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Thread: Backyard mosquito control options

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    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    Default Backyard mosquito control options

    Okay, I hope lots of folks look at the Gardening forum, as I didn't know where else to put this, but I know it applies to more than just gardeners.

    Does anyone do anything about mozzies/no see ums, etc, other than headnets and or deet? Over the years some folks swore by "bombing" the backyard, etc. Now there's mosquito magnets/vacs that have mixed reviews. I just find it hard to believe shelling out $500 for some potential snake oil is worth it.

    I know this is probably a bad year too with how late the spring was. Maybe I should by a thousand dragonflies and release them into the backyard.

    I mean I know they catch mosquitoes, but overall in the end does it make a drastic difference? Maybe I should be 5 of the unit and surround my 1/2 acre on the lower hillside with them.

    I'm a lifelong Alaskan, and will be for the foreseeable future, but those buggers sure make working the backyard/bbqing, etc much less enjoyable.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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    Default Mosquite Magnets do work.

    We have been running two Mosquito Magnets in our 4 acre yard for about 6 years and, yes, it does make just a lot of difference. We can now sit out on our deck and enjoy the evenings like we never could before. I'm not really certain that the effect is increased over the years but it certainly seems that way. They are finky devices and the manufacturer is not great about supplying parts or even info on how to really repair them, however, that said, I would not be willing to live without them in Alaska. We have the smaller, $300, units, I believe they are the Defenders. We have replaced both, one this summer and one last. They seem to have about a 4 year life.

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    Well poop, they are not Mosquite Magnets they are Mosquito Magnets but I can't seem to change the subject line.

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    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    Wow - Thanks so much for the feedback! Hopefully we can hear from some other folks too! Do your units require an electrical cord??

    I think I might have to try though, if they are (almost) as effective, to use the "SkeeterVacs" as they don't require external power - only the propane.

    In the end though, I'll do whatever I have to do/pay the price.

    Thanks again. Anyone else?

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    The trick is to get all your neighbors to get them then the mosquito's are drwn off your property to their's

    one thing that made a difference on my lot was to cutt all the grass that was taller than knee high and making sure nothing can collect water in a course at UAA they mentioned that alot of eggs hatch in the rain drops or morning dew on tall grass or water that collects in buckets or your winter tires that are stacked against the garage and the like.

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    [QUOTE=AlaskanSD;301319]Wow - Thanks so much for the feedback! Hopefully we can hear from some other folks too! Do your units require an electrical cord??

    Yes, our two units do require electricity. Mos Magnet does make units that do not but they are quite a bit more expensive. A couple of other comments, placement is important, we keep ours in a shaded area just at the edge of the woods, that seems to work best. Pretty typical of all of these things maintenance is important. I have found that hooking it up to an air compressor a few times during the summer, when changing propane tanks, and at the end of the season, and blowing out the system for several minutes seems to be necessary. There is a nozzle, similar to a furnace nozzle, used in the Magnet and that can get plugged up.

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    Member mntransplant's Avatar
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    I've been told that mosquito'sdon't like the smell of tomatoes... I have no idea if this is true but worse case you might have a load of tomatoes. Also I'm not sure if AK has bats but in MN we put up bat houses as they seem to dang near wipe out the mosquito population. I do know that if you can get swallows to nest in your area they will come back year after year and eat up your mosquito's. GOOD LUCK!!!

  8. #8

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    I also have the Mosquito magnet, 1/2 acre model, and I too cannot live without it. They take about a month or so to get going when you first turn it on for the summer, but then you just grin when you empty out the net that is full of those winged terrorists. LOL

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Thumbs up A mosquito-free zone...

    The "living" area of my back yard has been a posted mosquito-free zone for the last few years. Have 2 Mosquito Magnets, the 1/2 acre Defender I bought 4 years ago and the 1 acre Liberty I bought at the beginning of this season. Started having some problems with the Defender last year. It would run for a couple hours, then just shut off. Mfg wasn't much help in troubleshooting as you could tell the customer service guy was simply reading the owner's manual to you over the phone. Know of a couple other folks having similar problems with their Defenders as well. The guy at the local propane distributor thinks it is the OPD valve on the tank getting tripped, but who knows.

    Anyhow, the Defender did a great job of killing off hundreds, if not thousands, of mosquitos per day when I got it. No question that it works, but placement is everything. You must put it where you will intercept the mosquitos between their breeding areas and your people areas. If you put it on your back porch, then it's going to attract the mosquitos to your back porch. Put it downwind, in a shady area at the far edge of your yard.

    The power to run them includes a very long, direct-bury, low voltage wire. There's a power transformer that's set up to be wall mounted near the plug end, then a good 50' or so of wire to run out to the unit. There is a higher cost model of the Liberty that runs via an on-board battery. But you've got to take that battery out and recharge it often.

    I've retired the Defender and just have the larger Liberty model running now (picked it up on sale at Home Depot for $20 more than the Defender). My only complaint about the Liberty is the style of the catch net. The canister on the Defender was much nicer than the loose net bag on the Liberty.

    Maintenance is quite important. You're supposed to run a CO2 cartridge through the tire valve to clear it out with every other propane tank refill. Failure to follow this procedure will plug up the unit.

