How to Control Mosquitoes in Your Yard

mosquito larvaeLike to spend summer evenings outdoors? There are several types of devices you can use in your yard which claim to repel or kill mosquitos. Some of these are very effective in protecting you and your family from those nasty mosquito bites!

We don't carry or make mosquito control products ourselves, but for your convenience we have a page with links to where you can buy some of the most popular and best rated mosquito control products online.

Mosquito Traps ("mosquito machines", "insect catchers ")

mosquito trapThese devices generate heat and carbon dioxide - the same elements which attract mosquitos to humans. Most also attract mosquitoes with Octenol or Lurex - scents which are odorless to humans but irresistable to the insects. Mosquitos are drawn into the traps and killed. Insect traps which use propane should never be used in an enclosed space. They can be very effective at protecting large areas of up to an acre or more.

The first generation of these machines were large and unsightly, newer mosquito traps are much nicer looking and technology that was problematic (notably the ignition systems) has been greatly improved. Smaller, modestly-priced units using some of the same technologies are available for small yards and patios.

Get more information on how they work or see our mosquito trap reviews.

For a budget-friendly alternative to electric and propane mosquito traps, take a look at the Springstar mosquito traps. Similar to those glass wasp traps, this clever invention uses a pheromone-scented bait pad to draw mosquitos inside the device, where they get trapped and drown. Best of all, the SpringStar traps are environmentally friendly - no electric cords, gas tanks or even batteries!
More info »

Using a mosquito trap

A mosquito machine should be placed a good distance from where people are congregating and preferably upwind. Place mosquito traps on the perimeters of your yard, not in the middle of your activity area, and set them to run 24/7 or at least daily during peak insect activity times (dawn and dusk) at first. After a few days to weeks you'll notice a reduction in the mosquito population.

Learn more about how to buy and use a mosquito trap. For a quick look at different models, see our comparison chart »

Scent based repellers - Citronella, Mosquito coils, Thermacell®

mosquito coilOne of the oldest mosquito repelling standbys, citronella candles and mosquito coils are fairly effective in their immediate area. They act by producing a scent which repels the mosquitos. Anything with a flame can be a fire hazard - take proper precautions!

Geraniol is another natural, essential oil which repels mosquitos much in the same way as Citronella. Several companies have also developed proprietary scent products.

A newer scent-based repeller is the Thermacell personal repellent - a butane-powered device which emits heat and allethrin (the synthetic form of permethrin to repel mosquitos up to 15 ft away. The Thermocell is a little bulky to carry everywhere, but great to take on hunting or camping trips. See our ThermaCELL review »

These personal insect repellers have become quite popular in recent years - we've made a feature comparison chart of the best selling devices of this type.

Bug "Zappers"

These are the electrified devices which emit ultraviolet light to attract and "zap" bugs. However besides killing mosquitoes, they also kill many other insects, including benign ones. And unfortunately, they do little to reduce the mosquito population because mosquitos aren't particularly interested inultraviolet light! Estimates say that generally less than 3% of the insects killed by "zappers" are mosquitos. Battery-powered, handheld bug zappers are also available online. We don't recommend these for mosquito control, but some people swear by them and use a little "hack" to make them more effective. Read more »

Ultrasonic Devices

These are small electric or battery-operated devices that emit ultrasonic sounds. They claim to repel mosquitos (and mice, rats, hornets, spiders, even fleas). In our experience, they are useless (except possibly against mice), and in some devices the noise is in a range that can still be heard by humans and house pets - those can be rather annoying.

Mosquito "Dunks" and granules

Mosquito dunks are round tablets which dissolve in water and contain bacteria harmful to mosquito larvae. Used in ponds, fountains and bird baths, they are very effective and non-toxic to birds, ornamental fish and plants (follow the label guidelines). You should keep pets away from the treated water.

Yard treatments and sprays

A variety of yard sprays and treatments are available, both organic/natural and chemically-based. Effectiveness varies. For safety reasons, read the label before using and follow all cautions and recommendations.

Shop for insect control products >>

See also our page on mosquito prevention. Got bitten despite taking precautions? Try these mosquito bite remedies or commercial insect bite products.