Everyone is so sick and tired of mosquitoes, that people keep inventing newer ways of killing them. Amateur and experimenters recommend rubbing the herbs all over, while the manufacturers keep launching new electronic devices.
There are so many methods, tips and products that we have decided to unravel a Gordian knot of them and clear the confusion up once and for all.
In order to get rid of mosquitoes smartly, let’s figure out what the modern treatments can and cannot do and what purposes each of them serves. Here we have listed ALL of the ways of getting rid of mosquitoes ever invented by humanity: from bacteria killing larvae to the modern powerful propane traps. But first let’s figure out what is USELESS against mosquitoes.
Is it possible to kill mosquitoes with the help of electronic repellents and zappers? Unfortunately, electronic repellents are absolutely ineffective against mosquitoes, and that has long been proven by the scientists. In the 1990s the scientists have carried out some experiments, and a few studies have shown they are very poor at killing mosquito females (the sex that bites). They claim that the majority of the insects zapped are useful species, such as aquatic insects, which serve as food for fish. That’s why we won’t consider bug zappers to be an effective means of getting rid of mosquitoes. So, what do we have left?
Table of Contents:
- How to Kill Mosquitoes: Methods Based on Scientific Researchers
- How to Kill Mosquito Larvae So As To Prevent Their Breeding
- How to Get Rid Of Mosquitoes in the Yard: Killing Adult Mosquitoes with Insecticides
- Getting Rid of Mosquitoes in the Yard: Foggers & Traps
- How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in the House
- 7 Tried and True Ways to Get Rid of Mosquitoes, Proven by the Scientists
There are only a few methods approved by the scientists, such as repellents, traps, foggers, mosquito larvae killers and insecticides for adult mosquitoes. Let’s see when and how each of them is to be used.
- Obviously, the repellents can only drive away the mosquitoes. DEET- and picaridin-based sprays, bands and permethrin-treated clothes are considered to be such. (You can get a better picture of them in our review of 14 best repellents).
- Traps are suitable for catching adult species, but they do not control the mosquito population as the insect continues breeding regardless of whether the trap is working. CO2, heat, H20 and propane traps are such products; we have covered them in details in a separate review.
- Mosquito killers which not only kill adult species, but also break the breeding cycle include powerful synthetic insecticides (for killing adult mosquitoes) and bacteria and IGRs which are to be poured into the water for killing larvae.
All in all, if you live in Florida and have to deal with thousands of mosquitoes, be ready to combine all of these treatments together. Use repellents for personal protection, traps for catching the mosquitoes and synthetic chemicals and bacteria, which kill mosquito larvae and thus break the breeding cycle for reducing mosquito population. Let’s start with the latter.
It’s possible to kill mosquito larvae by either biological or chemical means. Since mosquitoes lay their larvae in the water, and you probably have some still water at your place (be it a pond or a rain water tank), this will be the place for planting some special live bacteria. You should plant them as early as in the beginning of April and continue the process until the end of summer.
The State University of New Jersey scientists recommend using products containing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) which destroy the stomach lining of the mosquito larva.
Mosquito Dunk, Mosquito Bits & Pouches
These are three identical products containing the same active ingredient, Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis. (B.t.i.). It’s a biological insect population regulator. The only thing that is different about the products is their configuration, which can be dunk donuts, granules and pouches. The former two are the Best Sellers in the Insect & Pest Repellent category on Amazon.com and are time-proven: 90% of positive reviews (4.6 stars out of 5) and over 10 years of presence of the larvicide market are the figures which speak for themselves.
These biological mosquito control products kill mosquitoes’ larvae and don’t let them breed for up to 30 days. This method is 100% natural, organic and environment-friendly. You have to put the product into a pond, bird bath, flower pot, storm drains, drainage ditches, and barrels storing rain water, puddles or other sources of standing water including the stumps of trees and drains on the roof etc. This won’t be enough, though. In order for an insecticide containing Bti to work most effectively, you have to bear in mind several important points:
- Use such bio control in the evening or at night as the scientists believe that direct sunlight destroys Bti.
- Products that contain Bti have a narrow range of action and are only helpful when killing mosquito, black fly and fungus gnat larvae.
Let’s see how live bacteria act against mosquitoes with the help of Mosquito Bits. The manufacturer claims that all of the existing mosquito larvae will be killed within 24 hours before they grow up, which means they won’t be able to breed. In real life killing of mosquitoes occurs much faster, here is the feedback from a customer on Mosquito Bits: “My son and I tested this out on a 5 gallon bucket brimming with twitchy mosquito larvae. We put maybe half a teaspoon of bits in: all the larvae were dead within three hours”. By the way, the manufacturer doesn’t mention how often the granules are to be changed, but the scientists recommend doing it regularly, once in 7-12 days in accordance with the dosage proportion of 1 tsp per 25 sq. ft. Find more helpful tips from over 600 customer reviews on Amazon.com.