    The other steps to complete the "mosquito-free" zone was to take out all the brush on my property and limb-up nearly every tree to 8' above the ground. I keep the grass in check with a weed-eater where the lawn mower can't go. A bird feeder completes the package by ensuring a forest full of song birds who seem to like to supplement their sunflower seed diet with a few bugs.

    Oh, and there was another thread on this topic in the General Discussion forum awhile back. Might go search that forum for "mosquito" and read through that one also.
    Winter is Coming...

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    As a follow up to my previous post, I don't deal with the CO2 cartridges, I simply hook it up to my air compressor at 100 psi, that seems to do the job quite well.

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    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    At the cabin I mix Lemon Joy w/ water and pour onto white plates. It kills lots of them and no power needed. It also gets wasps and flies and gnats.
    For some reason the white works the best.
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    New member fishnhuntr's Avatar
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    Default Mo Magnet

    I've got the 1 acre model and I think it was worth every penny. One thing I disagree on though is placement. I put it upwind of my house, thereby leaving a "scent" trail back towards my place, kind of like fishin for buts'. From everything I've read and heard skeeters can home in on your CO2 output/breath from quite a distance and follow it up to you by gettting "downwind" of you. I've moved mine around a bit experimenting and I think it's the best way. Whatever your predominant wind direction is, put it at that end of your house/lot/yard whatever. Shade is better than direct sun too. Kill the little SOB's!

    Are you a SoDak transplant? If so, originally from Spearfish here....

    Good luck with the killin'.

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    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    Excellent comments/follow up here guys. Thanks!

    I ended up paying about retail for a defender at Lowes a couple weeks ago as I was desperate ($325), but it's already captured quite a few hunert of the little buggers.

    Hopefully at the end of the season I can find a sale on a Liberty, and I'll get one of those too. I don't like having an extension cord strung along my yard.

    Also, good thought on the compressor rather than the CO2.

    We gotta stick together against Skeeterz - this wet summer sure is encouraging breeding - at least in my back yard. Hopefully August and Sept will make up for our sucky summer.

  14. #14
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    Default Standing Water.

    One thing an old gal who has lived here for 50 years told me to do was to pour vegetable oil into standing water during the spring some time after break up. I have a natural drainage area on my property that holds water after break up and through out the summer. I buy a big container of the veg oil at Sams every spring and pour enough into the standing water until there is a shimmer across the whole puddle. It is biodegradable and will "suffocate" the little SOB's before they hatch.

    I have been doing it along with a Liberty model Mosquito Magnet and have had 3 consecutive summers of fun in the yard.

    I will say this... since I started doing the veg oil thing...my Mos Mag has caught considerably less mosquitoes than it has in the past.

    I think I will try the bird feeder thing as well...
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


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    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    Interesting concept on the veggie oil in water - if I had some standing water on my property, I'd probably try it. Need to get a bird feeder though.

    For those mosquito magnet owners, what's your strategy in emptying the "hopper"? Of course usually there are quite a few live skeeters still in there. The other day I tried dumping it inside a kitchen garbage bag, and it worked okay - I was able to squish most of the live ones. But then a couple days later where I dumped the pile, they were all gone - so I hoped that some bird ate them and they didn't come back to life in the rain.

    The manuals are silent in dumping suggestions. Thanks in advance.

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    I bought a second hopper so I can remove the full one and set it out in the sun to dry and then replace it with the empty. Not one of those !@#$!# skeeters gets away.

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    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    Darn good think'n there Rascal. They should include two from the factory.

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    Another vote for the Mosquito Magnet. We've had one for 6 years and it has never had a problem and works great. Every year it catches fewer but there still aren't any in the yard. I think that over time it wipes out the local population. I should mention that we live in the middle of the woods, in the valley, with the woods and tall grass very close to the house. Putting the Mosquito Magnet in the shade does work better. Also, putting it out very early in the season wipes out the first breeding cycle which makes the rest of the summer much nicer. If you miss the first cycle, it seems like there are more of them around all summer.
    One other observation is that it only clears out the local area, about 100' radius. Once you cross the line, the mosquitos are thick again.

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    Talking Skeeters...

    Put up small feeders (like hummingbird feeders)only use blood instead of sugar water.

  20. #20
    Member grcg's Avatar
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    Smile Other thoughts

    I have a mosquito magnet and I feel that it helps cut down on the mosquitoes a great deal. I find that it is important to get it started when I can see more ground than snow showing. That way I can work in the yard to get all the other counter-measures in place reasonably pest free.

    I have heard that the scent bait in the mosquito magnets and skeeter vacs (and whatever other brands there are...) are tuned to specific subspecies of mosquito. So when I went to buy one, I tried to get a different one than my neighbors so that we had all the bases covered.

    Also, I really like to plant the porch baskets with plants that the mosquitoes are not supposed to like. I am not a big citronella plant fan, but I use marigolds, lemon balm and other citrusy herbs and other plants. I am pleased enough with the bug population on the porch that I keep planting them. I know that the mosquitoes will pester me a lot less in my tomato patch than anyplace else in the garden!

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