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Do bug zappers work on bees?

The nature of bees makes it difficult for bug zappers to be effective on them. Bees are not nocturnal animals- they are inactive at night.

February 18, 2022

11 min read time

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Summertime is usually a favorite period for most people, but the warm weather brings with it an influx of bees and other insects. Bug zappers come in handy in getting rid of several insects – but do they work on bees?

Technically, a bug zapper can kill a bee, but this rarely happens. Before looking at why let us look at how a bug zapper works.

A bug zapper is made of four major components – the housing, light bulbs, the transformer and wire grids.

The light bulb uses ultraviolet light or mercury to attract bees, wasps, yellow jackets and other insects. The light bulb is more effective in attracting nocturnal insects because they are primarily used at night.

The transformer is the energy source of the bug zapper. It powers the mesh wires surrounding the bulb, providing the fatal electricity that kills insect pests.

The housing is the protective cover of the bug zapper. It surrounds the bulbs, mesh and wire grids. Its work is to protect you from any hazards brought by the wire mesh and transformer. It also protects you from catching any bacteria or diseases from insects when they are electrocuted.

Bug zappers bank on the irresistible lure of UV lights to draw in and electrocute bugs and insects. A large electric bug zapper has more potential of killing more insects.

The nature of bees makes it difficult for bug zappers to be effective on them. Bees are not nocturnal animals- they are inactive at night. Bees tend to sleep at night and buzz around during the day. So it is very unlikely that you will find bees buzzing around at night.

As much as young bees stay active at night longer than forager bees, they are not as attracted to lights as the older bees.

Are bees attracted to UV bug zappers?

If you pay close attention to bee behavior, you will realize that they are drawn to sources of light. This is because bees are phototaxic in nature- meaning they are naturally attracted to light. Phototaxis triggers either a negative phototaxis or positive phototaxis.

Positive phototaxis is the ability of organisms to move directionally in response to light. Negative phototaxis is the ability of organisms to move away from any light sources. Bees have a positive phototaxis which explains their attraction to light.

Bees use light to differentiate between food sources and find their way back to their colonies after foraging. Bug zappers use UV light behavior to attract insects.

Bees are attracted to shorter wavelengths of UV light because it imitates flower patterns that typically attract bees. Bug zappers are most effective at night. During the day, the ultraviolet rays from the sun are much stronger than the UV lights from the bug zapper; hence they are less likely to attract any insects.

So, while bees are attracted to UV light, this attraction seldom occurs. This is because bees are not nocturnal insects- meaning once the sun goes down, you will hardly find them out of their hives. Bees move around during the day and sleep during the night.

Are wasps attracted to bug zappers?

Wasps can be pretty unfriendly, especially when you’re near their nests. These biting insects will chase you if they think you pose any danger to their home. When they decide to make a home on your property, the need to kill wasps may arise. So are wasps attracted to killing devices such as bug zappers?

Most flying bugs are attracted to light. Artificial lights attract moths, crane flies, beetles, mayflies, amongst other house flies.

Wasps are attracted to the UV light present in bug zappers. They are quite sensitive to this particular spectrum of light. Wasps have compound eyes and are also attracted to bright colours such as the colour yellow.

Do handheld bug zappers work on wasps?

Handheld bug zappers come in handy when doing outdoor activities, going camping, hiking, or going to tailgate parties. They are very light to carry and have portable batteries.

The new handheld zappers can also be charged during the day when positioned in the sun’s direction. You do not have to walk around carrying them- you can place them on a table near you or hang them on a tree nearby.

The racquet-looking zappers work under the same principle an electric fly swatter works on. Electric fly swatters work with electricity to shock and kill bugs and other biting insects. On the other hand, an old-fashioned fly swatter uses blunt force trauma to kill.

The electric handheld bug zapper is quite effective in killing wasps. They do this by providing bait and then shock.

Here is how they work;

  • Bait

Like many other biting insects attracted to light, wasps are also attracted to UV light present in bug zappers. When you turn the bug zapper on, it will light up, and when wasps notice it- they will naturally be drawn to it.

You can also grub the bug zapper and hunt for the wasps yourself if you don’t feel patient enough to wait. Just move your handled bug zapper around, and it will attract any wasp in the vicinity.

  • Shock value

The wire grids are also electrified in these types of bug zappers. They are also surrounded by protective housing to protect you from getting shocked when you accidentally touch the grid.

When the wasp is drawn into the bug zapper, it enters the space in between the mesh grids completing the circuit. The zappers typically come with a little button to activate the electric charge.

When you press this button, the voltage from the transformer is transferred through the wire grids and to the space between the circuit. This move vaporizes the wasp in an instant.

Unlike old fashioned fly swatter, which often doesn’t kill wasps in an instant, with the electrified bug zapper, you can be sure that the insect is dead. Sometimes you also have to zap the insect more than once with flyswatters to ensure it is dead and not just immobile.

When the circuit closes, you will hear a ‘ZAP’ sound from the device. This is how you know the insect has been killed.

One needs to exercise safety precautions when using the handheld bug zapper because once the button is pressed, you can also accidentally shock yourself. Do not also play with the zapper with others or with pets while it is on; any touch will lead to shock.

Another tip is that if you plan on using the zapper protect against insects in a large area, go for specific designs. To cover large areas, you will need bug zappers with brighter UV lights in their bulbs. This is so that wasps can see them from a far distance.

Be sure to do your research well to figure out which zapper is perfect for you. Be wary of manufacturers who make false claims. For a certified brand that will not fail you, for example, Thanos Brand Bug Zapper.

Wrap up

While bug zappers can be quite effective in getting rid of unwanted insects– they kill indiscriminately. Bees and wasps can be quite beneficial insects to the environment. Honey bees provide us with honey, and carpenter bees pollinate flowers.

On the other hand, wasps hunt pest insects. Killing large numbers of these insects can be detrimental to us and the environment. Killing the wasps will give room for even more biting insects to invade your territory.

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