Which mosquito killers work the best?
Mosquitoes are most active from dusk to dawn, especially in the late spring, summer and fall or when it’s humid outside. If you enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking or camping during these warmer months, chances are you’ve dealt with mosquitoes before. Since these annoying pests often carry diseases, the best way to enjoy yourself outside without worrying about mosquito bites is with a mosquito killer.
What to consider before you buy a mosquito killer
Here are the most common types of mosquito killers:
- Bug zappers: Often hung from a porch awning or tree, these use ultraviolet light to lure nearby biting insects to metal grids that electrocute them.
- Rackets: These work similarly to bug zappers, but many rackets are handheld for more precise use. They also have ultraviolet light and metal grids.
- Lures: Usually homemade, lures use scents or chemicals, such as carbon dioxide, to attract, trap and kill pests within range.
- Sprays: Similar to other insecticides, sprays are best for killing dozens of mosquitoes. They’re also a good preventative measure since they can kill any eggs. They come in a handheld bottle.
- Foggers: Meant for killing large swarms of biting insects, these machines spray out a liquid insecticide in the form of a fog.
- Dunks: When placed in water, such as a pond, these little round disks release a nontoxic chemical into the water that targets mosquito larvae. They’re similar to mosquito bits.
Most mosquito killers have a range of feet, yards or even acres. Some are designed for close combat, while others work more effectively from a distance or have a more hands-off design.
In general, here are the ranges for each main type:
- Handheld rackets — within arm’s reach
- Hanging zappers — 300 to 1,500 square feet
- Sprays — depends on the nozzle power and how much liquid is in the bottle
- Foggers — around 5,000 to 10,000 square feet, depending on the machine’s size, power cord length and amount of pesticide
- Lures — several hundred feet
- Dunks and bits — up to 100 square feet
When it comes to effectiveness, there are two things to consider:
- How long does it take to work?
- How long does it last?
Foggers, for example, can kill any mosquitoes within range on contact. Since the chemicals remain on any nearby surfaces, they can continue to kill insects for several hours or days after application.
Bug zappers and rackets start working immediately and continuously, provided they’re connected to a power source or have a working battery. But, while some insects are highly attracted to ultraviolet lights, mosquitoes are less so. This makes them somewhat less effective than other options.
If you’re using something that relies on floral or chemical scents, you need to replace it every few days or weeks for it to remain effective. Otherwise, it will lose its potency and stop attracting insects. Some of these killers also take several weeks to start working.
As for mosquito dunks, these are highly effective in small bodies of still water. They can start working nearly immediately and can last up to 30 days.
Natural vs. chemical
When choosing a mosquito killer, you have two options:
- Natural: These take longer to start working than chemical options, but they’re also usually safer for the environment, children and pets.
- Chemical: These can start working immediately and often last a long time. However, they’re not recommended if you have outdoor pets or kids. Chemical insecticides can also irritate the throat or nose when a person comes into direct contact with them.
Other targeted insects
Mosquito killers target more than mosquitoes. They can also kill other insects, including:
- Insect larvae or eggs
Those that use chemicals, such as DEET, can also be harmful to grass or certain plants.
10 best mosquito killers
Capable of killing flies, mosquitoes and other biting pests, this outdoor zapper has a maximum range of one acre. It has a high voltage that kills on contact. It also has a collection tray at the base that slides out for easy cleaning. It’s durable, waterproof and has a replaceable bulb. Sold by Amazon and Home Depot
With a 4,200-voltage grid wall, this hanging outdoor bug zapper can cover 1,500 square feet with ease. It consists of hardy plastic, has a removable tray and has a cage that keeps small fingers from accidentally touching the zapper. It has a short cord, making it ideal for the porch. Sold by Amazon
Capable of killing biting insects within one acre, this simple bug zapper uses the nontoxic pesticide, Octenol, to attract and kill mosquitoes. It starts working quickly and can keep mosquitoes at bay for up to 30 days. The outside is durable and waterproof. Sold by Amazon and Home Depot
These powerful handheld zapper rackets come in three sizes — mini, medium and large. They have a 4,000-volt grid and built-in LED that lures mosquitoes and kills them on contact. It runs on a battery. Sold by Amazon
This high-voltage, handheld bug zapper can take care of many insects, including biting flies, yellow jackets and mosquitoes. It uses 2 AA batteries and comes with a hanging hook for easy storage. Sold by Home Depot
This gas-powered backpack fogger has a 3.7-gallon tank that works with most liquid insecticides. It weighs 22 pounds and has a powerful 4.3 horsepower engine that can spray medium-sized and large areas to keep away pests. Sold by Amazon
With a flexible nozzle, 3-gallon tank and a long cord, this fogger can cover up to 28,000 square feet. It also contains a 1,200-watt 110VAC electric motor, which is powerful enough to kill insects on contact. Sold by Amazon
Compatible with a standard water hose, this easy-to-use spray has a range of 5,120 square feet. It uses a powerful formula that can kill anything from ants to mosquitoes. It’s also safe for most lawns and garden plants. Sold by Home Depot
Specifically designed to target mosquito larvae, this natural mosquito killer is a great option for those with standing water near their home. It’s nontoxic and can last for up to a month. It has a range of 100 square feet. Sold by Amazon
These mosquito bits target mosquito larvae and you can place them anywhere outside. They come in a 20-pound bag, an 8-ounce bag and a 30-ounce bag. They’re effective for up to 30 days. Sold by Amazon
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.