Best Mosquito Killer: Which Is Best For Your Yard In 2020?

Nobody likes mosquitos. Not only are they carriers of disease, but they’re little bloodsucking pests that leave behind itchy bumps that drive you nuts. But what’s the best mosquito killer, and how do you get rid of these irritating, flying menaces?

Let’s discuss all the many options of environmental mosquito killers today. We’ll talk about different types, how to use them, and how to make them the most effective. I’ll go over preparing your yard in advance, too.

Getting rid of these bitey bugs is possible. Let’s start!

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Best Mosquito Larvicides

Best Mosquito Killers

Best Mosquito Sprays

Other Options

Why Do You Need A Mosquito Killer?

Mosquito biting person
A mosquito bite can transmit disease. Source: Pandiyan

If you don’t want the mosquitos around, this should really be self-explanatory.

But realistically, mosquito killers will reduce the population of mosquitos in your surroundings significantly. This is important for those of us who spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in the garden. After all, the last thing you want is to get eaten alive while you’re finishing off work at dusk.

In some parts of the world, a mosquito killer is a necessary addition to our yard. Especially in areas which have lots of rivers or streams, mosquitos rapidly increase their population throughout the year. While they’re most prevalent at low-light times (dawn and dusk), they’re also around throughout the night. And if you ever want to set foot in your yard again, you’ll need some form of control measures.

Is Mosquito Repellent Enough?

The simplest answer is yes and no.

For most people, simply wearing a mosquito repellent is plenty. This keeps the bugs from biting them. But what if you have pets, or livestock? What about small kids who’re running back and forth from the house to a wading pool where they’re constantly washing that repellent off?

Most spray repellents aren’t going to help your dog Spot, nor are they likely to protect the neighbor kids. You can use some repellents that work in a small area, but their long term efficiency isn’t going to be as good as something that outright kills the pests. A repellent can buy you some time, though, and may be a lifesaver for short-term uses like parties.

Take These Steps Before Buying A Mosquito Killer

Mosquito Dunks
Place larvicidal dunks into standing water to eliminate mosquito larvae. Source: JeepersMedia

Before investing in any sort of mosquito killer, you need to do everything you can to make sure your yard is not a good mosquito environment. After all, if you have the perfect home for biting pests, they’re going to keep coming back!

Eliminate Standing Water

Mosquitos thrive in locations that have lots of stagnant water. Unfortunately, most gardeners have lots of locations like that, and they don’t even realize it. Every bucket, plant tray, or unused plant pot is a potential water-catching location during the rainy season, and it takes very little water for mosquitos to breed in.

Your first defense against mosquitos is to eliminate breeding locations. Turn over any unused pots or plant trays. Dump out the contents of buckets and store those upside-down as well. If you use buckets to collect plant debris in, empty out the debris and keep the bucket stored upside-down when not in use.

People with pets or livestock need to take action, too. Dog bowls and bird baths can become breeding locations if they’re not regularly emptied. So can watering troughs for horses or other large livestock.

If you have locations which you can’t easily empty, such as drainage canals, swales for rain runoff, watering locations for pets or livestock, or even things like fountains, it’s essential to use some form of larvicidal agent to treat the water. This will stop breeding in those locations. There are many animal-safe larvicides which will only act on mosquitos, not larger animals or birds, so I highly recommend using those.

Do Mosquito Maintenance On The Garden

Clean up leaf litter and debris in your yard. While you might not consider this to be a potential mosquito site, leaf litter or plant debris can hold quite a bit of water in it, and yes, mosquitos can breed and hide in it. If you are composting, turn your pile regularly between rains to reduce the amount of excess water buildup in the plant matter. Better yet, consider using something like a tumbling composter to allow for drainage and easy turning of the compost.

Be sure that any tarps you may have in the yard aren’t holding water. The same applies for BBQ covers or other fabric (patio umbrellas, awnings, etc). Dump out any pooling water that might be there.

Finally, do you have any tall grass in your yard, or extremely dense-growing plants? During mosquito season, these little biting pests will take refuge during the daytime in shaded, damp locations like these. Remove stands of tall grass, keep the lawn mowed, and keep bushes and plants trimmed to prevent mosquitos from having a daytime hiding place.

Types Of Mosquito Killers

But what is the best mosquito killer out there? That’s hard to define, because it depends on how you intend on using it. Let’s go over some of the options on the market and see which one is right for you.

