what is a bug zapper

What is A Bug Zapper and How Does it Work – 2020 Guide

Not everyone has the luxury and comfort of outdoor living spaces in their homes. The relaxation that lush greens and cool breeze bring is a perfect way to end the day. Your backyard is an ideal venue for family gatherings, mini-reunions or just a simple catch up dinner. Staying outdoors can be fun and memorable, until female mosquitoes come to bite again and again and again.

Insects can also share your home with you. Sadly, not everything that can repel your insect indoors can work outdoors. But there is a powerful solution that is widely available, odor-free, chemical-free and with no recurring fees.

Bug zappers are electronic insect killers with ultraviolet light that work three ways – attract mosquitoes and other insects, trap and zap them instantly. Although the earliest record of insect repellent being sold was way back in 1911, it was only in 1934 that the first patent for bug zappers was credited to William F. Folmer and Harrison Chapin. If you are looking to find the ideal Bug Zapper for your needs, check out our full guide with reviews here.

Insect zappers are the most popular electronic solution to kill insects and bugs. Since 1934, not much has changed in its design and all major components and functions are retained in the modern models.

What Makes Up a Bug Zapper?

For a bug zapper to work properly and for buyers to appreciate how each part works, we have broken down the functions and the materials that were used to come up with an effective bug zapper.

Housing

​Source : ​howstuffworks.com

A bug zapper housing is the part of an equipment that holds the parts together. The housing of a bug zapper can come in different shapes and sizes. Most indoor bug zappers have a box-like enclosure. These are usually made out of aluminum, plastic or a mix of both.

Outdoor bug zappers usually require a more sturdy built. These zappers need weather-proof materials to keep it free from rust. Many outdoor bug zappers have a lantern, lamp post or cylinder design and are made with a polyethylene housing.

Light Bulbs

The led light draws the insects toward the bug zapper and it is an important part of the whole equipment. The fluorescent light bulb emits34r5tt ultraviolet lights that are attractive to insects. These lights come in different variants including black light, mercury and neon lights.

Wire Grids

With the three-way killing action of bug zappers, the mesh grids do two functions. Trapping and killing. Mesh grids are where the insects try to get past to get to the UV light they are drawn to.

These grids serve as the conductor of the electricity as well. So before insects can actually get near the light, they get electrocuted several times until they die.

Transformer

From the name itself, it transforms electricity voltage from the usual 110V-120V to 2,000V or more. This is also a benchmark for an electric bug zapper to be considered powerful.

Frame

The frame is another layer of wire mesh without the electricity. It serves two purposes – to ensure that no insect will try to come out after the first zap and to prevent zapping accidents in pets and humans, especially children.

How Does a Bug Zapper Work?

Insects see a higher frequency spectrum of colors compared to humans. They rely on UV light for migratory purposes and in locating their habitat. That makes the UV light of bug zappers attractive to flying insects and bugs.

Once insects see the UV light from a distance, they travel all the way to the light source, as close as possible. They will try to squeeze in between the tiny gaps of the wire grids but these grids are designed to meet the size of a typical insect.

The wire grids have a constant flow of electricity on it, ensuring that whatever gets near or goes past it, will never come out alive. Electrocuted insects fall on a removable collecting tray at the bottom of the equipment.

Do Bug Zappers Really Work?

There are various kinds of literature questioning the efficacy of bug zappers vis-à-vis the harm that it may cause. Do bug zappers really work?

Yes. It does what is it made for. It delivers and kills insects, small or big, by drawing them to the equipment, trapping them and electrocuting them. However, there are factors to consider maximizing the capabilities of your electronic bug killer.

Things to Remember to Make Bug Zappers Work for You

1. What insects are you trying to get rid of?

The efficacy of your bug zapper relies on the kind of insect you want to get rid of. A phenomenon called phototaxis can either draw or repel insects from your bug zapper.

Cockroaches, for example, have negative phototaxis while moth, flies, and bugs respond well to it. Mosquitoes, on the other hand, is a special case. There are studies claiming that some mosquito species are not affected by UV light.

This gave birth to the idea of using Octenol lure together with bug zappers. Octenol is also known as mushroom alcohol and is a substance contained in human breath or sweat. It resembles carbon dioxide emissions that is irresistible to mosquitoes.

