Mosquito Magnet attracts and bags backyard pests

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July 08, 2004|By Kevin E. Washington

Mosquitoes kill lots of people around the world. And with West Nile virus spreading across the nation, Americans have become increasingly aware of mosquitoes as more than pests in the past few years.

Hence, American Biophysics Corp.'s Mosquito Magnet Liberty Plus ($695) might be one of those high-tech solutions to a serious problem that you shouldn't pass up. The 40-pound cordless device, into which you load a propane tank and NiMh battery, sits in your yard attracting the little vampires and collecting them in a bag. According to the instructions, if you leave it out for six weeks in your yard, you'll notice a significant difference. The device, when properly placed, should deal with mosquitoes within one acre.

I noticed a significant difference the first time I used it at a friend's house a few weeks ago. While I had been eaten alive not more than 24 hours before, I was barely touched the evening that I tested the Mosquito Magnet. For the minimal effort of putting the Mosquito Magnet together, I was able to enjoy a nice warm evening outside.

The Mosquito Magnet turns the propane in the tank into carbon dioxide - what it calls a long-range mosquito attractant. It attracts not only the little bloodsuckers but also no-see-ums, black flies and biting midges. But because it uses carbon dioxide (which we all breathe out) rather than something sweet, bees, moths and butterflies aren't interested in flying into the device.

Once the bad guys get to the Mosquito Magnet, they get vacuumed into a net where they dehydrate and die within 24 hours. If you leave the Mosquito Magnet in your yard all summer long (and you live in a neighborhood where it won't attract thieves), you should be able to enjoy your evenings outside.

The device can use Octenol, an added attractant for some mosquitoes. But the company says that if you live south of Central Maryland through Kentucky and Arkansas out to Central Texas, you should probably skip putting Octenol into your Mosquito Magnet. It appears that the Asian Tiger mosquitoes might be the primary mosquitoes in your area and the Octenol might repel the Asian Tigers, which feed during the day, according to recent studies. If you live in coastal areas, the Octenol also might not attract the no-see-ums, so you can skip its use there, too.

American Biophysics says it has a new attractant, called Lurex, that you can order from the company's Web site. The Web site also has an interactive program to help you determine whether you should try Lurex. But if you're interested in getting this exactly right, you should call your local Mosquito Control Office to find out which bloodsuckers are most prevalent in your area.

I have to admit that it would be great if the folks who make the Mosquito Magnet had a portable device for personal use. I sure could use a Mosquito Magnet on some of the streams I fish.

Information: 877-699-8727 or

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