Mosquito Larvicides

Mosquito dunk in water
Mosquito dunk in water. Source: AirmanMagazine

These should be part of your first line of defense. If you have any standing water that you cannot empty, using a mosquito dunk or some mosquito bits will help reduce your population. These dissolve in standing water, leaving a superfine coating across the water’s surface that will poison mosquitos that arrive to lay eggs. It will also smother the eggs themselves, keeping larvae from forming, and it’ll kill any existing larvae.

The majority of mosquito larvicides available on the market are safe for use around birds, cats, dogs, and other wildlife. They’re also safe for use in livestock watering troughs. However, before buying, it’s important to check the label to be absolutely certain that they’re safe for what you intend to do.

Most of my favorite larvicides are made of bacillus thurigiensis var. Israelensis, aka BTI. This bacteria will easily eliminate mosquitos, black flies, and fungus gnats, but it’s harmless to wildlife or people. Other forms of BT work extremely well on caterpillars or other pests, but not on mosquitos. This bacillus is usually spread via granulated forms or in the form of caked “dunks”.

Bug Zappers

Mosquito zapper
Mosquito zapper. Source: NathanaelBC

We all rely on the bug zapper for eliminating flies and other flying insects around our patios. But did you know that bug zappers can be effective on mosquitos, too?

While mosquitos are most commonly drawn to scents, like the CO2 that we exhale or the aroma of sweat on skin, they can also be lured by ultraviolet light. Bug zappers can be a good measure of defense. They won’t capture all mosquitos, but they’ll certainly eliminate those which are drawn close enough. One good ZZZZT! and that mosquito is no longer around to annoy us.

There’s a wide variety of bug zappers out there, and some are more effective on mosquitos than others. Check out my buyer’s guide on the best bug zappers to read more about different options!

Mosquito Lures

Carbon dioxide mosquito trap
A homemade CO2 lure and trap. Source: Doug Beckers


As I mentioned above, mosquitos are usually drawn to particular scents or pheromones. You might notice that some people don’t seem bothered at all by these biting irritants, but others are like a magnet. That all has to do with the chemical makeup of our skin, how we sweat, what’s in that sweat, and how much CO2 we exhale.

Mosquito lures are devices which are designed with a lure or bait inside to entice mosquitos closer. Once they find the lure, these devices will catch the mosquitos within. Some have a bug zapper inside. Others simply trap the mosquitos and they die of starvation in the containment unit.

This type of device may or may not require power from a cord or a battery. It depends on whether they have a fan to pull nearby mosquitos inside, as well as if they have a zapper. Some simply entice the pests into something they can’t escape from. They usually have replaceable lure cartridges using odd chemicals like octenol, or CO2 emitters that work in a similar way.

Incredibly effective against most types of mosquito, these are definitely worthwhile, but it can take some time finding the right lure type for the mosquitos in your area.

Mosquito Sprays

Spraying BTI to kill mosquito larvae
Commercial application of a BTI-based spray to kill mosquito larvae. Source: Global Environment Facility

There seems to be a spray for everything out there… but are these safe to use around pets, children, or yourself?

The short answer is that yes, some of them can be perfectly safe. I’m going to focus on these safer options instead of the riskier chemical mosquito sprays.

Neem oil, a derivative product from neem seeds, contains azadirachtin. This natural-forming chemical is quite useful in a wide host of garden uses, as it is a natural insecticide. And it works against mosquitos, too. It’s safe for almost all avians and mammals, does not pollute the water or harm fish, and can keep aphids, spider mites, and a whole host of other pests at bay. However, it does need to be reapplied after a heavy rain.

Various blends of other plant oils are also widely used. Rosemary, mint, sesame, or thyme oils are usually blended together with a few other active ingredients. While these will break down within a few days, they’re a great short-term option.

Interesting enough, one of our favorite additions to food can be a powerful repellent to mosquitos. Using a garlic spray can make mosquitos turn and fly away, as they hate the scent. However, heavy applications of garlic spray also mean your yard will smell like garlic for a while. It isn’t the best choice to use this spray right before your big garden party!

