A sturdy trap that combines UV light and a quiet fan to attract insects up to 1 acre. Has a large insect catching compartment that doesn't require frequent emptying under most conditions.
It occasionally catches critters that are beneficial, such as ladybugs, honeybees, and even lizards. Design is bulky. Expensive.
An affordable trap that works indoors and outdoors by attracting mosquitoes and other flying insects with its soft LED light. Has an energy-saving daytime mode and USB port. It's quiet, effective, and easy to use and clean.
The manufacturer recommends caution with small children around the unit's fan.
Combines a UV light, fan, and glue board to lure and trap insects. USB power port allows you to run it efficiently off any compatible device or power pack. Earns praise for its effectiveness for infestations of small insects such as fruit flies.
Replacement glue boards can get costly. Somewhat noisy to operate.
Works in small to medium interior rooms by attracting insects to the UV light and keeping them in place with glue boards. Quiet to operate. Works well in areas where multiple insects such as flies tend to gather.
Plugs directly into outlets, and may be too heavy for some. Like similar models, replacing glue boards can get pricey. Some flickering of the light has been reported.
Can be used standing or in a hanging position. Attracts insects with a pleasant UV light, then sucks them into the unit with a fan that's fairly quiet to operate. Can be used indoors/outdoors, and has a 1,000 sq. ft. range.
Some owners report disappointing results for mosquito control. May catch beneficial insects and small animals like lizards. Some malfunctions after several weeks of use noted.
Nothing spoils a barbecue or quiet evening in the backyard as fast as a bunch of pesky bugs. You could be having the perfect night with family or friends when, all of a sudden, a barrage of mosquitos or gnats invades your space and ruins everything. For this reason, it’s very smart to keep an insect trap on hand. If you want to keep bug bites to a minimum, you need to know which features are critical for your situation. Would an indoor or outdoor model work best? What range should the trap have?
When you’re ready to buy an insect trap, take a look at our top recommendations. For general information about insect traps, read our shopping guide.
Different types of insects are drawn to different lures. Some insect traps utilize multiple lures to draw as many bugs as possible. That said, there are three main types of insect traps on the market today: light traps, vacuum traps, and carbon dioxide traps.
As the name implies, a light trap attracts bugs with a light. The bugs get caught inside a chamber where they dehydrate and eventually die. A light trap may include a mercury-vapor lamp, a fluorescent lamp, a light-emitting diode, or black light.
Notably, light only attracts certain types of insects. For example, lighted insect traps are ideal for attracting moths. But they don’t work on all bugs, so you may wish to consider a light trap that has another type of lure as well.
Because not all bugs are attracted to light, you may find a vacuum trap to be more effective at drawing in bugs. Using a vacuum fan, a vacuum trap sucks insects into an internal chamber where they dehydrate and die. Vacuum fan traps don’t discriminate; they suck up anything that flies close enough. Therefore, a vacuum trap is a good choice if you’re dealing with a large range of flying bugs.
Some insects are attracted to carbon dioxide. A carbon dioxide trap emits gas from small internal canisters in order to draw bugs inside. Because they can’t escape, the insects eventually dehydrate and die. Carbon dioxide traps don’t attract all flying insects, but they do work for many biting insects, including black flies and mosquitos.
Most insect traps can be used either inside or outside. That said, most homeowners prefer to place their traps outdoors.
However, there are some insect traps that are meant strictly for indoor use. Indoor insect traps aren’t weatherproof or waterproof. Exposure to outside elements could damage an insect trap designed solely for indoor use.
Some traps include a hook for hanging; these work well outside. Other traps include a stand that allows you to place it on any flat surface. For indoor use, a bug trap with a stand is usually the best option.
Unlike bug zappers, which electrocute insects, an insect trap doesn’t create airborne particles that might contaminate your home. Instead, insects are simply caught inside where they eventually die. You can then empty the trap and clean it out.
An insect trap with a light or vacuum fan requires a power source to operate. Some are battery-operated, while others must be plugged into an outlet.
Battery-operated insect traps tend to have dimmer lights and weaker fans. However, you can place a battery-operated insect trap anywhere without worrying whether there is an outlet nearby.
Plug-in insect traps tend to have brighter lights and stronger fans. However, you are somewhat restricted in the placement of a plug-in insect trap.
Some insects traps have a USB port. You can power these traps using a cable and a device such as a computer or tablet.
An insect trap “range” is the distance around which it effectively eradicates bugs.
While you want an insect trap with a large enough range to address all of your nuisance insects, you shouldn’t choose a model with a range that’s too large. Otherwise, you could end up attracting more bugs to the area than you originally had.
For the best results, the average homeowner will probably want to choose a insect trap with a range of 500 to 800 square feet.
For an even larger space, you can upgrade to an insect trap with a range of approximately 1,000 square feet.
Because dead insects are stored inside an insect trap, you’ll need to empty it periodically.
Some traps have a storage compartment that twists off the device. To get rid of dead bugs, you remove the compartment, empty it, and then replace it.
Other traps have a tray that simply slides out for cleaning. If you want as little hassle as possible, consider an insect trap with a slide-out tray, as these are usually the easiest to empty and clean.
Insect traps vary in price based on type, range, and other features, but you can typically expect to spend between $25 and $200 on one.
For a basic insect trap with a shorter range and only one type of lure or attractant, you’ll usually pay between $25 and $50.
For an insect trap with a medium range and at least two types of lures or attractants, you’ll usually pay between $50 and $100.
For a insect trap with a long range and three or more types of lures or attractants, you’ll usually pay between $100 and $200.
Empty your insect trap at least once a week. If your yard or home has a large number of insects, you may need to empty it twice a week.
To clean an insect trap storage tray or compartment, empty it of insects and rinse it with warm water. Allow the tray or compartment to air-dry completely before returning it to the trap.
Don’t place your insect trap in an area where people gather, such as on your deck or patio. You may inadvertently attract insects to the area, creating a greater nuisance. Instead, place the trap 30 to 40 feet away from any area where people will be congregating.
Place your insect trap in an open area where it’s easy for the insects to access it.
Some vacuum fan insect traps feature multiple suction levels, such as “strong” or “normal,” so you can customize operation.
Mosquitoes can spread a variety of diseases, including the Zika virus, malaria, yellow fever, and dengue fever. Controlling the population around your home with an insect trap can help keep your family safe.
Q. What’s the difference between an insect trap and a bug zapper?
A. A bug zapper typically features lights that attract insects to the device. When they fly up to the zapper, they land on an electrified grid that electrocutes them instantly. An insect trap merely lures the bugs inside the device, where they remain trapped until they die from dehydration.
While bug zappers can be effective at eliminating a portion of the insect population in or around your home, they make more noise and are messier than traps.
Q. Are insect traps safe to use around children and pets?
A. Insect traps usually don’t utilize any type of chemical pesticide that might pose a health risk to children or animals. If you choose a model with a vacuum fan, however, manufacturers suggest that you keep children and pets away from the device, as the blades could cause injury.
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