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Trying to kill mosquitoes? Don’t buy a bug zapper.

Every night, a mass murderer stalks the darkness of America’s suburbs. An eerie blue glow lures hapless victims from their homes. The doomed souls, mesmerized by the light, throng to their deaths in sizzling blasts of electricity.

I’m talking about the bug zapper. Many people use the device to rid themselves of mosquitoes and other pests. “Kill flies, mosquitoes, gnats, and wasps,” touts Black and Decker. Flowtron will help eliminate flying pests over up to “2 acres” for just $315. Another advertises itself as an “eco-friendly” way to “instantly kill” mosquitoes.

The problem? None of these claims are true, scientists say. In fact, bug zappers make it more likely you’ll be bitten by mosquitoes while sitting in your backyard.

“When it comes to mosquitoes, bug zappers don’t work,” says James Fordyce, an entomologist at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. “I don’t know any insect ecologist that doesn’t know that.”

Bug zappers are exceptional killers of bugs — just not the ones that bite you. Among the thousands of insects these devices electrocute each night, almost all are harmless. One study estimated even a fraction of the bug zappers sold in the United States kill more than 70 billion insects annually — with no discernible impact on mosquitoes or other biting insects. This pointless slaughter of local insect populations may be hastening the decline of species, the insect apocalypse.

I talked to experts about why bug zappers are a really bad idea to get rid of mosquitoes — and what works instead.

Find the full article & Advice by Michael J. Coren here.

LAST UPDATED

October 20, 2023

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Rafael Varona

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