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The 5 Best Propane Mosquito Traps on the Market

Many different devices can help you in the fight against mosquitoes. One of the products that you should consider is a mosquito trap. Despite costing considerably more than your average bug spray, these machines have proven to be effective in combating insects outdoors. Why? Because they employ a system that uses an imitation of human breath, moisture, and warmth to lure mosquitoes in and trap them without any hope of escape. 

Many different devices can help you in the fight against mosquitoes. One of the products that you should consider is a mosquito trap. Despite costing considerably more than your average bug spray, these machines have proven to be effective in combating insects outdoors. Why? Because they employ a system that uses an imitation of human breath, moisture, and warmth to lure mosquitoes in and trap them without any hope of escape. 

THE MOST IN-DEMAND CHOICE
best mosquito trap

Blue Rhino SkeeterVac

With its electronic ignition and cordless capabilities, this mosquito trap is not only easy to use but also very effective.

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THE MOST LIGHTWEIGHT OPTION
mosquito catcher

Biteshield Mosquito Trap

Its smaller profile, wheel-lock system, durability, and ease of use are the main features that make this mosquito trap a very smart option.

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THE MOST PORTABLE OPTION
propane mosquito trap

Koolatron Guardian Pro

Powered by thermoelectric technology, this cordless unit is lightweight and durable.

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1

Blue Rhino SkeeterVac

MOST IN-DEMAND CHOICE
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Propane tank not included (must be bought separately)
  • Large and heavy (32 pounds assembled)
  • TacTrap glue paper is dangerous for birds and beneficial insects, difficult to change, and aesthetically unpleasant.

Review

The Blue Rhino SkeeterVac transforms propane into carbon dioxide, which attracts mosquitoes. It furthermore uses light, moisture, and specific scents as insect attractants. It is cordless and doesn’t require any electricity. Mosquitoes are highly attracted to human breath, which contains a lot of carbon dioxide and moisture. That is why by artificially creating carbon dioxide and releasing water vapor, we can attract mosquitoes into the trap. When mosquitoes or any other insects enter the trap, the Blue Rhino SkeeterVac utilizes a vacuum and sticky paper to keep them there. Since mosquitoes prefer shady areas to direct sunlight, you should place the propane mosquito trap in the shade for better results. This unit boasts coverage of one acre.

The Blue Rhino brand has grown over the years into a large company. It started by only manufacturing propane gas tanks, slowly expanding into designing barbecue grills, outdoor heaters, mosquito traps, and other outdoor appliances. This mosquito trap has several different settings to attract different insects and bugs. The wheeled cart, which is included, will allow you to transport your SkeeterVac all around your property, whenever necessary. Assembling and maintaining this mosquito trap takes a short time and is extremely easy. When firmly staked in the ground and with the included rain guard in place, it is safe for use around kids and animals. You should, of course, keep an eye on them while using your mosquito trap, though, as it does use gas and fire to attract mosquitoes and other pests. Furthermore, SkeeterVac has the option to use TacTrap, a sticky glue paper. This product is dangerous for birds and non-target insects (e.g., bees, butterflies), can be a hazard for kids and pets, is unsightly when covered in dead bugs, and is difficult to change. We advise against using this feature.

You will also have to buy a tank of propane gas tank when purchasing the Blue Rhino SkeeterVac as it is not included. But, altogether, this is a great product that is worth your money and will not disappoint you. More importantly, SkeeterVac is recognized as one of the best mosquito traps on the market due to its effectiveness, quality, and Blue Rhino customer service.

2

Biteshield Mosquito Trap

THE MOST LIGHTWEIGHT OPTION
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Propane tank not included (must be bought separately)
  • Has a cord and must be plugged in

Review

The Biteshield Mosquito Trap is designed, manufactured, and distributed by Koolatron (formerly Lentek International Inc). This company manufactures different appliances, concentrating on refrigeration and coolers with a separate pest control line. Among the animal control products offered is a dog-off device that claims to keep neighborhood dogs out of your yard.

The Biteshield Mosquito Trap uses propane gas to produce carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide attracts mosquitoes and other biting insects that the mosquito vacuum then sucks in and traps. Octenol, a mosquito attractant, is also added to the mix. This enhances its effectiveness because octenol increases the mosquitoes’ attraction to the machine, allowing more mosquitoes to be caught. This unit further uses light, color, moisture, and thermal imaging to lure in mosquitoes. It is made of durable, waterproof materials which can be washed with water, making maintenance extremely easy. It covers one acre and has attached wheels so that it can be easily moved from one part of your lawn to another. However, it is not cordless, so it must be within cord distance of a power outlet.

