This Simple Gadget Kept The Mosquitos Away Last Summer — And I’m Already Dusting it Off For This Year

updated Jul 3, 2023
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thermacell mosquito repellers

To help you understand just how bad the mosquito problem is where I live in upstate New York, I briefly thought about showing you a photo of my bitten-up ankles, but thought better of it, considering this is a food site and no one needs to see that next to a gorgeous photo of potato salad. Instead, I’ll tell you this: It’s mid-April and I’ve already seen mosquitos buzzing around my yard! And that means it’s time to dust off my favorite gadget: my Thermacell Patio Shield.

Desperate to get these mosquitos under control, I’ve spent the last few summers testing a few different bug-repelling products. These Madison James Flyaway Sticks rank high on my list, but they often sell out and I’d been looking for something even easier — something I could just, say, turn on like a switch. Which brings me back to this patio shield.

Here’s how it works: You unwrap the Mosquito Repellent mat from the wrapper (it comes with two extras, which you can store in the bottom until you need them) and slide it under the grill at the top. Then you take the cap off the included fuel cartridge (butane!) and screw it into the device. To turn the gadget on, you just turn the base (you can verify that it’s on by checking for an orange light under the grill). The device then heats the mat and the repellent starts to work its magic

And it really does work! It’s not instant or perfect (obviously), but I’ve learned that if I let it run for 15 minutes and then head back outside, I can actually sit out there and drink my coffee in the morning (or, better, a glass of wine at night) without having to constantly smack myself. The box says it covers a 15×15-foot area. I tend to sit, um, as close to it as possible, but my husband often sits in his rocking chair on the other side of the porch (which you can see here) and he says he’s noticed a difference, too.

What I like most about this thing (other than the fact that it works) is that I don’t have to charge anything, plug anything in, or deal with open flames. I just twist the bottom and leave it. The device does get warm, so just leave it alone. When it’s time to turn it off, twist the bottom and let the thing cool down.

Because I know you’re wondering: The butane cartridge lasts for 12 hours and the repeller mat can be used for four hours before it needs to be replaced. I’m currently stocking up on extra mats and fuel cartridges to make sure I’m ready for the summer — and apparently the late spring …

What are you doing to keep mosquitos at bay this summer? Tell us in the comments below!