Bug Zapper

Written by Linda Alexander
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A bug zapper, or electronic insect-control system lures bugs into it and electrocutes them. These devices are incredibly simple, usually consisting of plastic or electrically grounded metal housing; fluorescent light bulbs to attract insects, usually mercury, neon or ultraviolet; wire screens (surrounding the light bulbs) that are electrified to zap (kill) the insects; and a transformer to electrify the wire mesh, changing the 120-volt electrical-line voltage to 2,000-plus volts.

As a bug flies toward the light bulb, it enters a tiny gap between the wire mesh grids and completes the electric circuit. High-voltage electric current flows through the insect and vaporizes it.

Bug Zapper Alternatives

A bug zapper can lure and kill more than 10,000 insects in a single evening. They do not discriminate between types of insects, but because of their luring strategy, they tend kill those insects that are most attracted to ultraviolet light. Mosquitoes, unfortunately, are not necessarily attracted to ultraviolet light.

The electronic zapper therefore may be ineffective against mosquitoes. Some electronic zappers instead emit octenol, a non-toxic, pheromone that attracts mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are also attracted to the carbon dioxide humans emit in their breath. A carbon dioxide mosquito light trap uses a mixture of CO2, octenol and heat to control mosquitoes.

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