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Why the Bug Zapper Doesn't Work

Collected together on this page are extracts of research articles published about bug zappers including links to the original sources.
Your complete guide to why you shouldn't buy one!
Our Bug eater is not an insect zapper- it works on a completely different principle.

Electrocution of House Flies in Bug Zappers Releases Bacteria and Viruses

James E. Urban, Department of Entomology, Kansas State University [Source]

It has been shown that these devices are ineffective in reducing local pest insects (Surgeoner & Helson 1977). In fact, it is now known that the probability of being bitten by mosquitoes increases in the vicinity of these mosquito traps (Nasci et al. 1983). Recently, it has been demonstrated that the proportion of biting insects killed by bug zappers in home backyards is minute (0.22%), and that at least 13% of the non-target insects killed are insect predators and parasites (Frick & Tallamy 1996).

Our studies show that when Bug Zappers kill insects they stimulate the release of large numbers of bacteria or viruses which may be on the insect surface. Further the zappers produce insect parts such as scales, hairs, and insect body parts. In aggregate, the results show that bug zappers not only pose an immediate threat because of the release of bacteria and viruses, but they also release insect particles which are potential allergens and/ or cause various respiratory conditions such as asthma, rhinitis, and conjunctivitis.


Want something that actually works?

The bugeater kills mosquitos by drowning, not zapping

It controls mosquitoes without pesticides or insecticides, safe for organic pest control, because the only chemical it uses is household detergent. Unlike mosquito magnets, it requires no refills. It does not blast bits of bug bodies all over the place, so it is safe in food areas. No high voltage grid and no poisons, so it is safe to leave the bug eater in the backyard

So how good are bug zappers?

The Calliope Crier, newsletter of the Yakima Valley Audubon Society. [Source]

For instance, a study by the University of Delaware [ published in Entomological News 107(2): 77-82] at Newark analyzed 13,789 insects zapped by electric traps and found only 31 - fewer than 1/4 % - were biting bugs, "seeking blood meals at the expense of homeowners." Nearly half were non-biting aquatic insects such as caddis flies and midges that feed fish, frogs, birds and bats, the study found. And another 14% were insects that actually attack pests, such as wasps, ground beetles and ladybugs. "The heavy toll on nontarget insects and the near absence of biting flies in catches suggest that electric insect traps are worthless for biting fly reduction," concluded Douglas W. Tallamy and Timothy B. Frick, who conducted the study.


Horticultural & Home pest news June 14, 1996 issue, p. 97. [Source]

This study (referring to Frick & Tallamy 1996) would indicate they are worst than worthless because of the large number of harmless and beneficial insects they kill. Extrapolations calculated by the authors indicate that 4 million bug zappers (4 years worth of approximated sales in the U.S.) operating for 40 nights each summer, would destroy in excess of 71 billion nontarget insects each year. And the number of mosquitoes would still be the same as before. It is clear you should save your money!

Dr Beetle [Source]

Don't buy them. They don't work!! I have lost too many of my dear beetle cousins to these monstrosities, all in the name of trying to control mosquitoes in a way that scientific study and common sense will both tell you does not work. The bug zappers, mozzy zappers, electrocuters, are fakes, and the manufacturers are only interested in taking your money, and giving your phobias and ignorance a ride. One study found that millions of live bacteria and viruses were released when insects were disintegrated by the zap. This effect is especially dangerous around food preparation areas. Zappers will explode insects, spraying their body parts and a cloud of bacteria into the atmosphere. Insect particles can be particularly allergenic to some humans (I'm sure that clouds of any animal disintegrations would be allergenic)


What we are talking about here is a long term approach to mosquito control, not just a quick fix.

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Although the female is the biting mozzie, the key to eliminating mozzies is to kill off the males (the ones that don't bite). Mozzies don't travel far, so if you kill off the males, you eliminate the population entirely. The bugeater has a specially formulated UV light that attracts the male and then drowns it. What we are talking about here is a long term approach to mosquito control, not just a quick fix. So while your immediate concern is the little devils that are biting you now, the solution is to target and eliminate the entire breeding population! After using the bug eater, there is a noticeable drop in the population after 2 weeks, and with in a month of using it there are virtually no more mozzies.

The New York Times
By CAROL KAESUK YOON Published: March 18, 1997 [Source]

Buy Now- order oneBug-zappers, those sizzling, glowing fixtures in many a suburban yard, kill billions of insects each year -- but hardly any are mosquitoes or other biting pests, a study of six of the devices has found. Dr. Douglas W. Tallamy, an entomologist at the University of Delaware in Newark, recruited a high school student, Timothy B. Frick, to collect all of the insects killed over the course of one summer by zappers in six yards in Newark. They counted 13,789 dead bugs, but only 31 were biting flies. Nearly all the neighborhoods' biting flies remained on the wing to torment the zappers' owners.

The zapper, Dr. Tallamy concluded, "is a totally useless device" The bug-zappers' haul included nearly 2,000 potentially beneficial insects that prey on or parasitize other bugs. In addition, thousands of harmless species, including esthetically pleasing creatures like fireflies and scarab beetles, were grilled right along with the season's burgers and hot dogs.

The study, reported in a recent issue of Entomological News, confirms earlier research suggesting that the comfort people derive from zappers is almost totally psychological, heightened with every sizzle as another insect bites the dust.



The Bugeater is an Australian design, tried and tested since 2001
Don't buy the cheap imitations that are being imported from China
is an enterprise of J&W Carmichael

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53a High Street, Taree NSW Australia 2430
PO Box 1171 Bowral NSW 2576
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  No zapping - kills by drowning  

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