Mosquito Magnets

Mosquito magnets are sold in many outlets as the “solution” to all your mosquito problems. Here are a few other thoughts you might consider when dealing with these pests and using these machines.

How They Work

The theory is that mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide (we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide) from our breath. They home in on animals and humans from this. Florida research points out that only half of mosquitoes in Florida (and not the most common one) are attracted by CO2. So, you have to know which ones you're trying to control before you can be sure the trap will work. I note that some mosquito magnet type of traps use a variety of lures besides the CO2 as attractants and the jury is still out on many of them according to research I've read. This technology is still under refinement and testing.

Two Important Questions

Where is the trap placed and where are the mosquitoes coming from? Apparently if the trap is between you and the breeding grounds, you're in much better shape than if the trap is offset. Given the choice of the CO2 from traps or that from humans and pets, it turns out that mosquitoes prefer that from humans. So, if the trap is not between you and the launch point of the mosquitoes, it is ineffective. You may need to surround yourself with traps.

Running the Mosquito Magnet

How long the trap runs is critical. Even though it is going to cost you approximately $30/month to run it constantly, this is the recommended method. You get mosquitoes going to the traps constantly. Many folks though only turn them on when they go outside. They hope the trap will instantly lure all available pests but the research shows the product manuals are correct - they must be run constantly for protection to be adequate.

Bottom Line

Any gardener who relies on a mosquito magnet for all their protection is kidding themselves.

You will still have to use repellants and eliminate stagnant water etc.

This technology is not a magic silver bullet that eliminates pests. But it does attract mosquitoes and it does eliminate some from your backyard.

It is also noted that some perception is at least as important as the actual effectiveness of the machine. Some folks (like a good friend) don't get bitten much at all while others (like me) are extremely attractive to these little blood suckers. Is this my perception? If you think you get bitten often - then you're likely to be less impressed with this technology than if you're one of those people who don't think they're really bothered by these pests. This is a fascinating perceptual difference as to the effectiveness of the mosquito magnet - if you think it works - it does. If not - then not.

The bottom line with mosquito magnets then is to ask if the pests really bother you.

Can you stand the odd bite? Are there other things you can do to reduce the problem (like eliminate standing stagnant water sources) in a more inexpensive manner?

If not, then a mosquito magnet can be one more tool in your garden shed.

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