2. What area are you using it for?

There are different bug zapper variants for indoors and outdoors:

1. Indoor

Flowtron FC-8800 Diplomat

Electric indoor bug zappers are available in different shapes and sizes. The box type is the most common and has two sides which work at the same time and can cover your whole living area and kitchen given that it is an open space.

These are considered heavy duty indoor zapper because of the capacity to kill a lot of insects at the same time because of the size of its grid. Because of this, zapping can also get really loud and simultaneous.

There are also table-top bug zappers that come in minimalist designs like a small vase or a humidifier. It is suitable for small, enclosed areas like a bedroom or a home-office. It is a passive insect zapper and not advisable to be used in areas with a large number of insects.

Light bulb zappers are convenient and easy to install. It works as long as the light is turned on. It is also a passive type of zapper for small insects. Socket bug zappers can be utilized in the dark corners of your home. Simply plug it in, and it starts zapping flies and mosquitoes.

2. Outdoor

outdoor bug zapper

Outdoor bug zappers can be used together with an indoor bug zapper or alone especially if insect problems are isolated in your backyard, pool area or garden. Electric bug zappers for outdoor use come in different ornamental designs to blend in or add aesthetic value to your outdoor living space and they are super easy to clean.

Lantern style led bulb bug zappers are the most common mosquito killer devices. It simply looks like a lamp that is perfect for hanging on your porch or garden walkway. Cylindrical lawn lights with built-in bug zapper are also becoming a trend.

3. Portable

stinger portable bug zapper

There are also bug zappers you can bring anywhere you want to go. Camping by the beach or spending the night outdoors after a trek can be spoiled by pesky insects. The availability of tent lights with bug zapper is a convenient way to drive insects away from your tent or kill them when they are already inside and on the plus side, they keep beneficial insects at bay. 

There are also solar bug zapper devices that are great for camping or movie night with friends. Solar powered plug-in bug zapper devices usually take a few hours to charge, and afterwards, you can place it anywhere you want.

3. How Big is Your Area of Concern?

Whether its an indoor or outdoor bug zapper that you need, it is necessary to measure the size of the insect infected area. For indoors, most box type zappers can cover a large area as long as there are no partitions that will block the light.

For outdoors, zappers are available to cover a ½ acre, 1-acre and 2-acre areas. Either way, you may opt to use more than 1 zapper to scatter the insects and ensure that they will not crowd and clog the grids.

Important Reminders:

Indoors:

  1. Close the doors and windows when in use. The UV light may attract insects within the perimeter of your home and may swarm inside your house finding the attractive light.
  2. Zappers can throw off insect body parts and you have to make sure to use it far enough from food preparation area and near human activity. Insects, especially fly carry bacteria and viruses. Bug zappers may cause more harm than good if this is not taken into consideration.

Outdoors:

  1. Ideally, it should be used 10 to 14 feet away from human activity even outdoors. There is a high chance of insects swarming the bug zappers and the fumes from these insects are not pleasant. And the thought of dismembered parts scattered around is cringe-worthy
  2. Bug zappers with a lure are strictly for outdoors only. These bug zappers have a wider range and can attract more insects. It is advisable to keep the zapper 15 to 20 feet away from human activity.
  3. Every type of bug zapper must also be used with caution and by strictly following the usage instructions. Use only compatible light bulbs, lure and other accessories.

Conclusion

Just like any other insect control and management like sprays, traps and professional services, bug zappers’ main goal is to eliminate insects and keep humans from the harm of pests. Especially that it is not just bug bites but also illnesses that may come with them.

Despite the questions and concerns about the safety of the use of bug zappers because of the UV light, studies have proven that the UV emitted from bug zappers are the lowest minimum output and are safe for human use.

Likewise, many people are wary of the thought that insect parts can be thrown around during the zapping activity. This has been long resolved by some manufacturers by adding a frame to keep all the insects and their dismembered body parts in the zapper and collection tray.

Bug zappers are proven to work. It is free from harmful chemicals, it does not require you and your family to be away from your home during use and it is a long-term investment.

Try one, it will surely give you a good day and night because it won’t let the bugs bite.

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