The Best Mosquito Lanterns: Do they actually work?

Find out which mosquito repellant lanterns work best against nasty bites. These field-tested recommendations will keep you safe.

No one likes mosquito bites…

…so how do you repel mozzies from your home or property? How can you avoid a nasty itch?

Mosquito repellant lanterns promise to keep your patio or campsite mosquito-free – in this guide I will give you a short overview how these lanterns work and how you choose the best one.

Do mosquito repellent lanterns actually work?

Many homeowners turn to mosquito lanterns during the summertime to help limit if not eliminate the presence of mosquitos in the yard.

mosquito lantern effectiveness
Mosquito lanterns can kill hundreds of mosquitoes in a short time.

These “bug-zapper” type units, also known as mosquito traps, are proven to be highly effective in eliminating mosquitos.

In fact, some of these units can kill thousands of insects in a 24-hour period.

There’s a downside to mosquito lanterns…

The challenge is that with a bug-zapper, the unit will attract more than just mosquitos, and often times, mosquitos only represent 10% or less of what is actually trapped and killed inside the unit.

In most cases, many of the insects that are eradicated by the lantern are beneficial predators of other insect pests.

mosquito propane trap
In reality, harsh measures against mosquitoes can result in even more critters long term – so be careful what you wish for. One can still dream though….

A more effective type

Other lanterns are designed to repel mosquitos through the use of scents that mosquitos generally don’t tolerate.

These lanterns are designed to be decorative in nature and can be placed on the patio table or along the perimeter of your deck.

They use fan-dispersion technology to repel mosquitoes within a specified radius and are safe for children and pets to be around.

How long will these mosquito lanterns last?

Most of these systems will last for six to eight hours and come with cartridges (that can also be purchased separately) that can be easily replaced for continued use.

So while these bug-zappers and lanterns do work, it is important to note that mosquitos are still far more attracted to humans than to these lanterns.

Thus, often these devices are more effective when used in conjunction with a bug repellant spray or mosquito lotion that can be rubbed directly onto the skin.

Recommended mosquito repellant lanterns

Bug zappers can come in very handy for use at campsites and can be placed near the entry of your tent or recreational vehicle.

When you use one of these lanterns, it can result in far less mosquitos making their way into your sleeping quarters.

These zappers can also be used near your home – but the zapping noise that these systems make when insects come into contact, can be a bit bothersome to pets and young children.

My favorite mosquito lantern: Flowtron BK-15D

This bug killer from Flowtron works very well as it makes it easy for insects to get trapped in the unit.

Sale Flowtron BK-15D Electronic Insect Killer, 1/2 Acre Coverage
My top pick: Flowtron mosquito lantern

Instantly keeps your place mosquito-free and is easy to use.

This system offers a 1/2 acre killing radius – but keep it at least 25 feet away from the door of your home or camper because it attracts mosquitoes very effectively!

For most use cases I recommend you connect the 9” cord to an extension cord if more distance from an outlet is needed. It’s straightforward to use so feel free to give it a try (and enjoy summer again!).

Alternative: Thermacell mosquito repellant lantern

I also highly recommend the Thermacell mosquito repellant lantern for outdoor use. Thermacell has been a leader in mosquito repellant products for the last decade.

Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller, Gen 2.0; Protects 15’ Zone; Runs on Camp Fuel Canister; Includes Water-Resistant Bag and 4 Repellent Mats for 16 Hours of Relief; DEET-Free; No Spray; 4 oz.
Thermacell mosquito lantern

A great choice for camping trips and other places without a power outlet.

Their mosquito repellant patio lanterns are highly effective. This particular lantern provides a 15 x 15-foot section of protection and has a sleek design that is made to complement your outdoor camping space.

  • This lantern has no open flames and operates on a single fuel cartridge that lasts for up to 12 hours.
  • Many of Thermacell’s lanterns are lightweight and cordless, which means them easy to take with you from place to place in your yard while providing ongoing protection.

Hint: There’s also version specifically designed for patios if you don’t need it to take with you when camping or backpacking.

Check out this guide if you want to read more about sophisticed mosquito traps.

Other safe and long-lasting mosquito repellant solutions

If you do not have young children or pets that will frequent your yard, mosquito repellant granules can be highly effective.

  • Summit offers a Mosquito Bits – Quick Kill granule mixture that can be purchased online at Amazon or Walmart.
  • This solution is EPA registered in all 50 states and does not pose a risk for humans as it is non-toxic.

But this doesn’t mean that young children won’t be attracted to and curious about the corn cob like granules.

These bits are then sprinkled on the surface of the soil in your garden area or can be mixed with potting soil prior to planting. This product is highly effective in eliminating mosquito larvae, which means less mosquitos when hatching season begins.

Mosquito sticks & coil

Mosquito sticks, such as those made by Murphy, also provide a unique alternative to mosquito control.

These sticks are made from plant-based ingredients and are then placed in the ground.

The will only last just over two hours but come twelve to a pack, which makes for a viable short-term solution.

Another great choice are mosquito coil or mosquito candles.

mosquito coil
The scent (and often chemicals) of mosquito coil & sticks is a handy repellant with instant protection.

All these products provide excellent mosquito control for camping, dinner on the deck or patio, and more, all you need to do is place these mosquito repellant incense sticks in the perimeter around the area you are utilizing.

I wouldn’t recommend them as a long-term solution though. The smoke can be unhealthy and makes them a short-term repellant only.

Protect your family and pets from diseases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have listed a variety of diseases that mosquitos are known to carry.

Diseases that mosquitos spread to humans include Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue, and malaria.

mosquito spray
Mosquito sprays are still one of the best choices to fight nasty bugs.

The safe use of insect repellents (following manufacturer instructions is a must) is an essential way to prevent mosquito bites and protect your family and pets.

While DEET continues to be the most effective choice when you want to protect yourself from mosquitos, many people still have concerns about using DEET on their skin, especially on their young children.

Tip: Read my guide about the the best mosquito repellents for grown-ups & kids.

For those concerned about potential risks of DEET, despite that DEET has been used for an estimated 200 million worldwide applications, mosquito repellant lanterns, traps, and repellent sticks offer a safe alternative.

And, when combining the use of these above items with a DEET or non-DEET lotion, you are guaranteed to have far better protection, allowing you to enjoy your time outside for hours on end.