Updated: June 4, 2010
I bought my first Mosquito Magnet after my neighbor told me that it eliminates biting black flies and mosquitoes. He also told me it doesn’t work on dog flies, horse flies, green heads or other larger biting flies.
My neighbor was right on both accounts. It worked pretty well on black flies and mosquitoes … when it was running. The only problem is that it didn’t stay running for very long.
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The Mosquito Magnet in my backyard
Let me begin by telling you about the bugs in my backyard. It’s surrounded by vernal pools and a very small pond.
With all the water around, it makes for the ideal reproductive environment for mosquitoes and biting flies of all kinds.
During black fly season, which runs from the last week of April to beginning of June, the black flies are overwhelming.
Their bite causes a similar welt to a bite from a mosquito. To protect myself, I garden with mosquito head netting and wear clothing that leaves no bare skin exposed.
I use DEET on my clothes to prevent the flies (and also ticks) from trying to get inside my clothes. Yet the black flies still find a way to get at my skin. Sometimes biting through the netting.
I don’t put DEET on my skin because I’m afraid that it’s toxic and even try to spray it on my shirt and pants before I put them on so the DEET doesn’t penetrate to my skin.
When the black flies die off in early June, the mosquito season starts. It lasts until the first frost.
I’m fortunate that mosquitoes usually don’t come out during the day unless it’s cloudy. If you go out at night, you’ll be lucky if you make it back indoors with any blood.
Mosquito Magnet performance
When it comes to black flies, the Mosquito Magnet is never able to completely eliminate them. There are too many. But it kills thousands and thousands.
During the worst black fly seasons, when there’s plenty of water around, the mosquito catcher bag fills in a few days.
I suspect that in some years, the Mosquito Magnet will end the black fly season a few days early. It does capture millions of these flies. But the population is so large that this is inconsequential.
The saving grace is that black fly season only lasts for about a month. (By now you’re probably asking yourself why do I live where I do.)
If it has been very dry for a couple of weeks, and there’s no standing water, the Mosquito Magnet will completely eliminate them in an area of about one quarter acre.
Most of the time, unless you go into a shady area or it’s cloudy, my backyard has no mosquitoes in the daytime anyway.
The Mosquito Magnet will sometimes eliminate enough mosquitoes so that you don’t get bothered even when it’s cloudy.
The main problem
So why do I NOT recommend the Mosquito Magnet? The main problem is it breaks.
After four seasons, the first one that I bought had a circuit board failure. I ended up buying a second one because it was almost as expensive to fix the broken one as it was to buy a new one.
But when the second Mosquito Magnet wouldn’t start after four years of ownership, I decided I’d had enough.
After two years, my first unit’s rechargeable battery failed.— Suburban Hobby Farmer
If you decide to buy one, you should take into account that they have about a four-year life. This is just long enough to outlast the warranty. Maybe, in this case, an extended warranty makes sense.
I’ve opted NOT to buy a third one. Call me crazy, but twice is enough.
The Mosquito Magnet requires a new octenol attractant cartridge and a new tank of propane every 21 days. So even after you make the investment in purchasing a unit, you’re not done paying.
It will work, although probably not as efficiently, without a new cartridge.
After two years, my first unit’s rechargeable battery failed. This cost me a little less than $45 (with shipping) to replace.
The second unit used regular batteries, so you should figure batteries into the cost of the consumables.
Every once in a while, the MM just stops working. When this happens, you need to use a Quick-Clear Cartridge with a Quick-Clear Valve to clear out contaminants.
This is the only way to start the Mosquito Magnet when contaminants build up in the system.
Mosquito Magnet FAQ
Here are my answers to some of the most common questions about the Mosquito Magnet:
It captures biting black flies and mosquitos before they have a chance to breed. This interrupts the breeding cycle thereby eliminating these bugs from your backyard.
It does kill mosquitos and black flies in significant numbers … when it is running. If you have a lot of black flies or mosquitoes, it sometimes gets overwhelmed and isn’t able to kill all of the bugs.
My experience is the Mosquito Magnet starts to make a noticeable difference after about two weeks.
It works on black flies, but sometimes there are too many, and the Mosquito Magnet gets overwhelmed.
It imitates the prey of the mosquito by giving off carbon dioxide. The device converts propane into carbon dioxide to make this happen.
When the mosquito or black fly gets close to where the Mosquito Magnet emits carbon dioxide, the fan sucks them in and they are trapped.
In addition, the device uses a chemical attractant to increase the chances of trapping the mosquito. This attractant is toxic to humans, so be careful how you handle it.
You must replace this attractant every time your propane tank runs out.
A tank of propane will last roughly 21 days of continuous running. It’s important to make sure the Mosquito Magnet isn’t stopped for long because this will give the mosquitoes a chance to reestablish their breeding cycle and repopulate your garden.
If mosquitoes are likely to come from a certain direction, you should put it downwind, between you and the source of the mosquitoes.
Do NOT put it near where you are going to be hanging out. It does attract mosquitoes, so you should put it about 50 feet away.
See the price on Amazon.
To sum it up, here are the pros and cons of the Mosquito Magnet:
- Significantly reduces the amount of mosquitoes and biting flies
- Doesn’t kill anything that doesn’t bite humans
- Doesn’t use pesticides
- Doesn’t kill ALL the mosquitoes and biting flies
- Expensive to buy and run
- Consumes a tank of propane every 21 days — not exactly “green”
- Temperamental and sometimes difficult to start
- Lasts about 4-years, then you must buy a second one
The bottom line is that if you have a smaller yard, fewer mosquitoes and no biting flies, you’d probably be happy with a Mosquito Magnet — for as long as it is working.
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