My parents get a lot of mosquitoes in their garden during the summer. We've tried torches with citronella additives in the oil, but this has not been effective.

I don't want to install a UV-based insect killer, as I don't want to kill non-biting insects.

I've seen some devices that purport to attract the mosquitoes via CO2 (which should only attract biting insects). However, these seem to be very expensive with substantial upkeep costs.

How well do these devices work when compared to other area methods such as citronella, area sprays, etc?


1 Answer 1


CO2 traps, according to the NIH, fare better than most other types of mosquito traps. For best results, you want to use a trap with counterflow technology (CFG). Note that you have to keep your "scent" down or it will overwhelm the CO2.

Traps baited only with light or octenol caught few mosquitoes, whereas many were caught by traps baited with CO2 alone or in combination with either of the other candidate attractants. CO2 baited traps, with or without light, caught the most Aedes. The combination of CO2 and octenol attracted most Cx pipiens, but this apparent synergy was not significant. Using a caged hamster compared to CO2 as bait in a CDC light-trap with only intermittent fan suction, the hamster attracted less mosquitoes than CO2 emitted at a rate of 225 g/h on days 1 and 2, whereas on days 3 and 4 the smell from the hamster's cage became significantly more attractive than this rate of CO2 for all species of mosquitoes.

USDA tested a few traps, and the CO2 Trap with CFG scored the best (page "50", but really the fourth page, top chart). The Mosquito Magnet-X by American Biophysics Corp is a counterflow geometry updraft trap using CO2. It weights 2.7kg (5.95lbs). Unfortunately it does cost several hundred dollars (US) and requires an external propane tank. Unless you are car camping, I would not consider it practical.

  • Thanks. I had been looking at the Mosquito Magnet, but it's got pretty awful reviews on amazon: amazon.com/Mosquito-Magnet-MM3200-Independence-Trap/…
    – UpTheCreek
    Apr 9, 2012 at 12:17
  • @UpTheCreek -- Yeah the research is just about how effective the solution, and it looks like the reviews is about reliability which is a separate thing (from a pure research standpoint) Apr 9, 2012 at 15:05
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    right. Makes me wonder if it would be worth trying to build one of these things, considering how expensive they are. They seem reasonably simple: 1) Source of CO2 (usually something slowly burning propane), 2)A Fan to suck the mozzies into 3) a Chamber where they dehydrate. Some of them have extra chemical attractants and lights - but that seems to be the gist of it.
    – UpTheCreek
    Apr 9, 2012 at 15:17
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    Clearly what you need is a MOSQUITO LASER: youtube.com/watch?v=eYXPqrXZ1eU&feature=related youtube.com/watch?v=fwyMuwNYKvI Apr 9, 2012 at 15:47

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