Bug Zappers

If your biggest pet peeve is getting eaten alive by mosquitoes during BBQ season, its high time to plan ahead.

Traditionally bug zappers are designed so bugs can fly to their doom from 360 degrees. Yes, it’s extremely effective, but with some backyard setups, it can draw more attention than you’d like. The sizzle of another annoying bug getting fried is satisfying, but let’s not make it the focal point at your luau, okay?

That’s where the PestZilla comes in. It rests against a flat surface so you can find the perfect spot so it’s out of the way while still attracting bugs away from you and your guests. You might hang it from the side of your deck or against the garage. What really sets it apart is it’s a free-standing device so setting it up just when you need it on the floor or patio stone are viable options. Whatever you choose, the logistics of finding a place for it is easier than with other designs.

The PestZilla provides protection from all kinds of flies and insects within an area of up to 6,000 sq. ft. This makes it good for smaller back yards in the city, however this specification isn’t as “robust” as market leader Flowtron. 6,000 sq. ft. works out to be over 1/8 acre. By comparison the entry-level zapper by Flowtron that costs about the same (BK-15D), covers an area of 1/2 acre.

FC-8800There’s nothing better than enjoying a cool beverage on the patio and admiring your own slice of nature in the backyard. If there’s one thing that sullies the experience, it’s bugs. The closer to the wild you get, the bigger, nastier and more plentiful they become.

The Flowtron FC-8800 isn’t for everyone. With up to 2 acres of coverage this puppy is not for city folk. It’s the big kahuna of bug zappers sitting at the top of Flowtron’s line of fly control products.

It isn’t flies homeowners are most interested in zapping however, it’s annoying mosquitoes. So I’m glad to report the FC-8800 handles mosquitoes just as well. In fact this may be the ultimate bug zapper.

Understandably this unit is formidable in size measuring 27” in height and 12” in width and depth.

Due to the effectiveness the bottom bug catcher quickly becomes full. It’s not easy to remove and requires either a very strong grip or a pry tool. You’ll quickly tire of emptying it so most find simply removing the tray to be the best solution if you’re using it outdoors.

Flowtron recommends you place it 50-75ft away from the patio. This is a nice advantage of having such a powerful device. You don’t have to place to so close to your guests to solve the bug problem.

Ironically I’ve found people are amused by it and eventually gravitate towards it, especially when drinking is involved. It’s a sort of retribution for all those unsightly mosquito bites we’ve acquired over the years.

A bug zapper is a fairly simple electronic device. It isn’t a rocket ship folks. For that reason it’s surprising that so few companies can churn out a decent zapper. To get it out there from the start, a good portion of Stinger bug zappers are destined for the scrap heap. Although the UVB45 isn’t among the worst mosquito killers out there (that stuff is shockingly shoddy), picking one up a risky endeavour.

The UVB45 has a sleek, futuristic look. This stems from the fact that most zappers currently on the market were designed in 80s. The grill is curved while we are used to seeing straight grills and boxy designs. Unfortunately the build is plasticky and not particularly tough.

A 40-watt black light is employed to attract pests. Stinger claims it attracts 40% more insects than a conventional light. It releases a smell similar to that of a mammal via the Octenol lure. People are often wowed by the lights on bug zappers, not realizing the importance of scent. The UVB45 does a good job of attracting mosquitos.

Since this is a recent design it has some pretty advanced electronics inside. A built-in sensor detects the amount of light outside allowing the unit to turn off during the day (when mosquitos aren’t a threat), and turn on at night.

The Stinger UVB45 covers 1 acre of land admirably as advertised. On an especially humid night it pulled in 20-30 mosquitos, plus a few moths when I tested it. They also offer the UV801S which covers 1 ½ acre and the FP15 which covers ½ an acre.

People new to the world of mosquito and bug extermination often mistake the Dynatrap for just another “bug zapper.” As the name implies, it isn’t. The DT1000 is a trapping device. It stops bugs with a totally different mentality. Think of traditional zappers (from Flowtron at least) as Rambo with a big machine gun. This device is a ninja lurking in the shadows. It kills the baddies all the same, but unlike the Flowtron you aren’t constantly reminded that an insect holocaust is underway.

Here’s how the Dynatrap works. Pests find their way in via the mesh at the bottom of the unit. Under the top lid are two lights. This generates the warmth and UV rays that send flying insect its way. Even during the brightest periods of the day, the light somehow succeeds in attracting pests. Down from there, near the middle of the cylinder, a fan blows downward. CO2 (carbon dioxide) gas is released, which is irresistible to mosquitoes. Pressure from the fan makes it nearly impossible for bugs and mosquitoes to escape. The insects die silently.

mosquitoesIn a world full of difficult choices it’s comforting to find clear winners every now and again. There aren’t too many makers of electric bug killers out there. Flowtron, Koolatron, Stinger, Dynatrap and Westinghouse products make up the majority of the market. Out of the bunch, Flowtron consistently makes zappers that get the best ratings in user reviews. Meanwhile the strongest competitor Dynatrap* is lucky to release a model that rises above mediocrity.

The problem with lesser zappers is consistent. Most of the stuff out there doesn’t last. If you read the reviews on Amazon.com you’ll find that offerings from Stinger and Koolatron in many cases don’t last more than a few months before the bulb burns out or the unit dies completely. Replacements are not cheap so including such shoddy bulbs out of the box is unscrupulous.

Another much cited issue with cheaper zappers is that there is a tendency for the devices to clog. If you have a good amount of bugs around your property you may need to clean it out every half hour. That just isn’t practical. You’re outside to enjoy the weather and relax, not mess around with a crappy bug zapper.