Bugs can ruin a perfect outdoor moment.
It’s like they don’t care if you’re enjoying a beautiful summer day on your patio or having a fun evening with friends on your porch. They would constantly make noise, fly around you or even crawl on your skin.
In the evening, you would use your bug zapper to repel as many biting bugs and pesky insects as you can, right?
But how about during the day?
Can bug zappers work in sunlight?
We’re going to tell you if they do, and give you some tips too.
What are bug zappers?
Bug zappers are devices designed for one thing:to kill bugs. The ‘zap’ sound you hear is actually a bug getting electrocuted as they touch the zapper. These devices emit a kind of ultraviolet light called UV-A.
Zappers work by attracting insects like biting flies and as they draw closer to the light source, they get killed. The device emits an ultraviolet ray, which is usually situated at the center of the device. The insects follow the light all the way to the center where they get zapped.
Did you know bug zappers have been around for almost a century?
The first set of bug zappers was produced in 1934, but they didn’t have UV light.
In fact, in 1911, the layout for a fly zapper was published in a popular science publication. The design has not changed much over time, just a few improvements here and there like ultraviolet light and better designs.
Parts of a bug zapper
A bug zapper is made up of different parts that work together. On a typical bug zapper, you could find:
A case or housing:
This is the enclosure that holds all the device parts together. Usually, it is made up of metal. Some cases come in beautiful shapes so they can blend with your outdoor space, while some come in the normal rectangular form.
The light in a bug zapper is usually fluorescent, although it could also be neon. The light is the main ‘bait’ that attracts flying insects. The light is usually not bright enough to light up an area like a normal bulb.
At first glance, the grid in a bug zapper looks like a normal mesh of wire. But these wires are carefully arranged so that insects can pass through them.
The wire grid surrounds the light source and could be likened to a doorway. The only problem is, when bugs get past through the mesh, there’s no going back.
Do bug zappers work in the day?
Yes. Bug zappers work during the day.
You could switch on the bug zapper during the day and still hear some zap sounds, meaning some insects have been killed. However, bug zappers would be more effective at night, especially if you are using it outdoors.
Because at night, the bug zapper is usually the only source of UV light the bugs see. But during the day, the bugs can be distracted by sunlight. Plus, your zapped might even not be bright enough for them to see.
How to use a bug zapper in daylight
If you want to use a bug zapper outdoors during the day, put it under a shaded area or a tree. This way, bugs around that area might be attracted to the UV light since it’s not directly under sunlight.
Indoors, you don’t really have much of a problem, especially when your space is dimly lit. If you want your zapper to work better during the day, reduce the amount of sunlight getting into your room a bit, so the bugs have a better chance of locating your zapper.
What kinds of insects are attracted to a bug zapper?
Before you think of getting a bug zapper, you have to ask yourself “What kind of bugs am I targeting?”
The truth many bug zapper companies won’t tell you is: bug zappers don’t work on all insects. If your targets are:
- Lighting bugs
- Spiders and
then a bug zapper would attract these kinds of insects and make them less of a problem for you.
However, if you’re talking cockroaches, biting insects (biting flies especially) , then a zapper might not be the answer to your pest problem. Both kinds of insects are not attracted to light. Cockroaches look for any opportunity to run away from light, as they are creatures of the dark.
On the other hand, mosquitoes are not attracted to light. They still bite, irrespective of whether there is light or not. Mosquitoes are attracted to the air we breathe out or CO2. So a bug zapper present at your outdoor dining space might not make much of a difference. Go for a mosquito zapper to catch mosquitoes and other biting insects.
Do bug zappers kill beneficial insects?
This question is always a subject of controversy when it comes to using bug zappers.
The truth is that bug zappers kill ANY insect they come in contact with, beneficial or not. Ultraviolet light is attractive to many insect species, especially flying insects.
If wrong bug comes into a bug zapper it would be unfortunately killed. This is bad especially where the flying insects being killed are endangered species or are being killed by the bug zappers at an alarming rate.
Some studies suggest that a large electric bug zapper even kills more of beneficial insects. You should weigh the pros and cons as they relate to your environment.
If your target is mainly nocturnal insects, then you can switch off your outdoor bug zapper in the day so you don’t harm harmless insects.
If you are using an indoor bug zapper, then you get to decide what insects you want to kill. If you want an insect-free house, then you can leave your indoor bug zappers on as long as you want, since beneficial insects hardly get indoors.
Will my bug zapper consume a lot of electricity?
Many homeowners usually get worried about how much electricity their zapping units consume. Bug zappers consume the same amount of electricity as a normal light bulb, only slightly higher.
If you let your bug zapper run overnight for a month, you might spend $5-10 monthly on it. If you have two or more units, then you might spend about double or triple the amount you would have spent for a unit.
Don’t want to spend so much on a bug zapping device?
You can opt for a solar-powered unit. Solar-powered bug zappers come with their own little solar panels, so you can charge them under the sun during the day, and use them at night.
Battery-powered devices are also available, but might not be as effective as electrically powered devices. These types of devices are good for areas with no electricity, or when you’re going for a picnic.
Safety tips for bug zapper use:
Don’t keep them over food areas:
It’s never advisable to keep bug zappers over areas that are used for food storage and preparation. This is because bug zappers electrocute insect pests with very high voltage. This voltage kills the bugs and turns them into a kind of fine dust or mist.
Now, this dust still contains infected particles.
For example, if the insect was carrying a disease pathogen, that pathogen would still be alive and in the air. And since electrocution occurs at high voltages, these infectious particles can reach food as far as 4 meters away from the electric bug zapper, infecting food in the process.
Keep them out of children’s reach:
Children should not be allowed to play under an electric bug zapper, even if it has a catch tray. Insect particles can easily affect them and trigger allergies or they might fall sick due to pathogens let loose in the air.
An electric bug zapper should not be suspended over kid areas.
Instead, they should be kept in places where children are restricted from entering.
Children should also not be allowed to touch bug zappers, because they can be curious enough to destroy the wire grid and might get an electric shock in the process.
Clean them regularly:
Bug zappers deserve to be cleaned too.
Whether your bug zapper comes with a catch tray or not, make sure you inspect it regularly to clear it of any insect debris. You should clean your device at least once in 6 months. If your bug zapper comes with a catch tray, empty it as soon as it has enough debris.
This could vary with the number of insects in the area. Never use water to clean a bug zapper, especially when it is running. Just use a dry cloth to dust it and remove any insect parts that might be caught in device parts.
Ensure parts are kept away from moisture:
Most outdoor bug zappers are built to withstand different weather elements.
However, this does not mean you should be careless with your unit. Even if the zapper can withstand moisture and humidity, the electrical socket your device is plugged into might not be water-resistant.
Additionally, if you are using an extension cord, protect it from moisture. If you are using an indoor unit, keep it away from other objects especially metallic ones to reduce the occurrence of electric shock.
Avoid keeping zappers over relaxation areas:
Adults, like children, can be affected by blasted insect particles. If you need to suspend your outdoor unit, do so over relatively isolated areas, where people don’t gather a lot.
On your porch for example, instead of hanging it at the center, look for an isolated corner to hang it where people rarely frequent. It’s healthier that way.
Bug zappers can work both day and night, but they are more effective at night. Keep in mind that using bug zappers indoors and outdoors require different approaches, especially in the daytime.
If you discover that your bug zappers are not as effective as before, you might want to check them for dead bug parts. Excessive bug remnants can reduce the effectiveness of your device.
In event of a pest infestation, you should leave the bugs to a professional company. They will be able to kill more pest bugs and interrupt the insect breeding cycle, without much harm to beneficial species.