Bug zappers are electronic devices that attract insects with fluorescent light. Once the insect is close enough, it is electrocuted by the flow of electricity inside. This produces a ‘zzz’ sound, thereby resulting in the name ‘zapper’ for the device. Many people find insect zappers very convenient for use on picnics and camping trips in the summer. However, there may be more drawbacks to these devices than there are advantages.
Contamination of Air and Food
As insects are electrocuted in the bug zapper, their bodies burst. This results in scattering of intestinal parts and fluids from the insects around a wide area, resulting in pollution and spread of deadly bacteria and viruses. As we all know, most insects, particularly mosquitoes and flies, are carriers of several potentially dangerous bacteria. The bug zapper kills the insect, but not the bacteria or the viruses, which are released freely into the surrounding air. This mist, composed of insect parts and bacteria, is inhaled by people nearby. If bug zappers are used near areas where food is prepared, these particles end up in the food, and cause more health problems. You must therefore avoid use of insect zappers inside tents while camping, and near outdoor cooking areas. It is advisable to restrict use of electronic bug killers inside your home as well, to avoid splattering the walls and surfaces with insect body parts. Bug zappers that have scatter-proof designs are made to minimize the spread of this disease-causing mist.
Harm to the Ecosystem
Most people buy bug zappers with the primary intention of killing mosquitoes. However, the truth is that mosquitoes are not attracted to the fluorescent light that is used in a majority of the bug zappers. Many other insects, which are harmless to humans and beneficial to the environment, are electrocuted. Most of the insects trapped and killed are those that help pollination, control the population of pests, or form the diet of birds. A scientific study found that among the insects killed by the use of bug zappers, less than 0.5% were mosquitoes.
Ineffective Against Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are primarily attracted by the carbon-dioxide and moisture we emit during respiration and through sweating. Most bug zappers are therefore ineffective in attracting mosquitoes. As a result, newer bug zappers are using a mixture of carbon-dioxide and other chemicals to try and attract mosquitoes.
Attracts More Insects
Bug zappers primarily attract insects and you end up with many more insects in the vicinity than you would have had without a bug zapper. Most of these insects that travel from neighboring areas, attracted by the fluorescent light or the chemicals used, do not go close enough to the trap. Mosquitoes on their way to the trap may just halt to feed on human blood, or they may settle down on plants and trees nearby.
Collection of Insect Body Parts
The insect zapper collects some of the body parts of the insects that have been electrocuted. These body parts and fluids contain disease-causing bacteria, which can infect people. It is important to clean the insect zapper regularly to avoid the spread of diseases.