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Does Your Bug Zapper Really Kill Lanternflies? Understanding the Effectiveness

Explore the effectiveness of bug zappers against the invasive lanternfly in our latest post. We delve into their pros and cons and offer alternative control methods for a pest-free home.

November 7, 2023

4 min read time

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Has your peaceful backyard become the stage for an unwelcome lanternfly invasion?

These pesky critters are more than just a nuisance; they pose a significant threat to fruit crops and trees.

If you’re a DIY home pest control enthusiast, you’ve likely wondered about the best way to tackle this problem.

Among various solutions, bug zappers loom as a popular choice—but do they actually work against lanternflies?

Let’s illuminate the facts.

What Are Lanternflies?

Lanternflies, or more specifically, the Spotted Lanternflies (Lycorma delicatula), are invasive pests that have been causing havoc across several states. Native to parts of Asia, these insects have found their way to North America, where they feast on a variety of plants, secreting a sticky residue that promotes mold growth and further damages the plant life.

The Battle Against Lanternflies

Fighting off lanternflies requires more than just a swatting hand. From mechanical traps to insecticides, homeowners have tried a range of tactics. Yet, the question remains—what’s the best method to stop the spread of these invasive pests effectively?

Understanding Bug Zappers

Bug zappers operate by luring insects with light and then electrocuting them with a grid of wires carrying a high voltage. They’re a common sight in many backyards, especially during warmer months, and are celebrated for their ability to reduce flying nuisances. But not all pests are attracted to the same stimuli.

Do Bug Zappers Work on Lanternflies?

Surprisingly, lanternflies are not typically attracted to UV light sources, which is what bug zappers primarily use. While these devices are known for their ability to decimate populations of mosquitoes and moths, lanternflies are another story.

Studies suggest that the success rate of bug zappers against lanternflies is disappointingly low.

Learn all about Bug Zappers

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Pros and Cons of Using Bug Zappers for Lanternflies


  • Non-Chemical: Bug zappers provide a way to control pests without spraying chemicals into the environment.
  • Ease of Use: They are easy to install and maintain.


  • Limited Effectiveness: They do not effectively attract lanternflies.
  • Non-Selective: Bug zappers don’t discriminate, often killing beneficial insects alongside pests.

Alternative Methods to Control Lanternflies

Since bug zappers are not the lanternfly’s Achilles’ heel, let’s explore some other DIY strategies:

  • Sticky Bands: Wrapping trees with sticky tape can trap nymphs as they climb.
  • Botanical Insecticides: Certain plant-based insecticides can be effective when used appropriately.
  • Manual Removal: It’s labor-intensive but removing lanternflies by hand or with a water hose can be immediately effective.

How to Effectively Use Bug Zappers (If Applicable)

If you’re set on using a bug zapper, consider these tips to increase your chances of catching the odd lanternfly:

  • Placement: Position your zapper near plants that lanternflies are known to favor.
  • Supplement With Attractants: Some bug zappers allow for the addition of attractants that might be more effective than light alone.

Preventive Measures to Keep Lanternflies at Bay

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are some preventive measures you can take:

  • Inspect and Clean: Regularly inspect your plants for eggs and remove them.
  • Quarantine New Plants: Ensure new plants are lanternfly-free before introducing them to your yard.
  • Create a Hostile Environment: Remove or treat plants that are known to attract lanternflies.


Although bug zappers have their place in the home pest control arsenal, they are not the silver bullet for lanternfly problems. By understanding the behavior and preferences of lanternflies, you can choose more effective methods to protect your garden and enjoy your outdoor space in peace.

FAQs About Lanternflies and Bug Zappers

Q: Can lanternflies harm humans or pets?
A: Lanternflies do not bite or sting, so they are not a direct threat to humans or pets.

Q: Are there any bug zappers specifically designed to kill lanternflies?
A: Currently, there are no bug zappers proven to be effective specifically against lanternflies.

Remember, it’s crucial to stay informed and considerate about the methods we choose in our fight against pests. If you’re looking for products to help manage a lanternfly situation or have further questions, feel free to browse our selection and reach out for advice.

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