Three best insect traps - Feb. 2019 - BestReviews

Allen Foster

Place outdoor traps downwind of the space you want to defend. You don't want enticing scents wafting over the area.

Is there anything more annoying than that high-pitched buzz when a gnat flies past (and sometimes into) your ear? Or how about that little tickle on your arm that abruptly turns to pain when the needle-like proboscis of a female mosquito pierces your skin? Besides the annoyance, many insects can transmit diseases. You don't just want an insect trap -- you need one!

But how does an insect trap work? What are the different types? Will it work both inside and outside? This guide will answer these questions and more as it walks you through the essentials and offers guidance so you can find the insect trap that works best for your situation.

Considerations when choosing insect traps

Different insect traps use different means to attract insects, including light, heat, carbon dioxide, and lures.

Light: You can use light to attract the attention of many types of insects. Although these traps can be used both indoors and outdoors and they're enticing to a wide variety of insects, they don't always produce the best results.

Heat: Some insects are fooled by heat. It makes them venture closer because they think a warm-blooded mammal is nearby.

Carbon dioxide: Many insects, including mosquitoes, are highly sensitive to the odor of CO2. These types of traps are very effective, but they are more expensive. Ones that use propane gas are also highly flammable.

Lure: Some traps use a floral scent or even sex pheromones to attract specific insects. These traps are cost effective, but they have a much narrower target range, often specific to an individual nuisance, such as Japanese beetles.

Fan: A fan doesn't actually attract insects, but once they're close, it can suck them in. Conversely, a strategically aimed fan in an open door or window can form an almost impenetrable barrier to fend off a wide variety of flying insects.

Insect trap prices: The price of insect traps can start as low as a few dollars for a glue board to nearly $200 for an electric unit with multiple means of attraction. However, most products are available in the $50 to $100 range.


Q. Why isn't my insect trap working?

A. There are several reasons why your insect trap isn't as efficient as you hoped it would be. Make sure it's the appropriate trap for the type of insect you're trying to catch and that you're using it in the proper location (indoors or outdoors). Give it time to do its job -- days, not minutes. Follow all usage directions. Don't forget that humans are far more attractive to insects than any device, so you might need to leave the area in order for the unit to start working. Finally, if you have an infestation, more drastic measures than trapping might be required.

Q. What's the difference between indoor and outdoor insect traps?

A. A trap with limited range, no hazardous or volatile chemicals, and no offensive odors or distracting sounds is what you need for indoor use. If an insect trap is to be placed outdoors, it must be larger, more powerful, and weatherproof. It will also be more effective if it has multiple ways of attracting insects.

Insect traps we recommend

Best of the best: DynaTrap Flying Insect 1-Acre Trap

Our take: An effective insect trap that uses three different methods of attraction and has a substantially wide range

What we like: This extra-large unit uses light, warmth, carbon dioxide, and a small vacuum to trap a wide variety of bothersome insects. It's exceptionally effective for moths.

What we dislike: If you have a large moth population, you'll need to clean the unit frequently. This unit must be running to contain insects. It's one of the highest-priced units available.

Best bang for your buck: RockBirds Electric Mosquito Killer and Bug Zapper

Our take: A budget-priced indoor insect trapper.

What we like: RockBird's electric insect trap uses light to attract insects and a fan to suck them into a trap that holds them until they die. The most appealing feature of this unit is its very low price.

What we dislike: The CO2 odor that humans give off, as well as other light sources, are more effective at attracting insects. This unit needs to run for two to three hours in a dark room without people around in order for it to be the most effective.

Choice 3: KATCHY Electric Insect Trap

Our take: A reasonably priced indoor bug trap that uses a fan and glue boards to catch mostly gnats, fruit flies, and mosquitoes.

What we like: KATCHY's low-voltage bug trapper is effective in rooms up to 320 square feet. The glue board is quite sticky and effective when it comes to detaining irksome pests.

What we dislike: If you have a large insect population, replacing the glue boards can be costly.

Allen is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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