07/17/02 - Advice to Consumers on Propane Mosquito Traps

Dan. F. Culbert
UF/IFAS - Indian River County Extension Service
1028 20th Place - Suite D
Vero Beach, FL 32960-5360
Voice (772) 770-5030
Fax: (772) 770-5148
E-mail: indian@ifas.ufl.edu
Internet http://indian.ifas.ufl.edu/

Mosquito season has arrived, and people concerned about how to best protect themselves from mosquito bites may have purchased a mosquito trap. This week, one manufacturer has recalled a trapping device designed to reduce or eliminate mosquito populations.

On July 15th, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Coleman Company agreed to recall 136,000 Mosquito Deleto(tm) Traps. The mosquito trap's propane regulator can leak propane gas, which poses a fire hazard to consumers. In addition, the fuel hose attachment sold with the Back Home(tm) System can become damaged and leak propane.

Coleman has received 28 reports of traps melting or catching on fire as a result of propane leaking, and 7 reports of damage to the propane fuel hoses. No injuries have been reported.

If you are considering buying a mosquito-trapping device, investigate carefully how they work and consider their effectiveness. According to University of Florida Extension Entomologist Dr. Roxanne Rutledge, these homeowner devices have recently appeared on the market, and they retail for $300.00 - $1400.00. But that's just for the initial investment.

According to Rutledge, some traps generate carbon dioxide (CO2) that lures the mosquitoes to the device, and then collects the pests in a bag. Similar devices may use chemical "attractants", such as octenol, to lure the mosquitoes into the trap. Fuel and attractants must be replaced monthly at the buyers' expense.

Currently, there is no research to support the manufacturers claims that they can "decimate a population of mosquitoes". The CO2 baited traps will catch mosquitoes, but their effectiveness in reducing mosquito-borne diseases or clearing large areas of these pests is unproven. Researchers at Vero Beach's IFAS/FMEL are studying the devices this summer.

Consider the following before spending money on these products:

Circumstances where the mosquito trapping devices may work in a small area for a short time period include sites where:

Buyer beware is still good advice. The available "results" of how well these devices work are testimonials from those who have purchased them. Such testimonials do not incorporate controlled studies or proper data analysis. With what is known right now, proper clothing and use of insect repellants may be a better use of your money.

Details on the recalled Mosquito trap are available on the Internet at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml02/02200.html.

The UF/IFAS Pest Alert WWW site is at: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/pestalert/