What is the Best Bug Zapper?

Which is the best Bug Zapper to get?

Well, actually, the best bug zapper is no bug zapper.

Bug Zappers work by attracting insects to a light source, and then electrocuting them with a high voltage grid.

People usually get a bug zapper to get rid of mosquitoes. However, female mosquitos like to suck blood, and the way they find it is to sense the plume of carbon dioxide from youir breathing (and your other mammal-like smells), and then follow it upwind to the source. That means that mosquitoes aren't attracted to light, because it doesn't get them any closer to that tasty midnight snack that they crave. In fact, they much prefer darkness.

As a result, bug zappers hardly ever kill mosquitoes. What they do kill is a random assortment of night-flying insects, some of which may be endangered, or food for cute, endangered birds.

Background

What bug zappers usually kill is insects that are attracted to light.. Most of those are nocturnal insects that are using light as a way to navigate (there isn't much reason for anything to fly directly towards a light, since light producing objects are very rarely good to eat).

If you watch moths flying around a porch light, you'll notice that they spiral in rather than flying at it in a straight line. That's because they are actually trying to just get up into the sky and then fly in a straight line. The way they accomplish that is to fly at a constant angle to the brightest light source, which is usually the moon, or the sun at sunrise and sunset

Flying at an angle to anything in the sky works fine since it at almost infinite distance. But when there's a brighter nearby light source, that same course results in a spiral that gets them closer and closer to the light. Bad move. Especially if it leads to a high voltage grid.

Controlling Mosquitoes

Mosquito larvae are "wrigglers" that have an air tube, which allows them to live in water but breathe air. They usually spend their time just under the surface of the water, although if disturbed they will wriggle to a lower depth. They do best in small, stagnant pools that don't contain much oxygen. Baby mosquitoes can breathe air anyhow, and stagnant water won't support fish or predatory insect larvae that might eat them.

That means that mosquitos are probably forming right in your back yard, rather than in a stream or pond. A five-gallon bucket filled with stagnant rain water and leaves or other organic debris is just perfect for them, and it will produce thousands of mosquitoes over the course of a summer. Even a teacup worth of stagnant water is enough to breed mosquitoes.

HINT-- If you want to see if water contains mosquito larvae, wave your hand over it. Those small brown things that wriggle down from the surface are baby mosquitoes.

In towns and farmyards, most stagnant puddles are found in man-made objects, so by far the best way to control mosquitoes is to remove objects that will hold water. Such basic sanitation will work miracles for mosquito control, especially if you can do it over a relatively wide area.

When to Get a Bug Zapper

Bug zappers are very effective inside barns, where they can help reduce the number of flies breeding (the flies are attracted to the light because they want to get outside and then fly into someone's ear, nose or picnic basket).

However, on your back porch they won't do much to increase your comfort level. Consider a screened porch instead, wear insect repellant, or build bat housing, since bats love to snack on mosquitoes.