Another option which can be used is pyrethrin or permethrin sprays. The active ingredient pyrethrin is derived from a couple of chrysanthemum species, and is used widely to knock down populations of mosquitos and other pest insects. This is great for most organic gardeners. Permethrin sprays are lab-created variants of pyrethrins. Both pyrethrins and permethrins can also cause damage to beneficial insects, especially honeybees and other pollinators. Use these sparingly!

Mosquito Foggers

Using mosquito foggers
Personnel using professional mosquito foggers. Source: U.S. Pacific Fleet

Foggers are great for short-term mosquito defense. Averaging at least six hours of mosquito-free time per fogging, these devices create a mist that evenly coats the area. The mist kills off any mosquitos that are hiding within its range of coverage, and will keep mosquitos at bay for a few hours after drying.

While useful, these should be limited in terms of use and are meant for use on ornamental plants or lawns only. These are often chemical solutions which should not be used on edible plants.

Mosquito Repellents

If your goal is mostly to keep the mosquito madness away for short bursts of time, consider a repellent instead of a killer. These are usually limited in scope and range, meant for short-term use. They’re great while you’re cooking on the barbecue, for instance, or for a couple hours’ time spent on the patio.

Repellents won’t kill off the pests, though, and if you move out of range of the scent these produce, you’re subject to bites again. Other options provide a better long-term solution.

Mosquito Killer Reviews

Best Mosquito Killer Larvicide For Standing Water

Summit 20-Pack Mosquito Dunk

These are my first option to pick up once I’ve mosquito-proofed the yard to the best of my ability. For any areas of standing water, these dunks are essential! The dunk releases a natural bacteria that kills off larvae and prevents mosquitos from breeding. If there’s any standing water in the yard, a dunk (or a broken piece of one) goes into it right away. Looking for a pet safe mosquito killer? This is it!

I can’t even express just how beneficial these have been for reducing my mosquito population. So before you invest in another more expensive option, start with some of these dunks. You’ll be glad you did.

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Best Mosquito Killer Larvicide For Grass

Summit Responsible Solutions Mosquito Bits

Summit Responsible Solutions Mosquito Bits - Quick Kill, 30 Ounce
  • Environmentally Sound Biological Mosquito Control
  • Sprinkle Mosquito Bits to quickly annihilate the...
  • The Mosquito Bits are labeled to control Fungus...

If you have a space which doesn’t get lots of standing water normally, but where water can back up, this is your best larvicidal option. This granular version of the mosquito dunk can be spread across lawns and through garden beds to help control any larvae which might occur in those oddball areas where a whole or broken dunk just won’t work.

Like the full-sized dunk, these granules are full of a bacteria that kills mosquito larvae quickly. They are pet-safe mosquito killers, and safe around humans too!

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Best Mosquito Killer Bug Zapper

Flowtron BK-15D Electronic Insect Killer, 1/2 Acre Coverage

Flowtron BK-15D Electronic Insect Killer, 1/2 Acre Coverage
  • Advanced electronic insect control; non clogging...
  • Recommended not to be used within 25-feet of area...
  • Instantaneous operation, continuous and...

If you’d like to hear the telltale ZZZZZZAP! of mosquitoes dying in your yard, pick up the Flowtron bug zapper. While there’s a number of different devices designed for different coverage requirements, this half-acre option is good for most suburban homes. Place the Flowtron at least 25 feet from your patio and let it do its job. The biting bugs will die by the droves, leaving you happily bite-free.

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Best Mosquito Trap (Small)

Dynatrap Half Acre Mosquito Trap

DynaTrap Insect Trap (DT1050), Twist On/Off, 1/2 Acre, Black
  • Delivers 3-way protection against mosquitoes and...
  • UV light and whisper-quiet fan attract and capture...
  • Easy twist-on design; mosquito trap plugs into...

Using a mix of UV light, small amounts of CO2 generated by the device, and a fan that sucks pests inside, this trap will readily catch mosquitos and other insects within. It doesn’t kill the bugs it catches, but they will die of starvation inside the catch container.

While this style of trap is more effective when paired with a more powerful lure (either a pheromone lure or a stronger CO2 generator), for a small mosquito trap, this is one of the best mosquito trap options available. The mesh is fine enough that it can also easily catch fruit flies or other smaller flying pests along with the mosquitoes. Nothing will get back out until you open the containment unit to empty it.

