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If you want to buy a mosquito killer device, consider how it should be integrated into your yard. Where should you put it? First, site it between you and the places where mosquitoes live (forest, pond, stream, etc.).
*Make sure that the device is placed about 10 m (30 ft.) to 15 m (45 ft.) away from the area you want to protect (deck, pool, patio, etc.).
A good electronic mosquito killer is a reasonable alternative to pesticides. It does not carry all the negative impact associated with insecticides (such as effects on people, birds, animals and other insects). Instead, it targets only biting insects.
Keeping the machine operational throughout the breeding season should maintain a very high and permanent level of protection (unlike pesticides that will need to be sprayed at regular intervals).
It is not wise to put too much faith in electronic mosquito killers. These traps represent an evolving technology that is a most welcome addition to our mosquito control armamentarium. Their potential is great, but shouldn't be overestimated. It's highly unlikely that these devices, whatever their improvements, will ever fully supplant organized community-wide mosquito control programs, for there is no single silver bullet that will prove to be the ultimate answer to mosquito problems. In other words, explore all of your mosquito control options.
A mosquito killer that uses heat to draw female mosquitoes and other biting insects may have a limited range of effectiveness.
Female mosquitoes initially hunt their prey based on carbon dioxide exhalation. Then, as they reach closer ranges, they seek prey based on heat only. Therefore, heat-based mosquito control methods offer a limited range of effectiveness based on proximity.
The drawbacks of conventional bug zappers have led to more sophisticated electronic mosquito killers. These newer devices mimic the heat signature of potential preys and effectively attracts and kills only mosquitoes and other biting insects. The insects are drawn to the unit where they are quickly and quietly electrocuted.
Some electronic mosquito killer devices use carbon dioxide similar to the Skeeter Vac. However, instead of using propane to generate the carbon dioxide, a carbon dioxide tank is used.
Tanks are easily available from soft drink distributors or welding shop suppliers. Some suppliers will even let you use a tank for free (as long as you pay for refills). Others will rent tanks out for a small fee.
When using electronic mosquito killers, placement is crucial. Since mosquitoes live in ground foliage, the mosquito killer should be placed at ground level. Find an area in the yard that is shaded with dense foliage and is blocked from direct sunlight and wind gusts. Good placement the key to optimal results.
Besides their proven effectiveness, the modern electronic mosquito killer devices currently available are a lot more pleasant than older bug zappers. For one thing, they are usually very quiet and produce no discernable odor (at least to humans). Additionally, they are much safer for children and won't scatter fragments of blasted bugs all over when a mosquito meets her demise.
Several electronic mosquito killer systems include a separate device designed to reduce human attractiveness to questing female mosquitoes. Thus, the attractants in the capturing devices placed elsewhere become more effective.
These masking devices usually consist of a plastic casing enclosing a fan powered by 2 AA batteries. The fan helps distribute a plume of a proprietary substance that ostensibly masks human odors to mosquitoes. Thus, female mosquitoes do not recognize humans within the area as food sources.
How far away should you situate your electronic mosquito killer?
The answer is not cut-and-dry. A common rule of thumb is that these devices will be killing mosquitoes within a 100 ft radius (about one acre). However, if people are on the edge of the circle, they will attract mosquitoes that are outside the 100 foot radius. Factors such as wind and physical properties (walls, fences, and buildings) will also interfere (positively and negatively) with the device's ability to attract mosquitoes.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|