The Mosquito Magnet claims to attract, trap and kill mosquitoes, but it's not cheap. Is it worth it?
The answer depends partially on where you place it. If you put it in the best location to catch mosquitoes before they enter your yard or annoy you, it can do the job. For more information on how these traps work and the best placement, see this page.
These traps mimic the things that female mosquitoes look for when they want to find a person or animal to bite: warmth, moisture and carbon dioxide. They also use an attractant that's specially targeted for northern or southern mosquito species. The mosquitoes follow the vapor to its source, but rather than finding blood, they're sucked into the trap and captured in a net, where they dehydrate.
Mosquito Magnet is the biggest name among similar devices that use propane to create carbon dioxide, but its traps have been plagued with reliability problems. The company has been addressing the issues and is trying to improve its customer service, but if dependability is important, you might be more interested in the MegaCatch traps.
Mosquito Magnet traps come in three current models, the Executive 3300, the most expensive but with the most features, the Independence 3200, and the Patriot 4100, which requires an extension cord but is the least expensive of the three.
All three come with one Octenol attractant, which targets mosquitoes found in the northern half of the United States, as well as black flies and no-see-ums. Lurex3 attractant, which you can purchase separately, is recommended for southern mosquitoes and Asian tiger mosquitoes. The traps also come with almost all the parts you'll need to set them up, as well as instructions, except they don't come with a propane tank, which you'll need to purchase locally. The common 20 lb. cylinder used for barbecues is the recommended size.
All the traps run quietly, with no odor. The company recommends they be run 24 hours a day in mosquito season. With continuous operation, you'll use a 20-lb. tank of propane and an attractant cartridge about every three weeks (longer on the Executive model). You'll need to empty the mosquito-catching net when it gets full, and you may need to replace the net occasionally. Every couple of changes of the propane tank, the company recommends using a Quick Clear cartridge to clear out the lines, and that's important, because of the complaints about not staying working, so you can't neglect maintenance. On the cordless models, you'll have to charge up the battery at the beginning of the season, but it'll last all summer on one charge.
Mosquito Magnet Pros
- If well-placed, with the right attractant, Mosquito Magnets do trap and kill mosquitoes.
- There are no insecticides, odors, annoying noise, or danger to humans, pets or other wildlife.
- Mosquitoes continue to decrease, as the females are taken out of the breeding population.
- It kills adult mosquitoes no matter where they come from, even if you can't get to the water where they're breeding.
- It also attracts and kills black flies and no-see-ums.
Mosquito Magnet Cons
- Expensive initial investment
- Only effective for its "line of sight," so won't work over hedges, on the other side of buildings, etc.
- Ongoing cost to replace the lure and refill the propane tank every 3-4 weeks
- Requires regular attention and maintenance.
- They can't be used indoors.
- The biggest negative: problems reported with reliability.
The ongoing expense of operation is helped a bit by the fact that you can cut back on mosquito sprays, candles, foggers or other things that cost, but it's not like a screen house where you set it up and have no further cost until it wears out.
You'll sometimes see the Mosquito Magnet Liberty model advertised. The company still sells parts for it, but it's an older model which some places still have in stock.
Mosquito Magnet MM3300 Executive has the Most Features
Mosquito Magnet Executive MM3300.
If you're planning to purchase a Mosquito Magnet trap, the Executive model (pictured at the top of this page) is more expensive, but you get what you pay for. Four different fuel-saving modes on the Executive model mean you can stretch a tank to last up to 30 days, rather than the 21 days that the company estimates for its other models. The Executive also has a temperature sensor, so it will run only when the temperature is above 50 degrees, when mosquitoes are most likely to be out.
There's a handy panel which shows when the battery needs recharged, the propane tank needs refilled or if the propane nozzle is clogged.
The company suggests it covers a 1-acre area, but if there are obstructions, it will cover only the area that mosquitoes can sense it from. So, for example, if you have half an acre in front and behind your house, it will only cover one of those half-acre areas.