3

Koolatron Guardian Pro

THE MOST PORTABLE OPTION
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Made of fragile plastic

Review

Koolatron, the manufacturer of the Koolatron Guardian Pro, has been in business for over thirty years. The company offers more than 200 different products for customers in over 30 countries. Koolatron is one of the leaders in manufacturing thermoelectric and refrigeration products, gaining popularity with its coolers and warmers. Now the company’s product line includes home appliances, including mosquito traps.

Like other mosquito traps, the Koolatron Guardian Pro uses propane gas to lure mosquitoes. It uses propane to produce carbon dioxide, moisture, heat, light, and vacuum to attract and trap mosquitoes. The body of the trap is heated by a thermostatically-controlled process to a temperature similar to that of the human body.

It is not enough to simply attract mosquitoes to the trap, they need to be close to the vacuum opening. That is why there are blue LEDs to direct mosquitoes to the correct spot to allow the trap to suck them in. The trapped mosquitoes are collected in a container, which is easily detached and cleaned. One tank of propane will last up to five weeks, protecting approximately one acre of land. Altogether, this makes the Koolatron Guardian Pro great at protecting you from these flying pests throughout the entire mosquito season.

This mosquito trap is odorless and extremely easy to maintain. The propane tank only needs to be changed after around five weeks. How frequently you need to clean it will depend on the number of mosquitoes you have in your area. Even if you have a lot of mosquitoes, clearing out the mosquito storage container will take only a few minutes.

Customer reviews have mentioned the fragility of the plastic this unit is made of, especially the battery door. Take care when moving the device and changing the batteries to avoid breakage.

Other Products to Consider

4

Flowtron Mosquito PowerTrap

THE BUDGET ALTERNATIVE
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Uses both propane and electricity (This means it has wires and is not portable.)

Review

The Flowtron Mosquito PowerTrap is manufactured, distributed, and designed by Flowtron Outdoor Products, a division of the Armatron Company. This family-owned company has been operating since the early 20th century. Armatron International began as a manufacturer of automobile radios but has expanded its range to include a variety of different outdoor products and appliances.

This Flowtron Mosquito PowerTrap operates similarly to other mosquito traps. Propane is transformed into carbon dioxide, which like human breath, attracts mosquitoes and other flying insects. It further produces heat and moisture and uses the additional attractant octenol. When mosquitoes have come close enough to be trapped, a powerful insect vacuum sucks them into the convenient, reusable catch tray. In this small container, without access to food, the mosquitoes will die.

The bright LEDs let you know what the trap is doing. Red indicates start up and blue tells you the unit is operational. As there is no sticky paper or glue panels, maintaining this trap is extremely easy. It will not take much time to clean it since all you have to do it get rid of any accumulated insects. All operating functions are controlled automatically. The unit contains a platinum catalyst, which will not need to be replaced. This makes the product safer and flameless, so this mosquito trap is safe to use around animals and children.

The only downfall of this mosquito trap is that it must be plugged in. If you want to avoid tripping hazards, you can install wires below the ground. This is a good idea if you do not want to move this mosquito trap often.

Overall, this is a very effective mosquito trap. The use of the additional mosquito attractant, octenol, enhances its effectiveness. The platinum catalyst makes it flame-free and safer to use around kids and animals.

5

Mosquito Magnet

VERSATILE
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What we like:

What we don't like:

  • Propane tank not included (must be bought separately)

Review

The Mosquito Magnet trap is created, manufactured, and distributed by the Woodstream Corporation. This private company has been in operation for more than 150 years. They offer a variety of rodent control; pet and wildlife care; and lawn and garden care products.

The Mosquito Magnet uses the same methods as other mosquito traps with the addition of counterflow technology, which allows attractant to be dispersed at the same time as the vacuum operates. Mosquitoes are highly attracted to humans because of our breath. More specifically, they are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale. So, by imitating human breath and creating carbon dioxide, we can lure mosquitoes into the mosquito trap. That is why the Mosquito Magnet uses propane gas to artificially imitate human breath, excreting carbon dioxide in the air. It further produces heat and moisture. The company offers a package that includes octenol for those areas where it is most useful.

The Mosquito Magnet has five different settings, four of which are fuel-saving modes that can extend the life of your propane gas tank. It attracts and captures not only mosquitoes, but also other biting insects like midges, black flies, and no-see-ums and provides on acre of coverage.

