Do Mosquito Traps Work? What You Should Know Before You Buy One

There’s a real demand for mosquito traps all over the world. Many companies and homeowners even swear by their effectiveness. But are these claims real? Do mosquito traps work?

Here are some of the things you should definitely know before you buy one.

Do Mosquito Traps Work? What You Should Know Before You Buy One

Putting a mosquito trap on the porch can help you get rid of mosquitoes outside your house. CC Image courtesy of Rachel Larue on Wikipedia

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How do mosquito traps work?

According to Mosquito World, mosquito traps take advantage of how these insects hunt for food.

Female mosquitoes use their antennae, eyes and maxillary palpus to look for blood meals. They hover about 25 feet above, and use their antennae to detect the carbon dioxide that we release from our mouths and our skin. They can also pick up chemical odors that are found in our sweat. After that, they use their compound eyes (which is a combination of hundreds of lenses) to detect movement and their maxillary palpus on their head to locate heat from warm-blooded hosts.

Traps trick mosquitoes by fooling these senses. They’re made with features that copy the smells and sometimes even the movement of potential hosts. Some of them even expel carbon dioxide, chemical cues, heat and light or a combination of a few of these to bait the bugs into getting inside the traps.

So do mosquito traps work?

One thing is for sure – a trap may be able to kill hundreds of mosquitoes over time, but it’s not an invincible machine.

These devices can’t handle all the work alone. And more importantly, it only does its job perfectly if you get some these factors right.

  • ​One, you should have a number of traps instead of getting just one. Sure, some electric buzzers may have a 1/2-acre coverage, but not all mosquitoes will be lured into that one trap. Some of them will be so far away that they won’t even get to sense that trap in the first place.
  • Two, not all mosquitoes are attracted to the same thing. Mosquito World further discusses that mosquitoes are attracted to different things. For example, the Aedes group feed mostly on people, so they rely on sight and light to look for blood. And the Culex mosquitoes have adapted to track birds by smell. These two probably won’t be attracted to the same trap.
  • Three, traps only kill adult mosquitoes. Adult female mosquitoes are the only ones that can get baited by traps. The rest of the population is free to live out their lives. The larvae and pupae, in particular, will grow into new adults and potentially make their population grow.
  • Lastly, traps don’t last forever. What we should remember is that these devices don’t just exist to be turned on and then be forgotten. If you want to get the most out of them, they need to be maintained. Some lose their scents and chemical lures after a few years while others burn out their ultraviolet lights.

So do mosquito traps work? They do. But the traps’ potential shouldn’t be overestimated. Keep these points in mind before you head on to your local store to buy one.

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