“Bug-Zappers” For Backyard Mosquito Control?

Insect electrocuters provide some impressive crackles, flashes, and sizzles on summer nights but apparently offer little pest control around home landscapes. Some homeowners may expect to rid the area of mosquitoes, and perhaps a variety of other pests, by using these devices.

Research has generally shown little benefit, however. A study from Delaware investigated the “catch” from electrocuters placed around some homes near potential mosquito breeding sites during June and July. Of the 13,000 plus insects eliminated by the electric grids, only 0.2% (31 specimens) were biting flies. On the other hand, more than 1,800 beneficials‐-including predators and parasites–were killed (about 13% of the catch).

The more visible the light to us, the poorer it is in luring biting flies. Also, many species of mosquitoes are not attracted by black lights at all. For species that do respond to UV (ultraviolet) light, only a few will actually make it to the charged grids.

 

By Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist

 

 

Posted in Human Pests