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What insects are attracted to bug zappers?

Bug zappers will tackle pesky bugs that are not useful, like mosquitoes, flies, fruit flies, or gnats.

February 25, 2022

3 min read time

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Ever sat outside on a warm summer evening, only to be pestered relentlessly by bugs?

Enter the bug zapper, our sizzling savior from winged invaders.

But have you ever paused and pondered: which insects are truly meeting their electric end?

We’ve all heard the familiar crackle of a bug meeting its electrifying fate.

However, is it always the mosquitoes that buzz annoyingly around your ears, or are there other insects meeting their end?

Let’s dive deep into the electric web of the bug zapper and see who’s really getting zapped.

The Science Behind Bug Zappers

Bug zappers, scientifically named electrical discharge insect control systems, work on a simple yet genius principle.

They emit ultraviolet light that attracts insects. Once the insects get close, zap! — they meet a charged grid.

It’s this attraction to UV light that draws them in, but not all bugs see UV light the same way.

Common Myths about Bug Zappers

Myth: All bugs are drawn to the zapper.

Fact: Bug zappers predominantly attract insects that are drawn to light. Your ants and cockroaches? They couldn’t care less.

Types of Insects Attracted

Flying Insects

  • Mosquitoes: Surprisingly, while they are attracted, they’re not the most common victims. Other attractants, like carbon dioxide, often lure mosquitoes more effectively.
  • Moths: These nighttime flutterers are frequent visitors. Ever noticed the larger sizzles? Probably a moth.
  • Flies: Especially those that emerge at dusk, they’re a common catch for your zapper.

Ground Insects

  • Most ground insects aren’t flying towards the light, but occasional anomalies can happen.

Aquatic Insects

  • Mayflies and their ilk might get drawn in, especially if you’re near a water body.

Insects Not Attracted to Bug Zappers

As mentioned, the likes of ants and cockroaches don’t typically fall for the glowing allure of the zapper.

They rely more on scent and other signals to navigate their environment.

So, if you’re trying to battle an ant invasion, a zapper might not be your best weapon.

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Alternatives and Complementary Methods

If you’re looking to bolster your bug defense, consider:

  • Mosquito nets: Effective, especially while sleeping.
  • Natural repellents: Citronella candles or lemon eucalyptus oil can be quite handy.
  • Natural repellents: Citronella candles or lemon eucalyptus oil can be quite handy.
    Physical barriers: Mesh screens and closed doors — sometimes, the old ways are the best.


Bug zappers, while effective for some nuisances, might not be the comprehensive solution for all your insect woes.

It’s essential to recognize what they can and cannot do, and supplement with other methods when necessary.

FAQ Section

Q: Do bug zappers work during the day?

A: They can, but they’re most effective during dusk and night when many insects are most active and attracted to UV light.

Q: Can I use my bug zapper indoors?

A: While primarily designed for outdoor use, there are indoor-friendly versions available.

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