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Best Mosquito Trap (Large)

Flowtron MT-125 Mosquito PowerTrap

Flowtron MT-125 Mosquito PowerTrap
  • Safe, economical, effective attractor and killer...
  • Uses bright LEDs and powerful vacuum to draw bugs...
  • Uses no open flames, nets, or glue panels

While not the cheapest option on the market, this FlowTron mosquito trap combines a strong vacuum with LEDs and a variety of attractants. It’s best used in conjunction with one of the lure attractants, although the model produces CO2 on its own. Like most other traps, it does not kill what it catches, instead storing it in a container for later disposal.

This is not a small unit, however. When paired with its propane tank, it can be quite weighty, and it definitely takes up space. It’s best used in a sheltered location away from where you’re likely to spend time, so don’t put this on your patio!

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Best Mosquito Trap (Indoor)

MBOX Mosquito Trap

MBOX Mosquito Trap Flying Insect Trap Killer, Using CCFL Photocatalyst CO2/H2O and Fan,Safe and...
  • Efficient Designer Mosquito Trap, protects to 400...
  • Photo-catalyst Tech (Generating Co2/H2o)
  • User Friendly & Ease of Use

Here’s what I like about this indoor trap: it has no scent, it’s quiet in operation, and the mesh is fine enough to keep caught pests inside the unit.

But what I don’t like about this indoor trap is that it does not have a lure module. It claims to produce limited amounts of CO2, but when compared to a human, those limited amounts are not enough to draw a mosquito to the trap over a person.

If you pair this with some form of lure added into the unit, the vacuum fan is strong enough to suck bugs straight into it and keep them away from you. If you don’t, this is something which might be best used in multiple rooms in the house, so that it catches mosquitos that might be lying in wait for your return.

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Best Mosquito Trap (High-End Corded)

MegaCatch ULTRA Mosquito Trap

Mega-Catch Pro 900 Ultra Mosquito Trap
  • Kill mosquitoes, midges and more with the...
  • Smart technology includes...
  • Comes fully assembled with programmable...

Why would you ever want to spend a ton of money on a mosquito trap, you ask?

Well, the MegaCatch ULTRA will catch a ton of mosquitos. Rated more highly than many of its counterparts on the market, this corded mosquito trap has various attractant modules available, generates a good quantity of CO2, and in fact does a whole lot more to catch mosquitos than all of the traps we’ve discussed so far.

… but yes, it is expensive. In fact, it does have an ongoing cost associated with it, as you will need to purchase refills of modules for it.

However, it really, REALLY catches mosquitos. It is one of the best mosquito killer machines out there, quite frankly. This is one of those situations where you get what you pay for. So if you’re in an environment where mosquitos are constantly there, and you want a solution to get rid of them, the MegaCatch ULTRA mosquito trap is your best option.

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Best Mosquito Trap (High-End Battery Operated)

GreenStrike Mosquito Preventer

GreenStrike Mosquito Preventer Featuring Zero Hatch Technology, Black
  • Simulates an artifical pond to attract the female...
  • The Mosquitoes natural attractants and GreenStrike...
  • Target and reduce mosquito populations that can...

GreenStrike’s mosquito preventer is an interesting system. This device operates on batteries, and mimics a standing-water location in your yard. As female mosquitos lay their eggs, they also leave behind a pheromone which notifies other mosquitos that there’s a good breeding location, drawing in others.

Every couple days, the GreenStrike system flushes its water through a filter, catching all of the eggs before they can hatch. It then recycles the pheromone-laden water and puts it back in place.

This option may take a while to reduce the mosquito population in your yard, but it’s a proven solution which can significantly reduce the pest quantities not just in your yard, but in nearby yards as well. The system runs on eight batteries which are easy to change, and can be set to attract specific mosquito types.

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Best Mosquito Spray (Neem)

Neem Pro EC 32 Ounce

I consistently and regularly advise that people use neem oil on their gardens, and with good reason: this stuff works.

Neem Pro EC is a high-quality neem oil concentrate which, when mixed with water, can be added to most sprayer units. A thorough coating of all of your plants’ surfaces will not only repel mosquitos, but will prevent a whole host of other insects. It’s definitely worth your time and effort to apply this stuff in your yard.

