When it comes to combating pesky mosquitoes and other insects, DIY solutions and store-bought products offer a range of options.
While convenience is a key factor in choosing store-bought solutions, DIY remedies often require more research and setup.
In this blog, we will explore some popular options:
All have their pros and cons, and understanding their effectiveness, ease of use, and potential drawbacks is crucial in making an informed decision.
Additionally, we will touch upon mosquito control methods and pesticides, highlighting their advantages and challenges. By the end, you’ll have a clearer understanding of which mosquito solution might be the best fit for your needs.
Bug zappers refer to any device designed to attract and shock pests, including mosquitoes. These often give off a bright light and a buzzing noise. They hang from gutters or have a standalone post to place wherever you need fewer bugs.
As pest deterrents go, bug zappers are relatively cheap. In comparison to other remedies mentioned later, they may save you money.
Pro: Variety of Sizes
There are handheld swatters that hold a small charge to kill mosquitoes as you hit them. There are also lantern-sized devices that hang out around gatherings and everything in between. You can place these zappers out of the way, and they’ll instantly kill any insects that come in contact—with a satisfying ZAP too!
Con: Bug Attractant
While many solutions are repellents, bug zappers act like traps and try to attract mosquitoes and other bugs toward them. That is not exactly what you want, as zappers often attract more mosquitoes than they kill. Suddenly you have a bigger swarm!
Not to mention the eyesore it is when you’re hosting your next backyard party.
Bug zappers also kill indiscriminately. Studies have found that, in the end, they do not kill many mosquitoes. One study even found that, over a 10-week period, mosquitoes and other biting pests accounted for 0.22% of killed bugs.
You read that right. Not 22%—0.22%. Less than one-third of a percent. The rest were often harmless (sometimes beneficial) insects like bees and other bugs that help pollinate surrounding flowers.
Con: Needs Power and Tough to Clean
If they aren’t plugged into your home, these zappers often need batteries that drain quickly. After a busy summer night of zapping, your bug zapper might be a nonfunctioning mess until you take it apart and clear away the dead, charred bug remnants. Yuck!
Bug spray is often the easiest go-to mosquito repellent. There are plenty of brands and formulas out there and each seeks to repel bugs and mask your scent. They chemically interfere with the neurons and receptors in a mosquito’s antennae and mouthparts.
Compared to bug zappers, bug sprays are even cheaper. While you’ll eventually run out, many sprays last for hundreds of sprays over a summer.
Bug sprays can last up to 10 hours depending on the spray’s DEET level. Each is okay to use on human skin (when applied correctly). Many are easy sprays that are quick to apply.
Con: Physical Downsides
Bug spray has a number of physical properties that affect how you feel and smell:
You now smell like DEET
The spray is often sticky
It can stain your clothes
Kids hate having to put it on in order to play outside
Con: Allergies and Asthma
Another possibility is that you may be allergic or experience respiratory issues if you have asthma.
This is an important detail to identify before an exposure becomes an emergency. If you’re allergic, you’ll have to find another solution. If you’re asthmatic, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends lotion-based repellents.
While the EPA regulates products with DEET in them, any approvals are subject to use according to the product label.
Con: Requires Multiple Uses
Reapplication is another big drawback with bug spray. If your repellent has a lower level of DEET, you’ll need to continuously reapply to make sure you’re protected.
Con: Doesn’t Kill
The biggest issue with bug spray is that it does not kill the mosquitoes around you. It does not even repel mosquitoes from a large area. They continue to swarm and, if they push through the chemical cloud, may still land on you and bite.
The classic product adage stands here: you get what you pay for. When you invest in bug spray, you get a personal, temporary repellent that may still fail.
Mosquito Control and Pesticides
Zappers and bug sprays are store-bought deterrents you purchase when you need them. Bug control methods are pre-planned repellents designed to ward off and kill bugs around an area. Heavy-duty pesticides aim to do the same at industry-standard levels.
Pro: Kills on Contact
Con: Must Be Applied Correctly
Bug control methods are serious chemicals that are harmful if swallowed or if they come in contact with your skin. They take a long time to apply and might not even work if you apply them incorrectly.
It is easy to see how each option struggles against its drawbacks. Either the mosquito repellent isn’t very effective or it’s so powerful that it’s dangerous around your family and environment.
Is There a Solution That Works for You?
In the battle against mosquitoes, it’s important to carefully consider the pros and cons of different solutions.
Bug zappers offer affordability and variety in size, but they can attract more mosquitoes than they actually kill and require power and maintenance.
On the other hand, bug sprays are cheap, long-lasting, and easy to apply, but they come with physical downsides, potential allergies, and the need for frequent reapplication.
Meanwhile, mosquito control methods and pesticides provide effective results, but they require proper application and caution due to their strong chemicals.
Ultimately, the choice between bug zappers, bug sprays, or more intensive mosquito control methods depends on your specific preferences, circumstances, and tolerance for potential drawbacks.
By understanding the strengths and limitations of each solution, you can make an informed decision to keep those annoying mosquitoes at bay and enjoy your outdoor activities with greater peace of mind.