Mosquito Trap Experiences

We were early adopters (2003) of the original Mosquito Magnets. We bought the Defender model, which uses wall AC rather than a thermocouple in the propane burner: It was several hundred dollars less. It performed very well, and we had the most pleasantly bug free summer ever and were planning to buy another one to clear up the new garden area as well as the house. Unfortunately, the original didn’t survive the winter. It developed some problem with it’s propane feed, which which a little googling showed to be very common. We spent over $100 to get it fixed, It worked for one tank of propane (about three weeks) and then wouldn’t work with any replacements.

We loved the results when the Mosquito Magnet was working, but $700 to buy a new one every year was not acceptable. Last winter, we did a lot of research looking for an alternative. We found a lot of nice things said about the Mega-Catch. It also didn’t require propane, although it does plug in. So we ordered two. Oops. We get them we set them up, they do nothing. It seems that they don’t by default use CO2, just octenol and flashing lights. Apparently down in Florida where they’re made, that’s enough. Googling around, I found someone else’s insight on the matter: the higher your latitude, the less you like mega-catch. He was right. The good reviews were all from Dixie. In New England and the Great Lakes region, it’s reported to barely work. There was one review from Alaska calling it worthless. “Minimal Effect” was our experience as well.

In fairness, there is an adapter hose provided to allow you to hook up a soda pop CO2 cylinder, readily available during banker’s hours from your local industrial gas distributor. We eventually got CO2 (Lisa made a special trip while I was working). It was about $90 for the two machines, (twice what propane would have been), and she had to fill out some hazmat form as well. It did work, the mosquito population started to fall. Unfortunately, the only way to tell that you’re out of CO2 is by hefting the cylinders or noticing that the bugs are back. So we’re not really happy with the Mega Catches either.

In googling around again, I discovered that the blocked propane channel is a problem with all the propane-using mosquito traps. Any orifice small enough to make a tank last thirty days will clog, sooner rather than later. Since propane seems to be pretty much required for northern mosquitoes, it’s a serious design issue, which is still open. We’ll spend another winter doing research.

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