoor outlet and an extension cord if you want hang the trap more than 7-10 feet from the outlet.
The DT2000XL model is more expensive than the DT1000 model, but it's bigger, with a stronger fan and bright light, and can attract bugs from farther away, with coverage up to an acre for the DT2000XL and a half-acre for the DT1000, according to the manufacturer.
If you've definitely decided not to buy a propane mosquito trap, this is the next best thing. I'll list the pros and cons of the two models together, because they're similar.
How It Works
The lights in the top of the trap emit warmth and ultraviolet rays, which attract mosquitoes as well as other insects, particularly moths at night. There are openings below the lights where bugs can fly in. Once inside, they're sucked down by the fan's air currents into the retaining cage below, where they're unable to escape and die within a day.
Unfortunately, light and warmth are just two of the things that attract mosquitoes, since what they're mainly looking for are people to bite. Carbon dioxide is what they really seek, since we and other animals emit it when we exhale. Mosquitoes know that if they follow that vapor trail, there will be a tasty animal on the other end, ready to be bitten.
To produce carbon dioxide, the Dynatrap uses a broad sort of funnel above the fan, coated with titanium dioxide (TiO2). The manufacturer claims that when the ultraviolet light reacts with the TiO2, "a photocatalytic reaction takes place that produces carbon dioxide." This is the process it uses, instead of burning propane like other traps.
However, when the University of Wisconsin tried to measure the amount of carbon dioxide emitted, they reported that they detected none at all. One reviewer pointed out that the TiO2 surface would need coated with a source of carbon, like dust or dead bugs, in order for the process to make carbon dioxide. See the review here (scroll down to Dr. Marsteller's comment). The reviewer also commented that the fan would draw in and disperse the carbon dioxide. Actually, that sounds like a benefit, since it would send out signals to mosquitoes farther away, and they would follow the vapor trail to its source. The source would be where the air exits, not up by the ventilation holes, but it would still be close. The big question, though, is whether the trap produces any, or enough, CO2 to make a difference.
The claim that a combination of TiO2 and ultraviolet light produce carbon dioxide is legitimate, since some air cleaners are based on the idea. They use it to remove organic pollutants from the air, and they've been tested to work. Their source of carbon is the dust and pollutants, which they turn into carbon dioxide, so a mosquito trap hung outdoors may draw in enough organic dust from the air to work. If the University of Wisconsin tested the trap in a very clean environment, that may explain the complete lack of CO2 emissions. However, even with a source of carbon, there's still no assurance it produces enough carbon dioxide to be even noticeable to mosquitoes.
Does it Work?
But the main question is, does it work to trap mosquitoes? I have a friend who uses two of the DT1000 traps in her large backyard, and she reports that they definitely catch moths and wasps, and they also catch mosquitoes, though not as many as she would like. The catch rate improved when she moved one of them in front of a shady hedge where mosquitoes liked to hang out, but the number of mosquitoes was still lower than the number of other bugs. As an insect-catcher, it works, especially after dark, and is a much less annoying alternative to a bug-zapper light. In fact, Dynatrap markets it as an alternative to zapper lights, with the slogan "Stop zapping, start trapping."
But if you want it as a mosquito-catcher, specifically, your results may vary.
Not Just Mosquitoes
If moths and other insects attracted to light all carried diseases and bit like mosquitoes, a trap that caught them all would be great. Unfortunately, the moths that get trapped are relatively harmless to pets and people, and other bugs may even be beneficial.
The caterpillars that moths produce can do a lot of harm to gardens and farm crops, though, so if you have a garden, catching moths still may be an added benefit. Unfortunately, some of the most destructive ones, like the European gypsy moth, don't fly at night and aren't particularly attracted to lights.
Some garden pests that are attracted to ultraviolet light include the adults of European corn borers, cabbage loopers and cutworms, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. They say that several mosquitoes are also attracted to light, but some of the Aedes mosquitoes aren't, including unfortunately Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito. So to attract and kill them, a trap needs to rely more heavily on CO2 or other attractants, which may be the weak point of the Dynatrap models, and why some people report better success than others, at catching mosquitoes.
If you don't want it to trap larger moths or butterflies, one suggestion is to put a piece of coarse screen over the openings, so only mosquitoes and smaller bugs can get in. To increase its attractiveness to mosquitoes, some people also add octenol or other attractants to the trap container.
The bug container will need cleaned out maybe once a week. You unscrew it and dump the dead bugs out, but the tricky part is that there will be some recently-caught live bugs in there too. The company includes a Velcro strap you can use to cover the container, so the bugs won't fly out when you turn off the fan, and they'll die within a day and then you can dump everything out.
The lightbulbs need replaced when they burn out, maybe once every 3-4 months, though occasionally they'll burn out sooner. They're not all that cheap, especially if they burn out quick, but still much cheaper than propane and lures if they last several months.
Other than that, the main maintenance is brushing off the bug gunk from the funnel area where they enter the trap, which is kind of gross, but not too bad.
Dynatrap TD2000XL is the heavy-duty version of this trap style
This heavy-duty version of the Dynatrap Insect Trap has brighter bulbs that are supposed to last longer (6 months) but still aren't cheap, a stronger fan, and a particularly useful device, a damper than automatically seals in any live insects when you turn the fan off, so they can't escape. The manufacturer says it will attract insects from up to 30 feet, if placed in an ideal location, where it's shaded from other lights and the bugs can see its light at a distance.
You can use it indoors or outdoors. It comes with a 7-foot cord, but if that's not long enough, you'll need an extension cord marked "W-A" and tagged that it's suitable for outdoor appliances. If you want to look at the manual, here's a link to it in a pdf file: Dynatrap DT2000XL manual.
"It catches some mosquitoes, but not as many as I'd hoped. More moths. It's easy to set up and does draw in the bugs though."
"Over the years I've used every kind of trap except the big propane ones, and this has caught more by far than any of the others. The lights didn't last as long as they said. After two weeks, they burned out and I needed to put in new ones. Other than that, I'm very happy with it."
"It's hard to keep some of the insects from escaping when you clean out the trap, since some of them are still alive. I haven't noticed it's reduced the mosquito population as far as getting bit, but there are always some dead mosquitoes in the trap when I clean it out, as well as moths and beetles."
Dynatrap DT1000 is smaller, lighter, works on same principle
The DT1000 model is smaller and lighter than the other, with a less powerful fan. It's about a foot high and 10" in diameter, and weighs 3 1/2 pounds. The manufacturer rates it for a range of 1/2 acre, though that may be optimistic. The two UV light bulbs are also not as bright as the other model, and are supposed to last four months, though they may sometimes burn out much sooner.
Otherwise, the trap works on the same principle as the larger model, but will just draw insects from a smaller area. You can use it indoors or outdoors.
Here's a link to the manual in a pdf file: Dynatrap DT1000 manual.
"One of the bulbs quit working in a week, but I replaced it and they've lasted about two months now. The container always has a fair amount of bugs, though mostly other things rather than mosquitoes."
"This is much less annoying and intrusive than a bug zapper. I don't really notice any increase in my electric bill, so the operating cost is only the cost of replacing the lightbulbs. I tried it without the lights, since some people say it works as well, but it only caught a few scattered ones, not nearly as many."
"When this wasn't catching many mosquitoes, I added an octenal lure to the bottom and it made a lot of difference. Don't hang it near where you'll be, because it does attract a lot of bugs around it, so choose a location where the mosquitoes will find it before they find you."
Product photos courtesy of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.