Electric mosquito killers, also called bug zappers, are used by many during hot summer months to fight against annoying mosquitoes and other insects. Although we are sure that they are very effective because of the zapping and the manufacturers' claims that this is the ideal solution to our mosquito problem, there are a number of important things you need to know about them...
We aren’t saying that you shouldn’t try to avoid getting bitten, especially by insects that carry dangerous viruses, just that the use of these devices may pose their own set of dangers.
The concept of an electrical insect trap was first thought up in 1911 by the popular tech magazine “Popular Mechanics.” Despite the revolutionary principle and obvious utility of the invention, most people thought at the time that the expected costs of designing and manufacturing such a device would be very high and not worthwhile. About twenty years later, in 1932, the electric mosquito killer was patented in the US Patent and Registration Office. Two years later, a professor of parasitology at the University of California, introduced the pioneering electrical mosquito killing device, which became the basis of what we know today.
The idea behind it was quite simple: a source of light attracts flying insects into an electric grid that stuns or electrocutes them to death. However, only a few years later, studies began showing their negative side...
Although using artificial light to attract flying pests and then neutralizing them without using chemicals sounds like a very good idea, the reality is quite complex. According to Jonathan Day of the University of Florida, electric mosquito killers are a complete waste of money: "They don’t work the way advertisers declare," he says, adding, "In fact, they're drawing more mosquitoes into your yard (or home)!" And it's not just those annoying prickly flies; the light that these devices emit attracts huge amounts of insects, and most of them are not dangerous or harmful to humans.
This claim was proven by a study conducted at the University of Delaware which tracked the use of such devices. The researchers found that of 13,789 insects were simulated by 6 different devices over 15 summer nights, only 31 were species that bite people! The other insects were probably useful insects that did not harm us in any way but did have great ecological importance.
It is worth noting that bug zappers that emit carbon dioxide can be purchased to attract mosquitoes, but studies show that they prefer the natural form of gas emitted from humans. In addition, these devices can be very dangerous in a closed environment, making it a far from perfect solution.
Another danger to be noted is the result of the electrocution of the insects that are attracted to these killers - mosquitoes, moths or any other species. The results of various studies have shown that at the moment of electrocution, pieces and body fluids of the insects are sprayed into the distance and can spread within a radius of up to two meters (depending on the size of the device, the electric intensity, the insect type, the location of the zapper, etc.) and can land on people and even food nearby. As you can imagine, these bug traces can spread viruses and bacteria that can cause various diseases - and remember, most of these bugs would pose no harm if electric killers were not used. Since such appliances can be found in many restaurants and businesses, you should stay away from them and place them away from the dining table if you choose to use them during picnics or meals in your yard.
May we all have an enjoyable, sae, mosquito-free summer!