Does The Zapper Really Work? – Here’s What You Should Know


Bug zapper

One of the discomforts faced in life is in dealing with small insects. A device to help with that is the zapper.  Zappers are electrically charged devices that are supposed to kill bugs. But does it do as promised?  Does the zapper really work?

Yes, the zapper does work in killing insects. It is a device that attracts insects and captures or kills them through electric grids. A zapper does not differentiate between harmful or harmless bugs. It kills any insect that tries to get inside it. However, the handheld zappers give you more control. These can kill mosquitoes and flies.

Having a zapper at home can be convenient to prevent unwanted insect disturbance. You can use it outdoors too. However, you should know if it also works for bugs that are generally the causes of a nuisance. 

Do Bug Zappers Work? 

The purpose of a bug zapper is to kill or electrocute bugs. And yes, it works. It can kill up to 10,000 bugs. 

When you are sitting in your yard, trying to enjoy your leisure, or perhaps a happy meal, you come in contact with various kinds of insects. Getting rid of them all at once becomes difficult and feels impossible. A bug zapper in a situation like this will work undoubtedly.

This device is a control system that runs electronically. The “zapping” sound it makes ensures that it is working. It indicates it has captured an insect. The lantern has a fluorescent light that attracts bugs.  And if the insect gets attracted to the light and tries to enter, it will get killed.

A bug zapper does a great job in killing a batch of insects. It does not discriminate or understand the difference between harmful or harmless insects. It simply kills whichever insect comes in contact with it.

How Do Bug Zappers Work?

Zappers with features of automatic electrocution mostly run with minimal electricity. A zapper has grids that are big enough for insects to get in but small to prevent human contact. That ensures that children or animals do not end up touching the electrified layer.

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These are either metal grids or two electrified wire mesh. The grids are at the center of the zapper, separated with gaps typically of an insect’s size- perhaps a few millimeters.

There is a light bulb inside the zapper. Its purpose is to attract bugs with its fluorescent- neon, ultraviolet, or mercury light. These lights are irresistible for bugs and are effective in luring them in.

The fluorescent light also contains flower patterns which are the main baits for insects. The flower patterns look more vibrant as the ultraviolet light makes them stand out.

So, when a bug tries to get in the zapper, it punctures through the grids. That completes the electrical circuit resulting in a high-voltage current flowing inside the insect. This current gives an electric shock or burns through the bug’s body, resulting in a burnt capture or vaporization of the insect.

You can hear the “Buzz” sound when an insect dies. These dead insects get accumulated in a tray installed at the bottom of the zapper.

Why Don’t Bug Zappers Work Well for Mosquitoes? 

Most people would be buying a bug zapper to fend off the most hated creature on the planet, the mosquito. But what turns out is that they aren’t that great for killing mosquitoes at all. 

However, through various research it was found that zappers do not kill mosquitoes as much as expected. The reason is that mosquitoes are not at all attracted to the light inside the zappers. Mosquitoes infrequently get lured by it.

The mosquitoes that do get attached though are the non-biting kind known as midges. Except for midges, the biting kind of mosquitoes does not care about the ultraviolet lights. The biting mosquitoes are rather busy looking for blood.

Sometimes, instead of luring the mosquitoes towards the zapper, the ultraviolet light helps the mosquitoes gather in the area looking for biting humans. Hence, the zapper is ineffective in case of the most annoying and sometimes deadly kind of blood-sucking bugs like mosquitoes.

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Flies are also a huge part of the disturbance but they are unfortunately more attracted to the smell of food rather than the patterns of flowers. The luring techniques of a bug zapper also do not work on biting gnats. These are blood-sucking pests too. Even if there are zappers in an open space, these bugs will rather get more focused on humans.

Mosquitoes or the other blood-sucking bugs mainly locate their food- blood, by detecting carbon dioxide that humans breathe out. Even if it is an emission from an animal or canine, mosquitoes will detect carbon dioxide and make that their route. They can also detect the evaporated sweat, and body odor.

However, in recent days, more updated zappers are being made that attract mosquitoes. These special kinds of zapper ensure that mosquitoes find their way towards the artificially emitted carbon dioxide and Octenol– which also attracts biting insects. The artificially simulated pheromones of these zappers get these mosquitoes stuck in the net. After that, they are likely to die out of dehydration.

These new devices do not need electricity but are powered by propane tanks. This means, their techniques to kill the mosquitoes do not necessarily include electrocution.

Although mosquitoes and flies do not fly into or fascinate inside an installed electrocuted zapper, they can be killed using a handheld one. Many small bugs create disturbance but are not attracted to the lights or flower patterns. You can kill those using a handheld zapper. 

With a handheld zapper, you have control over the small bugs you consider harmful and the bugs you want to avoid killing such as honey bees or other harmless insects. 

Nevertheless, a normal zapper can attract other bugs like moths, beetles, and fireflies. Crawling bugs and ants may also be allured towards the light.

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Is It Worth Getting a Bug Zapper? 

As a bug zapper does not choose the insects it kills, it is safe to say, it will kill anything that it finds nearby. If you are not a fan of bugs at all and do not distinguish between harmful and harmless bugs, you may get a bug zapper. A zapper will clear out the insects’ issue for you. Without any doubt, bug zappers also help in controlling pests in your yard and garden. It does not use too many gas chemicals.

If you also do not prefer to use harmful sprays inside your house, you may get a zapper that will do the work for you. The indoor zappers mostly work on low-voltage and have bulbs of 40-watt.

If you want something to kill mosquitos, I advise that you find devices that emit carbon dioxide or octenol. But those are a bit hard to come by. So, you can buy special stripes that release these chemicals and DIY them into your zapper. That should theoretically work. 

Get a handheld zapper instead of an automatic one if you don’t want harmless bugs to get killed.  That way you can kill only the harmful ones. The commonly used handheld zappers look like tennis rackets. These are portable, so you can carry them during camping. 

Most bugs are a nuisance and can disrupt everyday life through their annoyance. When you desire an automatic solution that will ensure you do not need to handle getting rid of the bugs yourself, a zapper’s effectiveness comes to mind.

So, does the zapper really work? Yes, they do. But you might have to do some research on the products you buy and get ready to do some DIYing to really get the results you want. I hope this article has helped you get all the information you want.

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