Experience shows that Bti. is really safe both for pets and wild animals, as many users let their dogs drink from the pond where the bits were poured, and as the active ingredient has no effect on rabbits, squirrels and other animals inhabiting the area.
Many users consider the bacteria to be a 2-in-1 product which can be used both as a means of express-killing of the larvae and as a preventive measure. For the latter purpose large reserves of standing water are to be treated with bacteria before the mosquito season is open, i.e. in April.
Mosquito Dunks: from ~$7.12 Check the current price
Mosquito Bits: from ~$18.27 Check the current price
Bonide Mosquito Beater Water Soluble Pouches: ~$14.21 Check the current price
Best Synthetic Chemical IGRs for Killing Mosquito Larvae
Insect Growth Regulators are considered to be an alternative to the bacteria. Methoprene is among safe Insect Growth Regulators (IGR’s) recommended by the specialists of the California Department of Public Health. The scientists claim that just like Bti, this IGR is safe to use in human drinking water sources.
Several products containing methoprene can be found on Amazon.com. Altosid Pro-G Mosquito Larvicide is one of them. Unlike similar items, this isn’t a concentrate liquid IGR, but a granule larvicide. The manufacturer promises that it will “prevent mosquitoes from becoming breeding, biting adults”. A ~$35.75 pack contains 2.6 lbs of granules, which will be enough for treating up to 5 455 sq ft. Even if you use them frugally, you’ll be able to see the effect within 24 hours. Even the users coming from the Floridian mosquito kingdom praise its effectiveness (“just remember to spread it monthly and don't forget the gutters!")
Price: ~$35.75 Check the current price
There is another powerful pyriproxyfen- (also known as Nylar) based IGR. Its active ingredient is used in Africa for maintaining control over the mosquitoes which carry dengue fever and malaria. The IGR is also available on Amazon.com but we doubt you’ll need such a powerful synthetic chemical product. Despite the fact that it has been approved by the scientists for use on drinking water, it is more toxic. Pyriproxyfen can be 40 times more powerful than methoprene with regards to certain types of mosquitoes. One ounce of the IGR concentrate is to be dissolved in one gallon of water which means that 4 oz will be enough for treating 6,000 sq ft. I.G. Regulator, 4 oz by Martin is available for ~$15.35.
Remember that mosquito larvae can appear anywhere, regardless of whether there is a pond or a pool. Any kind of standing water, even a small puddle can support a population," as per Jack DeAngelis, the Oregon State University entomologist. He recommends you to "Be sure that gutters are draining properly, empty flower pots and check drainage ditches."
Now that we have dealt with the larvae, let’s kill adult species. First let’s take a look at the insecticides.
The University of California specialists recommend using Organophosphate (malathion): Pyrethrin, Pyrethroids (deltamethrin, permethrin, and sumithrin) as adulticides. Among the products available on Amazon.com we have picked several insecticides with these active ingredients. Not only they kill the mosquitoes, but they also create a barrier around your place. The former product, a spray, will do for manual treatment while the latter one is to be used for a mosquito fogger.
Suspend Sc Insecticide 1 pint
This is a both indoor and outdoor insecticide. Its active ingredient is a pyrethroid, deltamethrin (~$34.22). The product is manufactured by a pharmaceutical giant Bayer and is considered to be a professional insecticide. This multifunctional item is effective against 50 types of pests. Various pests require various dosages, listed on the label or the manufacturer’s website. In general, the consumers are satisfied with the insecticide, but their opinions regarding the insecticidal barrier against different pests vary. The ones fighting against other pest insects note that the residual effect lasts for up to a month, while the ones killing mosquitoes complain that the effectiveness lasts for only a few days. We still think that even a few days of rest without mosquitoes is an acceptable result!
Price: ~$34.22 Check the current price
Black Flag 190255 Fogging Insecticide 32-Ounce
This product is only for outdoor use for treating large areas! Its active ingredient is 3-Phenoxybenzyl which is a permethrin (from pyrethroids class). It kills mosquitoes and biting flies, creates a barrier and lasts up to 6 hours. Make sure you wear a protective mask and treat your place only when it’s not windy! For more details about foggers, refer to our review of the 3 best mosquito foggers.
