Biting insects can be one of the more annoying things in the world, especially those pesky mosquitoes that leave you itching for days to come. Their purpose on the Earth is truly lost on me, here purely to bother, pester, and potentially spread disease. There are few places that do not have these “lovely” creatures for at least some portion of the year, and whether your mosquito season is long or short or the bugs themselves big or small, they are a reality that we could all do without. Throughout the ages, mankind has attempted to deal with and/or kill mosquitoes with fly swatters, smelly candles, pesticides, or even the iconic Bug Zapper. Most of these low-tech solutions were rarely an effective, long-term solution. Well, the engineers and designers at Mosquito Magnet have created the most high-tech mosquito killer I have ever seen or heard of before, the Mosquito Magnet Commander. The Commander “…is the first-ever wireless-enabled mosquito trap” that not only effectively kills mosquitoes without the use of pesticides, but enables you to conveniently check the status of your trap in real-time via your computer or smart-device from anywhere in the world.
How the Mosquito Magnet Works:
The Mosquito Magnet emulates the three things that mosquitoes (female, the ones that bite) are attracted to: warmth, moisture and carbon dioxide. Once the Mosquito Magnet has the mosquitoes attention, a tailored, region-specific attractant lures the mosquito even closer. The mosquitoes follow the attractant to its source, where the Mosquito Magnet’s airflow sucks the mosquito into the interior trap and captures it in a removable net/cartridge. Once they are in the trap there is no way out. Eventually the mosquito becomes dehydrated and dies.
This video from Mosquito Magnet does a good job of illustrating how their system works.
In the box:
Assembling the Commander was easy, taking less than 5 minutes. All the pieces simply slide together, then you screw on the antenna, install the rechargeable battery, insert the attractant, and attach/turn on the propane tank, then just press the power button. It takes about 5 minutes to warm up and become fully operational.
Once assembled, I added the included wireless access point to our home network and then turned on the Mosquito Magnet. They found each other very quickly with zero assistance from me. I was a bit worried that the communication between the two was not secure. But best I can tell, the access point is password protected/locked down so that only the Commander communicates through or with it.
Once the hardware is operational, you must register your Commander’s serial number and MAC address with Mosquito Magnet’s servers before you can monitor it with your computer or smart device. The website interface allows you to monitor propane and lure levels in addition to net/trap capacity. You can also setup email or text notifications to let you know if the Mosquito Magnet has been tipped over or moved. The interface enables you to check ambient conditions and turn off the trap remotely.
Where you set the Mosquito Magnet is key to how effective it is at attracting and killing the mosquito population in your yard. For ideal placement, it needs to be set upwind, in the open, not in the direct sun, and away from people. To assist you with this, the Mosquito Magnet’s website has an interactive application that helps you determine the best placement of your magnet depending on wind direction, buildings and foliage in your yard. I found the application simplistic and difficult to use, but I understood the logistics of where to place the trap, and it is working effectively.
Mosquito Magnets are available in four models: Commander, Executive, Independence, and Patriot. The basic physical and operational design are the same for all the models, but the cost and features increase as you go from the Patriot to the Commander. The Patriot needs to be plugged in, the Independence runs on C-batteries, the Executive has a rechargeable battery, and the Commander has wireless connectivity as well as a rechargeable battery. No matter which model of Mosquito Magnet you choose, there is an ongoing cost to replace the attractant and refill the propane tank every 3-4 weeks of operation. The technology, however, is the same throughout all four models.
The Commander I am reviewing runs quietly, with no odor, and I would assume that is true throughout the other models as well. Mosquito Magnet recommends they be run continuously during mosquito season. With continuous operation, you will use a 20-pound tank of propane and an attractant cartridge monthly. You have to empty the mosquito-catching cartridge when it becomes full. Mosquito Magnet recommends using a Quick Clear cartridge to clear out the lines every other refill of the propane tank. On the cordless models, the battery will need to be charged at the beginning of the season, but according to Mosquito Magnet will operate all summer on a single charge.
Initial and Operational Costs:
The Mosquito Magnet Commander costs a cool hard grand, the Executive is $700-$800, the Independence is $600-$700, and the Patriot is $325 – $425. Admittedly, the initial investment is pretty steep, especially if you purchase the web-connected Commander. But no matter which model you select, the operational costs are more or less the same. $15 for propane and $10 for the attractant, both of which need to be refreshed monthly. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, our typical mosquito season lasts from May till September. So, if you include miscellaneous supplies like nets and Quick Clear cartridges, our overall annual cost will be less than $200.
Even though the Mosquito Magnet is 90% plastic, it is made well enough, and since it is intended to spend a majority of its life outdoors, that is not necessarily a bad thing. That said, it is not a hardened device and most likely would not withstand much abuse (I’m envisioning a bear knocking it over) at all. Mosquito Magnet does warranty it for two years of normal use.
When Julie first asked who on the Team would like to review the Mosquito Magnet Commander, I chucked and thought “snake oil“. But when my wife found out what it was and that it was up for grabs, she had me email Julie requesting to review the unusual contraption. After 10 days of use, I can definitely attest to the fact it works as advertised. I would estimate that it has captured and killed at least a hundred mosquitoes during that time frame. I kid you not, I have not seen a mosquito flying around our house since I started the Mosquito Magnet over a week ago. And by killing all of the females in the area (up to an acre), it disrupts their localized breeding cycle, and the population should drop significantly. Bottom line is that I am impressed with how well and effectively the Mosquito Magnet Commander works.