This mosquito trap switches on and off automatically. It turns itself off when the temperature drops below 50°F (10ºC) and switches on when it rises above 50°F (10ºC). Mosquitoes are not active when temperatures are below around 50°F.

It also has an LCD screen, which shows all necessary information. This screen will tell you when the propane or batteries are low and need to be replaced or when the mosquito trap needs maintenance and cleaning. This mosquito trap is cordless but requires batteries to work, which will have to be replaced from time to time.

Even though the Mosquito Magnet is very advanced, it will take you a little time to adjust and set it up and maintenance is not simple. It is completely safe to use around kids and animals as long as they do not touch it or play with it. It does still have a propane tank attached to it! Overall, reviews of the Mosquito Magnet show that it is a very innovative and advanced mosquito trap.

About propane mosquito traps

How do they work?

Propane mosquito traps are designed to take advantage of the signals mosquitoes use to find us. Mosquitoes are attracted to body heat and the carbon dioxide and water vapor we exhale. Like many other insects, they are also attracted to light. Propane mosquito traps produce all of these things, sometimes together with additional lure products like octenol (produced by cows). Thus, they mimic a living, breathing mammalian target.

This lures the mosquitoes to the trap, which often vacuums them into a net, container, or onto sticky paper. In some devices, the intake tube is a different (darker) color than the rest of the unit, providing a visual target for mosquitoes.

Propane traps don’t use insecticides. Instead, mosquitoes starve to death or dry out

In order to produce these human signals, the traps use propane. They have a catalytic converter that transforms the propane into carbon dioxide. To disperse attractants, operate lights, and vacuum up insects, they use either propane, batteries, or A/C power. They release carbon dioxide at 350 to over 500 ml/min. 

Some devices use “counterflow technology”, which disperses attractant with a fan while the vacuum is working. This is more effective than devices in which air only flows in one direction at a time.

They can catch thousands of mosquitoes during a week of operation, much more than light traps, which only have light and carbon dioxide supplied by a compressed gas container. In one study, propane mosquito traps caught an average of 1400 Aedes albopictus mosquitoes in 18 separate 48-hour trials compared to 345 caught in light and suction traps. 

What they don’t do

Many mosquito trap manufacturers boast that their product will wipe out the local mosquito population. This is dishonest. While they do trap and often kill mosquitoes that approach them, they cannot remove an entire population of mosquitoes. Similarly, they won’t keep you from being bitten by mosquitoes altogether. That would be a miracle.

Keep in mind!

In one small area, installing 1 trap per acre did effectively protect residents from the one species of mosquito present, but a single trap in one person's backyard can't protect an entire neighborhood.

Are they safe?

Propane is a clean-burning fuel, meaning that it won’t release harmful toxins into the air around your home and spills won’t damage your local environment. However, propane is flammable, so spills create a fire risk. Some propane traps rely on propane flame as the material converted into carbon dioxide. This means that there is a near-constant flame burning in your yard that can be dangerous to kids and pets. However, the flame is fully contained within the device, which you can often secure to the ground to reduce the chances of a human or animal knocking them over.

There are no dangerous pesticides that could harm the local bee population or be touched or ingested by a pet or child. The attractants specifically target mosquitoes, so you will catch fewer beneficial insects than even sticky paper alone. 

Plug-in units do present a tripping hazard, especially if you leave them up throughout the season. Make sure to clearly mark the cord or install it underground.

Tips for using propane traps

Make sure to match the unit with the species of mosquitoes most common in your area.

These traps are not effective for mosquitoes that travel long distances to find food. You’re unlikely to affect their breeding population by catching some of them far from their breeding areas.

You will achieve the best outcome if your local mosquito species is a short-distance flyer or breeds near your home. Furthermore, not all mosquitoes use the same cues to find a meal. In a study mentioned previously, light traps caught over 1100 Aedes infirmatus mosquitoes vs an average of 275 in propane traps. 

Don’t rely solely on propane traps. They are most effective when used in conjunction with other pest control techniques, including eliminating breeding areas, using repellents, and making sure mosquitoes can’t get inside your home.

Make sure to buy the right size for your property. Many propane traps are rated for 1 acre, but some are for smaller areas. Be aware of the area rating on the trap you’re considering.

Trap placement is key. If you place your trap somewhere mosquitoes don’t go, it won’t matter which trap you buy; it won’t work. As mentioned, you’ll get the most use out of your machine if the mosquito breeding grounds are nearby. Locate them. Then place the trap between the breeding area and your outdoor gathering spaces. This way, the trap will intercept mosquitoes on their way to make a meal out of you and your family. If you can, set the trap upwind of the breeding grounds as mosquitoes fly upwind to find food.

