Mosquito Killing: Bug Zappers Verses a Bug Fan

If you don’t want to use poison sprays, your main options to kill mosquitoes around your home are going to be either some kind of Bug Zapper, or some kind of Bug Fan. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Bug Fans, they are just fans of various sizes, with a net of some kind on the output end. The idea is that any flying insect small enough to go through the input grill of a fan, will be blown into the net where they will dry out and die. Some Bug Fans are special purpose, and are usually small. The very expensive larger types will have carbon dioxide and scent emitters, to try to attract mosquitoes to the input end. How these added elements help, if the fan is blowing air away from the input end of the fan, is a bit of a mystery.

Bug Zappers usually have a black light bulb surrounded by an electrified grid. Bugs trying to get close to the light bulb will be electrocuted-Zapped- by this grid. I have used these products for over 30 years, and thought they were doing an acceptable job. I had read reports of several different studies which concluded that the bugs zapped were mostly not the biting female mosquito. One study said that less than 1% of the insects killed were female mosquitoes. How they were able to distinguish between the various insects after zapping is a bit of a mystery too, but these are scientists- so anything is possible.

My own experience was that the supposedly clog proof grid would get clogged with dead bugs that looked like mosquitoes. I am not trained to be able to tell a dead female from a dead male mosquito. I did notice that this accumulation of dead looking mosquitoes would grow in size around the perimeter of the clog, until it would cover the entire grid. This only happened when the mosquitoes were heavy, and when I would clean the grid I would leave a small clog, as these seemed to be somewhat of an attractant. I assumed some carbon dioxide or smell was being released by the dead bug clog, which improved the efficiency of the Zapper. However, whatever they were killing, they didn’t kill anything during the day time.

So while all these studies indicated that the Zappers were not killing the biting mosquitoes, seeing what appeared to be mosquitoes on the grid made me ignore their results. Killing bugs at night but not during the day, was better than not killing at all. What did bother me was even though I was killing something that looked like mosquitoes, they were still everywhere. I couldn’t sit on my porch with two Zappers going out in my yard. The population would eventually subside, something which of course happens naturally even without killing any.

I then tried a 12″ diameter Bug Fan which I put on my porch. Using it overnight, I saw many mosquitoes caught in the net the next morning that were still alive and easily identified as females. I added another Bug Fan, and they both caught the same number as using just one. So another Bug Fan was set up. Within a week I saw a serious reduction of mosquitoes flying around my porch and myself. While there were still a few, I had caught thousands that were not. There were also gnats in the net, which may have also been killed by my Zappers, but would have been too small to see on the grid.

Setting up a larger Bug Fan, a 20″ pedestal fan near my door, I was able to brush off any that were trying to attack me as I entered the house. Also, sitting behind the larger fan took care of most of the ones that would fly around me trying to find a place to land and bite. The moving air also had a cooling effect, which is why people buy fans in the first place. For me, the Bug Fans were an improvement that didn’t require any large investment, and they took care of the bugs where I sit outside, even during the day time. My zappers killed something in my yard, but nothing on my porch, and nothing during the day. Today I have a few Bug Fans, no more Zappers, and the mosquito population this year compared to last is as different as “night and day”.