Price: ~$13 Check the current price
Attention! The scientists claim that, with time, mosquitoes become resistant to the pesticides used against them earlier. Most likely you won’t ever find out what kind of chemicals were used for treating against mosquitoes by your neighbors or by the previous home owners, so if a product doesn’t work, it is not necessarily ineffective; perhaps the mosquitoes have simply gotten used to it.
As a result, we have compiled a chart listing all of the abovementioned effective synthetic and biological mosquito insecticides.
Mosquito Insecticides: Larvicides and Adulticides
Biological Larvicide (to be poured into the standing water)
Bonide Mosquito Beater Water Soluble Pouches
Chemical Larvicide (IGR) (the granules or dissolved concetrate is to be poured into the standing water)
Altosid Pro-G Mosquito Larvicide
I.G. Regulator, 4 oz by Martin
Adulticide (for spraying the area)
Suspend Sc Insecticide
Black Flag 190255 Fogging Insecticide
Now that we have spoken about insecticides and picked the best of them, let’s find out how to apply them properly. Using foggers is the most effective means of spraying.
Foggers can be considered a weapon of mass destruction. Generating poisonous fog is a relatively simple and effective method of combating mosquitoes. We have published a comprehensive review of the foggers earlier.
Burgess 1443 40-Ounce Outdoor Propane Insect Fogger is an Amazon.com bestseller, its rating is 4.4 out of 5 stars. Why is it so popular? Because of its price, obviously. Upon reading the feedback, we realized that you get its value for money. This is not a perfect gadget; it’s a solid and cheap device. It’s also quite powerful, as the fog jet can reach 10 ft.
Price: $58.79 Check the current price
If you don’t feel like dealing with foggers and insecticides, try using traps. There are different kinds of mosquito traps: propane, CO2 and H2O ones. We have devoted a full-scale review to all the modern traps, and here we’ll briefly tell you about the kinds of traps. Here are 4 types of highly effective traps:
Heat-traps heat the air above the average temperature and thus attract mosquitoes. Their main benefit is their coverage area (up to 2 acres), and the main drawback is its premium price and large dimensions. This is a good choice for industrial plants and for farmers.
H2O will suit those with allergies and don’t cost much. They are hypo allergic, don’t require any attractants and can function both at home or at a plant. Their effectiveness, though, is lower than that of propane traps.
CO2 traps are an intermediary between compact home traps and giant propane ones. They emit CO2 and thus attract the mosquitoes. Some of the models can even function without gas bottles as CO2 is released from metal with photo catalysis.
Propane traps are the most effective and most expensive traps. They can cope with any mosquito attack as they kill thousands of them and consequently reduce their population considerably. They work 24/7. The idea of propane traps is that they turn propane to CO2, heat and moisture. When the mosquitoes fly by, they get sucked into the trap (like a vacuum cleaner would suck them in). Within 24 hours the insects die of dehydration, and all you have to do is clean up the tray.
For more details, refer to our Best Mosquito Traps Review: Heat, CO2, H2O and Propane Traps.
So, we have shared with you how to kill larvae and get rid of adult mosquitoes outside. The main idea is to secure the perimeter of your place so that no creature could fly into your house! Now, let’s fight those who still have been able to get inside.
Here we’ll have to disappoint you. The scientists all at once claim that no panacea against mosquitoes for indoor use has yet been invented. We’ll have to use some old-school methods for killing the mosquitoes that have flown into the room, with a vacuum cleaner or with a newspaper.
Here are the 5 best ways of getting rid of mosquitoes in your house recommended by entomologists.
1. Get rid of any standing water at home. The scientists believe that female mosquitoes can lay eggs even in the water left under the flower pot. A long neglected flower vase can become a real springboard for mosquito breeding, to say nothing of the wet basements! Eliminate all such sources of still water and then get on with fighting the remaining mosquitoes.
2. Vacuum clean. We are positive you have already thought of taking your vacuum cleaner and chasing the blood-sucking insects Ghostbusters style. Now is the time to make some noise! Mind the ceiling, walls, and behind the curtains as these as the places where mosquitoes can hide.
3. Use Swatter Zappers: just push the button. This is a very popular product; it is listed in the top 20 best selling products in the Bug Zappers category on Amazon.com, you’ll find 9 swatters made by different manufacturers!
The Executioner Fly Swat Wasp Bug Mosquito Swatter Zapper
The Executioner Fly Swat Wasp Bug Mosquito Swatter Zapper (~$19.99) is one of the top three best selling electric swatters rated 4.1 stars out of 5. This thing has over 1600 customer reviews that you can find here.
