Do Bug Zappers Really Work?

Bug zappers are probably the most popular insect-killing tools available. This may be in part because of the satisfaction many feel at the sound of troublesome insects getting electrocuted, or the sight of many dead insects after a successful evening of bug zapping.

However, many studies have been conducted on the overall effectiveness of these devices, and most of them did not draw favorable conclusions regarding their usefulness.

Bug Zappers Target Few Pests

The main reason most of us buy bug zappers is to free our summer evenings from mosquito bites and annoying flies. Bug zappers can attract and kill a large number of insects. These devices attract insects to a fluorescent light and then trap and electrocute them in an electric grid.

However, the intended target, the female anopheles mosquito, is not attracted to fluorescent light. As a result, few of these pests end up as targets in the bug zapper.

A majority of the insects in most neighborhoods are part of the aquatic food chain, providing food for fish in ponds. These insects are also consumed by birds, and are thus an important part of the ecosystem. More than 95 percent of the insects killed by the use of bug zappers are harmless to us, but beneficial to the environment. Some of these insects, like wasps, keep other pests under control.

When we kills wasps and beetles unnecessarily, the ecosystem loses its balanced structure, and many neighborhoods see a decrease in their bird populations. Fly swatters and bug repellents are more highly recommended forms of insect control, though they may require a little more effort on your part.

Bug Zappers are Unhygienic

Many people like the ‘mess-free’ insect control provided by bug zappers. In reality, however, the insects that are killed are splattered around the surroundings. When the insect’s body is electrocuted, it bursts open. The result is that the internal organs and the intestinal fluids are sent out in a spray in all directions.

One might think that the heat produced by the electrocution would kill any bacteria present on the insect. However, this heat does not destroy all the bacteria and viruses in the insect’s system. These dangerous microorganisms are released into the atmosphere and can be inhaled by people in the vicinity. This can lead to allergies and other health problems.

Equally risky is the use of bug zappers around food preparation areas. You may end up with microscopic insect parts in your food and not even know it. Health professionals strongly discourage the use of bug zappers in enclosed surroundings, like in the home or in camping tents. To be safe, keep bug zappers away from your outdoor barbecue or fire pit and your patio or deck.

These devices also aid in the transmission of diseases if they are not cleaned on a regular basis.

Bug Zappers Attract More Pests

A bug zapper is primarily a source of attraction for many insects. As a result, you are drawing more insects from the vicinity to your backyard. Overall, bug zappers do a fine job of attracting numerous insects to your yard and killing them. However, very few of these insects would be those you wanted eliminated in the first place.