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Do Bug Zappers Work? Can They Actually Reduce the Amount of Mosquitoes and Resulting Bites in Your Backyard?

Photo by Tom Ervin/Getty Images

The mosquitoes are terrible right now, you can’t be outside for more than a couple of minutes before a swarm of the pesky bugs start digging into your flesh trying to get at that yummy blood of yours. I’ve been thinking about deploying a bug zapper in by backyard to battle the pests, but do they work?

Who better to get that answer from but the experts at the American Mosquito Control Association or AMCA, they have lots of great information available on their website about various forms of mosquito control including the bug zapper.

According to the AMCA, over 1.75 million of these devices are purchased annually in the U.S. and research has shown that they do zap and kill bugs, but are they zapping the right kind of bugs?

Yes and no, while they do kill mosquitoes, they may not be killing the real nuisance, the female mosquito, who needs your blood for her eggs. One study showed that of the insects killed, only 0.13% were female mosquitoes.

Bug zappers kill all bugs that touch it, it doesn’t have the ability to target just the mosquito, so the results can be the loss of other species of bugs that may be killing more mosquitoes than your fancy zapper, in fact two studies at the University of Notre Dame showed that mosquitoes made up only 4.1% and 6.4% respectively of the daily catch over an entire season, so a very small percentage.

Those same studies also found that there was no significant difference in the number of mosquitoes found in yards with or without bug zappers.

So there you have it, while bug zappers may be kind of cool and satisfying every time you hear it unleash its bug slaughtering power, it probably is doing nothing to cut down on the amount of bug bites received in your backyard. After this research I’ve decided on passing on the bug zapper, but now what? Any ideas?


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