Like the Independence model, the Executive is cordless, so you can place it in any location without worrying about an extension cord across your yard.
Compared to other Mosquito Magnet models:
- More features, including money-saving ones like a fuel-saving mode
- Cordless, so you can put it anywhere, and the battery lasts all season on a charge
- Higher initial cost
"This has been great for us. We have a 1/2 acre back yard, with woods and then wetlands at the foot of the hill, and the mosquitoes breed there, where we can't stop them, and come up here for a late-evening snack whenever we're outside in the evening. We went from not being able to sit outside without constant swatting or mosquito repellent, to being able to enjoy the back yard again, with only an occasional mosquito. You do need to change the propane and all, but for us, it's been worth it."
"Ours functioned wonderfully last year. Went to start it up this year and it wouldn't start, and yes, we made sure it was cleaned out, no spiderwebs, battery charged, propane good, etc. It's being repaired now. Guess I was lucky because the customer service on the phone was helpful, but I was disappointed it wouldn't start, since it really did kill a lot of mosquitoes and I wanted to get it started early in the year."
"Set up was simple, other than I had to get a propane tank filled. The first few days, I thought it wasn't doing much good, till I looked at the mosquito trap, and saw all the decimated little carcasses! It continued to catch them and the mosquito population decreased rather than increased like it usually does."
"I just wish this was better designed. When it works, it works great. It's quiet, unobtrusive, and I feel a lot better not needing to use chemical sprays. For some reason, it quit working mid-summer. I called customer service and was going to have to pay to send it for repairs, but the next day, it suddenly started working again, so keeping my fingers crossed. Nothing gets rid of every mosquito 100% but we can use the pool again and sit outside without choosing between bug spray or constant swatting and bites."
Mosquito Magnet MM3200 Independence Is Cordless But Has Fewer Other Features
The Independence Mosquito Magnet is less expensive than the Executive model, though it's still not cheap! But it's still cordless and functions the same way. Instead of a rechargeable battery, it uses 4 C batteries which last all season. It's also advertised to cover an acre, but like all these traps, primarily works within its "line of sight," so hedges or buildings will cut down the area. It comes with an Octenol lure, but not the propane tank, which you'll need to purchase locally.
What you're giving up are the fuel-saving modes of the Executive model, so one tank of propane is supposed to last 21 days, rather than up to 30 days. It also doesn't have the information panel and doesn't have a temperature sensor, so if you want to turn it off when temperatures are below 50 degrees, you'll need to do it manually.
Otherwise, it's similar, with the same method of operation and the same pros and cons, and has been plagued with the same reliability issues.
"These mosquito traps are expensive, but in my experience they do the job, and apparently I've been lucky enough not to run into the problems that others have had with the machines breaking down. Mine has worked fine. It doesn't catch every single mosquito but the reduction is amazing and it makes using the yard and patio possible again with putting on repellant. "
"Ours never worked right. It wouldn't work at all at first, just gave a blinking red error. Finally after a call to the company and clearing the propane lines it worked, but when we replaced the propane tank a few weeks later, same thing, and it never did work after that. We wound up returning it."
Mosquito Magnet MM4100 Patriot Needs Plugged In
The Patriot model is the least expensive of the Mosquito Magnets, but the main disadvantage is you need to plug it in, allowing less freedom of placement for a trap where location is important. It comes with a 50-foot extension cord and lawn clips to secure it, but you'll need to be careful when mowing.
Otherwise, it's advertised to cover an acre of clear space, like the other models, and works on the same principal. You'll need to supply a propane tank, which should last about 21 days with continuous operation, as well as other supplies mentioned above.
"This catches mosquitoes, not every single one, but the drop has been noticeable and dramatic. Dealing with the cord was worth the cheaper price. It's easy to set up and runs quietly, but every time we empty the net there are mosquitoes in it."
"Wish I'd got the cordless model. It works best when it's upwind of where people are, and most of the time I know just the spot for it, but sometimes the weather changes and if I could move it easier, I could get it around to the other side of the yard. "
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