It requires two AA batteries and looks like a tennis racquet. The device is made of ultra light plastic and weighs less than 12 oz. The idea is simple; any small insects found within the “working area” of this device will be electrocuted (if you hit a special button, of course). One hit leads to electrocution of a dozen of mosquitoes. This gets very exciting. Still, you’ll have to use the racquet a lot in order to kill tons of mosquitoes. On the other hand, this device doesn’t use any attractants, aerosols or other chemical compounds. Its electrical discharge is safe for humans.
Price: ~$19.99 Check the current price
4. Use Mosquito Netting to Protect Your House and Kids from Mosquitoes.
Mosquito nets have long been used for windows only. Progress has reached them too, Magnetic Screen Door, Full Frame Velcro Nirvana is an example of that. This screen door combines insect Velcro and special magnets. This is a very popular product, it is a #1 Best Seller in the Screen Door Hardware category on Amazon.com and it has nearly 5000 customer reviews. Judging by the Amazon.com rating of this product (4.5 stars out of 5), customers love this item. They claim that installing this screen door with the help of the video manual will take less than half an hour and it can be used for the whole summer. Negative reviews that we found touched upon the fact that one customer’s dog loved to bite this screen, and at another customer’s place this screen doesn’t stay put without additional mounting.
Price: ~$29.95 Check the current price
Jumbo Mosquito Net for Bed, Queen Size is a net that can protect the largest bed from mosquitoes. This mosquito bed netting costs ~$7.99 and looks well. Obviously, you won’t be able to hang such a baldachin over your bed if you live in an apartment, but if you live in a rural area or travel south, this device will suit you perfectly.
Nevertheless, a mosquito net can be effective without any progressive technology. Jeep Stroller with Weather Protector and Carrier Netting can be used to cover a stroller, infant carrier, carriage or bassinet. It costs ~$2.89 and it can completely protect your toddler from mosquitoes and bad weather with no frills. It sells well and its customer rating is 4.5 stars out of 5.
5. Use fans. University of Georgia scientists also recommend “sitting in front of a fan as it will help you keep mosquitoes away”. Be careful with this method however, as you can easily catch a cold, even in the summer!
As for the methods approved by the scientists, this might as well be it. Remember, in the very beginning, we mentioned another method? It is extremely controversial, as the scientists don’t consider zappers to be effective. On the other hand, if no other mosquito killer for home is available, the customers remain satisfied with a zapper and claim that it helps kill not only all types of flying insects, but also the mosquitoes. That’s why if you’d like to test this device, read our review of the Best Insect Zappers.
To sum up, let’s summarize our investigation and list all 7 methods which will surely help you get rid of mosquitoes. We’ll start with the simplest ones and finish with the most hardcore ones, used by the professionals.
- Mosquito nettings are usually simple to use and cheap. Use them as a permanent preventive measure on your windows and doorways and, if necessary, cover beds (including child cradles) and prams with them when outside. Choose the most suitable netting from ~$3.53.
- Homemade & natural repellents are your choice if you’re for everything natural and organic. Some plants and oil can drive mosquitoes away – find the best ones in our review of the Best Mosquito Repellent plants.
- Ready-to-use repellents not only repel the mosquitoes with the sharp smell, just like plants do, but also disguise the exhaled carbon dioxide and other human odors attractive for mosquitoes. There are also concentrated liquid repellents which need to be sprayed on larger territories. Repellents based on DEET, picaridin, and oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), PMD, IR3535 and permethrin are considered most effective ones – you can buy from ~$3.86.
- Larvicides are crucial when it comes to getting rid of mosquitoes. Use these larvae control products, to break the mosquito development cycle at the larval stage in standing water. There exist larvicides containing either live bacteria, such as 20-Pack Mosquito Dunk for ~$20.41, or synthetic ingredients, as methoprene-based Altosid Pro-G Mosquito Larvicide (~$35.75).
- Adulticides are concentrated liquid insecticides aimed at killing adult mosquitoes. Dissolve the product in accordance with the manual and spray it all over!! The best adulticides are Black Flag Liquid for ~$13 and Suspend Sc Insecticide for ~$34.22.
- Mosquito traps are powerful devices which draw an insect with an attractive smell, CO2, heat or moisture. Once in the trap, mosquitoes find themselves in a closed space where they die of dehydration. The traps are harmless for humans. Indoor traps will protect you from a couple dozen mosquitoes at home, while outdoor propane traps will exterminate thousands of mosquitoes. Choose the best mosquito trap on Amazon.com.
- Foggers are devices which create a poisonous fog around. The fogging liquid is toxic to humans, and, that’s why you can work with foggers wearing a special suit and a protective mask. The main advantages of these devices are that they allow working on large areas as fast as possible. Price: from ~$60.