Hazards of Bug Zappers

Written by neal litherland
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Hazards of Bug Zappers
There are potential hazards that come with using bug zappers. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Bug zappers are an old standby for controlling biting insects during the warmer months. However, while the sight of a bug zapper at work might be mesmerising, there are a lot of potential hazards that come with the use of a bug zapper to control your insect population at home.

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Function

A bug zapper is essentially just a big, exposed current that draws in insects and electrocutes them. This is why you can hear a humming sound, and it's why the wires in the zapper glow; electricity is running right through the zapper and it's open to insects coming in and meeting their death by household lightning.

Electrocution

One of the big hazards of a bug zapper is that it's going to do exactly what it was designed to do; electrocute someone. While the current is instantly lethal to insects, it can also kill household pets, smaller wildlife and, potentially, humans. This is why it's very important that you make sure the bug zapper has a safety cage around it and that it's put in a location where it will kill bugs, but won't likely kill anything else.

Fire

While a bug zapper isn't a bigger risk than other electrical devices, it is still a potential fire hazard. As such, it's important that you hang a bug zapper up and that you keep it away from grass, paper, curtains, flags and other things that might catch fire when exposed to the electrical shock from the bug zapper's current.

Disease

When a bug gets caught in a bug zapper it explodes in a large pop. While it kills the bug, whatever disease or conditions that might have been inside the bug, such as malaria in a mosquito, are rendered aerosol. This makes it a very bad move for high traffic areas because bug zappers could then spread contagions faster than the bites from the actual insect ever could. However, this can be avoided by putting the zapper away from high traffic areas.

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