How many times have you found yourself wishing someone would invent a way to make all the mosquitoes magically disappear? Well, now you may have your wish. Several companies offer a variety of devices to repel and/or kill mosquitoes. One such device is the Mosquito Magnet.
The Mosquito Magnet is a machine that attracts mosquitoes and traps them inside. The premise is a clever idea: the device simply mimics the humans. It does this by producing a continuous plume of carbon dioxide (CO2), heat, and moisture. Added to this is a chemical attractant called Octenol. (More specifically, the Mosquito Magnet is designed to convert propane to carbon dioxide and uses a patented and proprietary Counterflow Technology™ to disperse the mixture to attract insects.) This combination serves to entice female mosquitoes and other flying insects to approach the machine, i.e., the mosquito “thinks” it is heading for a tasty meal. As it nears the Mosquito Magnet entrance, the insect is vacuumed inside, where it eventually dies. By trapping the female mosquitoes, the egg-laying cycle is disrupted, resulting in a gradual decrease in your mosquito population (with the machine collecting fewer bugs over time).
There are several models of Mosquito Magnet available. At the high-end is the Mosquito Magnet Pro, which covers up to 1 ¼ acres (or 5,000 m2). This unit comes with state of the art cordless technology, combining an NIMH battery pack and backup solar panel. It weighs in at 45 lbs., so it comes equipped with wheels to make it more portable. The Pro has an extra large capacity net to hold a huge number of insect victims.
If you have a smaller yard (and budget), you may find the Liberty or Defender models best suited to your needs. Both operate with a 50-foot electric power cord and are more compact in size. The Liberty is intended for areas of around ¾ acres, while the Defender covers up to ½ acre.
As with any product, consumers are eager to share both the positive and negative aspects of the Mosquito Magnet. Some of these are:
Success – By most accounts, the Mosquito Magnet actually works. Multiple testimonials can be found that describe (often in great detail) how great this product can be. The Mosquito Magnet web site lists the results of comparisons with competing products.
Thorough – By operating the unit continuously, both day and night active mosquitoes are killed. Also, these units can attract and kill other insects, such as no-see-ums, black flies, and deer flies. Thus, one machine can rid your lawn of many pests.
Quiet & odorless – The Mosquito Magnet is easy on the ears and nose – virtually undetectable during operation.
Cost – Predictably, these units are quite expensive. In addition, operating expenses include the cost of propane and Octenol.
Maintenance – Propane tanks and Octenol cartridge must be changed every 21 days. The nets that hold dead mosquitoes may need emptying more often than this, depending on your mosquito population and how well the machine is working.
Durability – Some consumers have complained that the machines begin to fail after the second year of operation, though repair parts are available from the company. Mosquito Magnet’s web site is currently offering a special “Winter Tune-up” promotion to extend warranty and replace older parts.
Environmental Effect – Although the web site claims Octenol is a naturally occurring chemical, it is not clear whether artificially introducing it to the atmosphere has any ill effects on the environment. More research may be needed.
Efficacy – Octenol is not effective against Asian Tiger mosquitoes (although they may still be trapped due to the other attractive effects of the machines).
Who Thought of this Great Idea?
The concept of the Mosquito Magnet was developed by a team of chemists, entomologists, and engineers working for the American Biophysics Corporation. Founded in 1991, the company initially marketed mosquito traps for state departments of environmental management and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Over time, their products spread to a wider audience. Now, the Mosquito Magnet is used by the U.S. Coast Guard in a number of remote locations. Additionally, national parks, zoological parks, universities, and golf courses around the country use these devices – as well as hundreds of thousands of homeowners. The traps are sold at more than 7,500 retail outlets in North America and available through many local propane dealers. Distribution in other parts of the world is increasing monthly.