Make sure not to place it too close to where people congregate outdoors. The closer the trap is to people the more likely a mosquito is to find a person. 30-40 feet away is best.

Place the trap in the shade but not in bushes or tall grass. Mosquitoes prefer shade to direct sunlight. Carbon dioxide is heavier than air and won’t be able to rise above the level of the dispenser so it shouldn’t be blocked by foliage.

Make sure to start your trap before mosquitoes arrive. Once the temperature remains at around 50°F consistently, eggs start to hatch and dormant females emerge ready to lay new ones. In southern states (e.g., Florida, Texas), it’s best to start running your trap in February, while in more northern states (e.g., Maine, Washington), you can wait until May. Don’t start your trap until it’s had a couple days to air out and dry out.

These types of traps are not one-time use devices. You’re going to need to leave it running for the entire season. 

Maintaining your trap during the season is critical for its success. Approximately every 3 weeks, replace the lure and the net, refill your propane tank, inspect the side vents, and clean the trap. Dead bugs and pollen can clog nets and vents. Nets can become damaged. Between replacements, make sure to empty and clean the net so that you keep trapping bugs. A dirty net will obstruct airflow and reduce the trap’s ability to vacuum up mosquitoes. If your trap uses sticky paper, check it frequently and replace as needed. It won’t be much use if it’s full of dead bugs.

What you should consider before buying

These devices are expensive to purchase and run. Continuous operation (which is recommended) can cost over $20/month. You have to replace the propane, sticky paper, and any additional lures. Make sure it will be the right choice for you. In experimental trials, humans and other animals were still more attractive to mosquitoes than propane traps. Make sure you have the space to set them up far away from your outdoor gathering spaces. The last thing you want is to attract more mosquitoes to your yard that will bypass the trap and feast on you and your family.

Cordless units are more portable but powered units are more reliable and less expensive.

Octenol is not effective for all species of mosquitoes. Specifically, a set of experiments found that traps baited with octenol trapped fewer Culex pipiens and Culex orientalis mosquitoes than traps without octenol. Find out if your local mosquitoes are attracted to octenol before making your decision.

Propane traps require more maintenance than a can of mosquito repellent or even sticky traps. As mentioned, the propane, sticky paper, and lures will need to be replaced. Propane lasts a few weeks, sticky paper will need to be replaced more frequently, and the lifetime of the lure depends on what the product is. Octenol lasts for a month to a month and a half. If your trap uses nets or containers, those will need to be emptied and cleaned of dead bugs and their residue. If this level of maintenance is not possible for you or you’re otherwise unlikely to keep up with it, propane traps would not be worth your money.

Conclusion

Overall, mosquito traps are effective but not as effective as manufacturers often claim. They can be a little bit pricey, but in the right location, they can be worth the money. The sheer number of mosquitoes they will catch makes them a useful part of many mosquito control strategies. These propane mosquito catchers are excellent for use in the backyard and other parts of your property. While they won’t destroy whole populations of mosquitoes, they will help reduce their numbers.

11 Comments

Brent

So which one is the best. I don’t mind having to plug it in.

    Karen

    Depends on what you are looking for, Brent!

Oystein

Which one is the most effective, and caught the largest ammount of mosquitos?

    Karen

    They all are effective. And your success with each of these devices will depend on how and for how large of an area you use it.

Judy Blishen

I live in northern British Columbia…mosquito country which would you purchas if you were to buy one or which do you own

    Karen

    They all have their pros and cons. But I would go with either the Flowtron or the Blue Rhino one.

Denny

I have found that a lot of mosquitoes are attracted to different types of attractant. Do not assume just because you are using Octonol as a lure, and you are bothered by Tiger mosquitoes, that you are going to be satisfied with the results.

    Karen

    That’s true, different mosquito species favor different attractants. However, since Octenol mimics the human breath it will effectively lure in most mosquito species, which includes salt marsh mosquitoes, and even other insect species like no-see-ums.

    Rick

    Denny is correct: Octenol actually repels Asian Tiger mosquitoes. Here in Texas, we use Lurex, which is highly effective.

Chris

Since these traps mimic human feasts, I would assume we don’t need to worry about also trapping good insects such as dragonflys and moths, correct?

    Insectcop

    These traps will work on all insects that are attracted by CO2.

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