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Best Mosquito Spray (Other)

Greenerways Organic Insecticide

GREENERWAYS ORGANIC Insecticide, Backyard Insect Repellent, Natural Insect Killer Concentrate, USDA...
  • INCLUDES - 32oz Garden Hose Spray, Certified USDA...
  • Effectively keeps away mosquitoes, beetles,...
  • Harmless to bees and other beneficial pollinators

Blended essential oils make up this organic insecticidal spray, and the diversity of oils helps prevent more than just mosquitos. It does not harm beneficial pollinators, but it does deter a wide variety of garden pests, and even deters larger animals such as deer.

However, you will definitely be able to smell this stuff when freshly applied. Using a blend of essential oils such as thyme, rosemary, peppermint, and cedar, there will be a pungent aroma that lingers in your yard. As long as the scent doesn’t get on your nerves, you will be happily mosquito-free while this lasts!

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Best Mosquito Fogger

Burgess 1443 Propane Insect Fogger

Burgess 1443 Propane Insect Fogger for Fast and Effective Mosquito Control in Your Yard
  • The same effective system used by professionals to...
  • Kills and repels mosquitoes, biting flies, and...
  • Dispenses 10 feet cone of odorless fog. Treats an...

Providing six hours of prevention, the Burgess 1443 mosquito fogger will treat 5000 square feet of space in about ten minutes’ time. Once the fog dissipates, which takes about five minutes, the area’s safe to go back into and use.

While this fogger works with a number of different fogger solutions (Cutter, Repel, or Black Flag solutions specifically), some solutions are better than others. Read the label on your chosen solution to decide if this is something which is safe to use around your edible plants or not. Most fogger solutions are not food-safe, so you may need to stay away from your food plots.

However, this option definitely gets mosquitos out of your yard, and the effects can’t be denied. Want to get rid of mosquitos for a short-term period? Use one of these.

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Best Mosquito Repellent (Lantern)

Thermacell Repellent Patio Lantern

Thermacell Patio Lantern Multiple Insects Deet 15 ' X 15 '
  • 15-foot mosquito protection zone. Turn it on......
  • Lantern and repellent operate independently or...
  • Decorative black lantern provides ambient lighting...

Another short-term option, but a relatively good one! Thermacell’s repellent lantern provides four hours of protection against mosquitos and other flying insects per cartridge. Using DEET as its primary repellent option, it prevents bugs from getting within a fifteen-foot radius of the lantern.

While this is meant for short-term usage, you can purchase refill cartridges to reuse your lantern time and time again. This won’t be a long-term solution, but for short-term repellent, it works quite well.

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Best Mosquito Repellent (Candle/Torch)

TIKI Brand BiteFighter Torch Fuel, 64oz

Tiki Brand BiteFighter Mosquito Repellent Torch Fuel, 64 Ounces
  • EASY POUR: This fuel can be used with all TIKI...
  • PERSONAL PARADISE: We can help you create an...

TIKI’s fuel requires some form of torch to use it, whether Tiki-branded or other. However, it really works, and has been a mainstay of mosquito repellent options for years. The BiteFighter solution is a blend of citronella and cedar oils which keep flying insects at bay.

Whether you’re using a homemade torch (mason-jar type or something similar) or a commercial one, this is a great option for an evening of relaxation in the yard. Simply light the torches surrounding your area and you have an instant defense against all manner of bugs who want to feast on you.

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Best Mosquito Repellent (Other)

Punch Mosquito Repellent Sticks, 15″

Uncommon in the United States, mosquito repellent sticks are quite popular in foreign countries where mosquitos are a constant issue. They’re gradually making their way here. When lit like a normal incense stick, these citronella-lemongrass sticks will keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay for 40-60 minutes’ time.

These aren’t as effective outdoors, but where they really come in handy is when used as a form of door guard in conjunction with a screen door or mesh mosquito screen. Simply light one of these just inside the door to your house when you’ll be going in and out, and the mosquitoes will stay outside where they belong.

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So there you have it – some of the best mosquito killer and mosquito repellent options for your yard and garden. While there’s still lots of other alternatives we haven’t talked about (including repellents that you carry on you, such as repellent sprays, lotions, and bracelets!), this list should give you a great starting spot for most environmental control options.

What’s the most effective way of eliminating mosquitos around your house? Do you have any pests which don’t respond to some of the options I’ve provided? Let me know in the comments!


The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:

Lorin Nielsen
Lifetime Gardener

Kevin Espiritu

Clarisa Teodoro

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Last update on 2020-01-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API