My Mosquito Magnet Experience – Part 1: The Decision to Buy

My wife and I recently moved into our first home. Our house, located in the Pulte Homes’ Carrington Reserve development, is situated on a lot which is adjacent to a protected wetland. The Jelkes Creek wetland is one of only three wetlands of its type in the world and is a unique ecosystem to live next to. The wildlife is remarkably abundant – I typically see one or two deer every day and numerous species of bird. The only downside to living here is that mosquitos are equally abundant.

Aside from the usual annoyances associated with mosquitos, this year the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting signifcantly widespread incidents of West Nile Virus, including here in Illinois. I certainly don’t want to expose my family and friends to this risk when they visit our home so I started looking into ways to prevent infection. Unfortunately, the CDC’s best advice is to apply DEET-based insect repellent to exposed skin when outside. I don’t like DEET because it also carries a risk of cancer. The next best advice they have is to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. That doesn’t sound like much fun in the 80+ degree summer heat we get here. Finally, the CDC suggests “mosquito-proofing” your home by eliminating areas of standing water. That sounds great, but what if you live next to a wetland? The EPA somewhat frowns on citizens tramping into their protected wetlands to disturb the standing water, not to mention that standing water is what composes a wetland. So what’s a guy to do?

I’ve been aware of the Mosquito Magnet product for some time and figured it might be time to give it a test run. I didn’t like last year’s models too much because they required a long cord to be plugged into an outdoor electrical outlet. Some of this year’s models are cordless and, therefore, meet with my approval. The Mosquito Magnet has been used by the U.S. Coast Guard to eliminate mosquitos in tropical areas where mosquito bites can cause malaria in addition to West Nile. Within four to six weeks of placing the Mosquito Magnet, the mosquito population of your yard is supposed to crash and no more risk of mosquito bites.

I bought the Liberty Plus model of Mosquito Magnet for US $695 plus shipping. The Liberty Plus provides 1 acre of coverage and is cordless. The cordless part is very interesting. Electricity is required for a little motorized fan inside the unit. The Liberty Plus comes with a rechargeable battery pack. When you put the Mosquito Magnet together, you charge the battery pack for 24 hours. The 24 hour charge powers the unit “all summer” according to the packaging and needs to be recharged only at the beginning of the season. The Mosquito Magnet also requires a propane tank and Octenol attractant cartridges. Both the propane tank and the attractant are replaced every 21 days. The Mosquito Magnet also requires a small net to collect the mosquitos and which is replaced when full.

The Mosquito Magnet is a unique device. The propane in the tank is processed to yield a plume of carbon dioxide. The CO2 is emitted through a small cone at the front of the machine. In the cone is the attractant holder. The CO2 mixes with the attractant and the plume is charged with both CO2 and the attractant – Octenol – which both work to attract mosquitos. When the mosquitos find the plume, they follow it back to the Mosquito Magnet. When the mosquitos fly around the plume cone, they are caught in an upward air flow, a suction almost, that pulls them into the net where they become trapped and die of dehydration within 24 hours.