See if this sounds familiar. It’s a summer evening. You kick back, relax, and take in a gorgeous sunset. But this calm scenery is tainted by pesky flying insects. They buzz annoyingly around you and sometimes even bite.
This problem is aggravated further if you are trying to get a good night’s rest after a long day, but your sleep is interrupted now and then because of droning mosquitoes. That said, flying creepy crawlies aren’t just a nuisance; they’re also a health hazard. Think bed bugs, mosquitoes, or the common germ vehicles — house flies.
Fortunately, ridding your home of bugs can be as simple as buying a bug zapper. These gadgets lure insects in with light, and then zap them with electricity, effectively eradicating them.
But before you can go and purchase a bug zapper, you’ll have to take into account a few factors like design, power consumption, ease of cleaning, coverage. In the paragraphs that follow, we’ll explore these considerations. You’ll also find a helpful roundup of some of the best bug zappers available in the market today.
How do bug zappers work?
First introduced back in the ’30s, bug zappers today have become more user-friendly and sophisticated. More often than not, a zapper uses blue-hued ultraviolet or neon light to attract bugs and then electrocutes them with a mesh grid. As soon as the insect lands on the electrified mesh, they’re killed and collected in a removable tray.
The tray can be emptied and cleaned, making bug zappers easily reusable. The voltage inside the electrified grid can reach up to 2,000V, and they can kill as much as 10,000 bugs before the collection tray needs cleaning.
Who can benefit from bug zappers?
First things first. You need to determine the kind of insects you need to deal with since a specific type of light only attracts particular kinds of insects. Note that the mesh has tiny spaces inside it, which complete the circuit when a bug comes in contact between the gap. But if the insect is either too big or too small (say, gnats) for the cavities, the zapper would hardly be useful. In other words, before you invest in a bug zapper, make sure that it’s the right pest control for your problem.
At any rate, electric zappers don’t rely on harmful chemicals and pesticides to kill the pests, which makes them safe for children and pets. Unlike sprays and traps, they’re also reusable. Aside from disposing of the dead insects, bug zappers don’t demand much maintenance.
Components and Features
The UV lightbulb is surrounded by a plastic or metal housing to keep it from coming in contact with the electric mesh. Most zappers use a fluorescent light bulb that radiates UV light, while others make use of mercury or neon sources.
Another feature worth your attention would be the power output, depending on where you’re planning on installing the device. If you are using the zapper indoors, a model with a 20W output should suffice. Conversely, if you intend to use it outdoors, ensure that it can generate at least 40W of power.
Most bug zappers plug directly into an outlet, but there are portable cordless models available in the market. These zappers are designed to use on the go. One caveat, their battery life is too short for them to have much practical value. Nonetheless, they can be a great option for some situations.
Area Covered and Budget
Electronic zappers vary greatly when it comes to their effective range and illumination intensity. So before you take the plunge, figure out the coverage area. As a rule of thumb, higher wattage translates into a broader range.
Most small zappers cost north of $20 and can cover an area up to 1000 sq. ft. Mid-tier bug zappers retail for up to $40 and are suitable for up to 4,000 square feet. Large-range models claim to cover more than 10,000 square feet. That being said, you should take these numbers with a pinch of salt because they’re rough estimates.
Could a different pest control solution be better?
The crackling noise and the intense light zappers generate can be distracting (and sometimes even annoying), but more to the point, bug zappers don’t work like you’d expect them to against certain insects – mosquitoes in particular. You see, female mosquitoes (the mosquitoes which bite) aren’t attracted to light, but carbon dioxide that we exhale. UV light mostly attracts male mosquitoes (which don’t bite), killing the wrong bugs in the process.
- Non-clogging killing grid
- High-voltage transformer
- 15W power output
- Disposable Octenol mosquito attractant
- Lantern-style polycarbonate design
- Can cover an acre
- The bulb can be replaced
- Two-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Transformer produces 2000 volts
- Water-proof head
- The UV bulb produces 20 watts of power
- 18-inch cord
- Chemical, odor, and pesticide-free design
- Comes with a money-back guarantee
- Protective grid
- Removable collection tray
- Uses a dual ultraviolet LED light
- Can be hung with the accompanying chain
- Produces 20W
- Protective barrier grid
- A robust grid that operates at 2800 V
- Chemical-free organic pest control
- Designed only for indoor use
- 90-day full refund policy
- Generates an impressive 5500 volts and 40W of power
- Uses white UV light and covers up to a full acre
- 30% less energy consumption compared to its competition
- 30-day Octenol lure cartridge
- Plugs into an outlet
- Can work even during the day against yellow jackets
- 5-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Two 10W high-intensity UV bulbs
- 360-degree illumination
- Effective for 6500 sq. ft.
- Self-cleaning grid
- Portable cordless construction
- Can run for up to 3.5 hours
- Covers 625 sq. ft.
- Features a removable tray
- Comes with an Octenol lure for mosquitoes
- Has a wide 2-acre range
- Produces 120W of power, sufficient for 1200 sq. ft.
- Can be installed either vertically or horizontally
- 360-degree illumination
- Generates 5600V
- Comes with a 67-inch extension cord
- Removable collection tray
- A pair of 10W bulbs
- Emits light of 365 nm wavelength
- Covers 3 directions and an area of 680 sq. ft.
- Removable plastic tray
- Pesticide and chemical-free
Mosquitoes, moths, and similar pests can make it near impossible to have a quiet relaxing evening, a barbeque with the family, or a good night’s sleep. These buzzing blood-sucking creatures also carry diseases, so it’s crucial that you keep them at bay. An electric insect zapper is a good first line of defence and it can help clear your home of flying pests. These gadgets are low-maintenance, affordable, safe, and reasonably efficient.