Every spring when the weather warms up, bugs start hatching everywhere and people resume their never-ending quest for an answer to their whining and itching bites.
It’s an annual problem and you should get a jump start on it!
Many of them are stationary devices that lure bugs in, while others are handheld devices that you use at will on any of the little flying pests that come near you.
If you’re interested in knowing more about bug zappers keep reading our full overview and review of bug zappers.
Otherwise, you can click here to find our top reviewed outdoor bug zapper, or click here to find our favorite handheld swatter.
Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
Table Of Contents
What Are Bug Zappers?
Bug zappers are electric devices for killing flying bugs. They can be manufactured as hanging lanterns, plug-in night lights, heater-like panels that sit wherever you place them, or handheld devices that you swat the mosquitoes with.
Read More: How to Keep Flies Away
How Do Bug Zappers Work?
Bug zappers consist of a UV light, an electric power source (cord or battery), and a metal grid. The UV light attracts mosquitoes. When they see it, especially at night, they are attracted to it just like the bugs you see flapping around football stadium lights.
The electrified grid or mesh sits in front of the UV light source. When the bugs encounter the grid they are electrocuted by it, producing the characteristic snap, crackle, and pop associated with bug zappers. A tiny spark of light usually accompanies the pop when a flying pest is killed.
The dead bugs that are killed by the zapper, fall into a catch tray at the bottom of the zapper. In the case of handheld bug zappers, the dead bugs simply fall to the ground wherever you killed them.
Read More: Best Stinkbug Traps
Are Bug Zappers Effective?
This is where it gets a bit dicey. Without exception, researchers all advise people not to use bug zappers – for mosquitoes.
The reason is that mosquitoes are more attracted to heat and carbon dioxide than to UV light. Since people emit body heat and carbon dioxide, we’re more attractive to them than the bug zapper is.
Mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide, created when we exhale, at levels as small as 50 parts per million. They may be attracted to the UV light from the bug zapper, but as soon as they detect our exhaled carbon dioxide, they change direction and head for us.
Even Octenol packets, which contain a chemical that mimics human breath, can’t compete with the real thing as an attractant. Given a choice, mosquitoes pick us every time.
Bug zappers kill huge numbers of non-mosquito bugs though because many of them are attracted by UV light. Research has demonstrated that mosquitoes are only 4.1% – 6.4% of the total number of insects killed each year by bug zappers. The rest are other flying insects.
If you’re buying an electric bug zapper to kill mosquitoes, it won’t be as effective as you’re hoping it will be. If you’re buying a bug zapper to kill flying pests such as moths, gnats, fruit flies and so on, then you’ll be well satisfied with the results you get from it.
For more information about bug zappers, check out the video below!
How to Use Bug Zappers
There are two main types of bug zappers; stationary zappers and handheld ones. Each type is used differently.
The stationary bug zappers can either be the plug-in type or run on batteries, which are often rechargeable ones. These are the ones with a black light in them, either from a light bulb or LED light. They lure and kill insects who are attracted to ultraviolet light.
Some of them are designed exclusively for outdoor use and general pest control while others are only meant to be an indoor bug zapper. Some of those actually double as a night light as well as an insect killer.
A handheld bug zapper, sometimes known as an electric fly swatter, typically looks like a tennis racket. When you see a flying insect headed your way, just grab it and swat them.
You don’t have to mash them against a hard surface the way you do with a regular fly swatter because in places of strings in the “racket” there is another electrified grid. This turns it into an electronic bug zapper for killing bugs in midair.
You can use handheld bug zappers inside for insect control or use it as an outdoor bug zapper. Because you can pick and choose what to swat, you can kill a large number of insects without killing beneficial insects in the process. You get a bug zapper you can aim.
Flowtron Electronic Insect Killer
GTOCS Electric Mosquito Zapper
Vanelc Electric Fly Swatter
ZAP IT! Bug Zapper
PESUTEN Bug Zapper
This newly upgraded bug zapper from PESUTEN now uses three modes of operation. It comes with a power-saving switch, and it turns on automatically at night and turns off during daylight hours.
The PESUTEN Bug Zapper utilizes over 4,200 volts of bug-zapping power to deliver a lethal blow to any fling insect, including:
BLACK+DECKER Bug Zapper
Livin’ Well Bug Zapper - Mosquito Zapper
Pest Killer Bug Zapper
The Pest Killer Bug Zapper is effective against most flying insects. It uses two ultraviolet lights as the attractant and an impressive 2,400-volt grid.
Flies, mosquitoes, and moths don’t stand a chance against this effective bug-killing machine. There’s no more need for smelly aerosol sprays. Just plug the unit into any AC outlet, and it will start to work right away.
The Pest Killer Bug Zapper comes with a pullout tray for easy cleaning. In addition, the safety grid makes it safe for use around children and pets, and it’s ideal for any indoor environment.