If you’re here reading this article, you might be in a similar position as I was last spring. Back in March, my family had just purchased a brand new patio heater. For a few nights after, we were feeling beyond joyous. However, we noticed something alarming one morning after a nice evening outside — each of my kids had at least a dozen mosquito bites. At first I was confused, but then I resolved to figure out exactly what happened. After breakfast, I immediately went upstairs and sat down at my office computer, typing in the words “do patio heaters attract bugs?” My heart sank when I first saw the results.
Unfortunately, yes they do. It’s actually worse than that. Not only do patio heaters attract bugs, but they attract mosquitoes.
Why Do Patio Heaters Attract Mosquitoes?
It might surprise you to learn that mosquitoes aren’t actually attracted to the heat itself. In fact, they’re attracted the carbon-dioxide. Something about their evolutionary process has associated carbon-dioxide with food. It turns out, this is an effective strategy!
It’s bad news for us though. Patio heaters burn their LPG/propane/butane causing carbon-dioxide to be produced as a byproduct. This makes the heater act as a mosquito magnet!
Which Patio Heaters Won’t Attract Bugs?
If you haven’t purchased a patio heater yet (or if you plan on returning your current one), there are patio heaters you can buy that won’t attract mosquitoes. Electric, infrared patio heaters offer a similar heating profile with none of the CO2 production. However, they tend not to be as effective as their gas-based cousins.
Should You Get Rid Of The Patio Heater?
Right around now you may be wishing you hadn’t purchased your patio heater. At the very least, you’re wondering if you should have purchased an electric heater instead of your gas burning version. This is a completely reasonable reaction, but I’d urge you to try a few other solutions first. Don’t feel powerless, there are things you can do even though your patio heater attracts bugs (like bug spray alternatives!) (like bug spray alternatives!).
How Do I Keep Mosquitoes Off My Patio?
If I could easily answer this, I would be a millionaire (and let me assure you, the Captain is not a millionaire). However, I did find some techniques that I’ll share about how to keep mosquitoes off your patio.
Add A Few Patio Fans
I always start with the simplest solution. You’d be surprised at how effective adding a few box fans facing away from your patio can be. It ends up having a major impact on the number of mosquitoes that end up biting you. Luckily, mosquitoes are weak flyers and even a fan blowing on “low” can cause them to divert course.
Destroy Their Breeding Grounds
According to the Center for Disease Control, one of the most effective ways to eliminate your mosquito problem is by destroying their breeding grounds. Personally, I took a “salted earth” approach. I did my very best to ensure there was no standing water left on my property. I sold my birdbaths, cleaned my gutters, and even added some fill dirt to the low-lying parts of my lawn. It made a huge difference!
Bug Spray, Bug Spray, Bug Spray
I saved the most obvious approach for last. However, if neither of the two options above work, your best bet may be diligent and judicious use of bug spray (or bug spray alternatives) (or bug spray alternatives). In the past, consumers only had chemical-filled “bug bomb” type sprays to use on their kids. Luckily, we live in a eco-conscious time where there are many effective natural options. I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to find one that works for you and your family (feel free to share it in the comments).
Did you buy a patio heater and later found it to be a hotbed for outdoor insects? What was your experience like? Share them in the comments and maybe you’ll help other folks out!