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These outdoor insect traps will make dining al fresco more enjoyable

Everything you need to keep insects away from your food


Nothing compares to eating lunch outside on a sunny summer day. But annoying insects can quickly surround you, making it difficult to enjoy your food. These bugs can spread disease and make your food unappealing. Outdoor insect traps employ several techniques to entice and kill insects, preventing them from getting near you or your food. 

Why should you consider using an insect trap when eating outside?

Insect traps aid in preventing pest bites, which may lead to itchy skin or diseases. For instance, mosquitoes are known to spread the West Nile virus, while flies can carry cholera. Food can get contaminated by insects through their excrement and saliva. Although the incidences of cholera in the United States are very low, many cases are thought to be caused by contaminated food. Per the National Institutes of Health, cholera can survive on the outer body of a fly for up to seven days, so it’s a good idea to keep them off your food. 

Droppings from insects might attract additional insects and make your outdoor space look untidy. For example, flies lay their eggs in their feces. Killing pests as they arrive is a great way to avoid attracting more.

Types of insect traps

  • Sticky traps: Sticky traps catch insects quickly and easily. They trap insects as they land using sticky glue. Many won’t withstand rain, meaning you can’t leave them outside. However, some are specifically designed for outdoor use and can withstand rain and sunlight. You'll want to be careful, as they can get stuck to you if you accidentally come in contact with them.
  • Light traps: Light traps draw in insects with light. The bugs are caught in a tray or zapped after being drawn to the light. These are effective against mosquitoes, moths and flies.
  • Pheromone traps: These use pheromones to lure insects in. Unfortunately, they’re often only effective against a specific sex.

What to consider when buying an insect trap

  • Types of insects in your area: Some traps are more effective than others at catching particular types of insects. Make sure the trap you select will draw in the species of insects you are trying to kill.
  • Trap size: Small traps are normally less effective outside unless you don’t have many pests in your area. Larger traps are more expensive but can keep a wider site free of pests.
  • Cost: The cost of an insect trap can range from a few dollars to several hundred. Pick a trap that is within your price range.
  • Efficiency: You’ll want to determine how well a trap deals with the insects in your area. Some traps are efficient at attracting bugs but inefficient at killing them or vice versa. Traps that lure insects in without effectively killing or containing them can do more harm than good.

Best outdoor bug traps

DynaTrap Large Mosquito and Flying Insect Trap

This has an outstanding one-acre coverage and uses a UV light and silent fan to attract and trap insects. It contains no toxic chemicals. It has a sizable chamber for trapping insects and doesn’t need to be emptied frequently. Its only downside is that it tends to capture helpful bugs and is large enough to trap other small animals, such as lizards.

Sold by Amazon

DjRoll Bug Zapper

This can be used inside or outdoors. It is waterproof and has a 2,100-square-foot range. The safety guard ensures you don’t accidentally touch the lamp. It has a removable tray to catch dead bugs.

Sold by Amazon

BugBane Pre-Baited Disposable Fly Bags

These traps lure flies in with a scent and a blue color. They're easy to set up and can be thrown away, meaning you don't have to clean them. They work well but shouldn't be placed too close to your eating area, as you may smell them.

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Garsum Fruit Fly Sticky Traps

These small sticky pads catch fruit flies and other flying insects. They're available in various fun shapes, such as butterflies, chicks and trees. They're UV-resistant, waterproof and durable.

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Black and Decker Indoor and Outdoor Bug Zapper

This zapper is made by a trusted brand. It withstands rain and comes with a two-year limited warranty. It has a tray that collects dead bugs and includes a cleaning brush.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

DynaTrap DT160SR Insect Trap

This compact trap has a quarter-acre range. It attracts bugs with light and CO2 that mimics human breath. It has a quiet fan that traps insects when they fly too close.

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ElecHome Bug Zapper

This solar-powered zapper can be used inside or outdoors. It doubles as a flashlight and can be charged via USB-C if you plan to use it inside. It has a 2,100-square-foot range.

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Black Flag Handheld Bug Zapper

This is an excellent choice for those who prefer a hands-on approach. It can be used inside and outdoors but should be kept away from children. It is battery-powered and works on bugs of all sizes.

Sold by Home Depot

CatchMaster Double-Sided Sticky Card Insect Trap

These are easy to set up and can last up to a year if it isn't too humid. They are UV-resistant and waterproof. You can buy them as a set of 36 or 72.

Sold by Amazon

Katchy Indoor Insect Trap

Although this can't be used outside, it's a handy tool if you'll be in and out of your home during a cookout. It has a stylish design and is available in black and white. It uses a UV light, fan and sticky base to attract and trap insects.

Sold by Amazon

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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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