Fly Zappers: They're Not Just a Threat to Bugs


Imagine a device that gives off a heat so stifling your body would combust the second it touches you. It sounds like a war machine from a science fiction movie, but this device is very real, and you might even have one on your own front porch. Though bug zappers were made to quickly eliminate bugs and benefit everyday human experience, they actually do much more harm than good to both sides.

When a bug comes into contact with a bug zapper, it does not just die from electrocution, it quite literally explodes, and when it explodes any diseases it might be carrying are spread throughout the area. While a zapper in the corner of the restaurant or daycare center might seem harmless and innocent, it is really delivering diseases and bug parts to the air every time you hear that zap!

While that might seem like the worst of it, there is still more damage these bug zappers inflict. Zappers have been known to kill not just bugs, but small animals like squirrels and lizards that are unfortunate enough to climb on the devices, thinking they are safe heat source during the freezing winter. The larger wild animals don’t have it as lucky as the insects either. While the insects simply explode on contact, squirrels and lizards are too big to experience an immediate death. Severely burned from the intense heat of the zapper, they suffer for a long time before finally dying. Sometimes, an animal may not die at all and is left to suffer with a terrible burn for the rest of their life.


We know zappers are not the most humane option to keep the bugs away, but we still don’t like mosquitoes buzzing around our heads while we are trying to have a relaxing summer afternoon on the porch. Instead of using zappers, many people have been turning to the most humane method of using citronella as a bug repellant. Citronella is a nontoxic biopesticide and all-natural oil and is available in the form of spray, lotion, candles, and even incense. Rubbing a bit of citronella on your skin or using a citronella spray has the same effect as many bug repellants and can safely and naturally keep the bugs at bay. Burning a citronella candle or incense stick produces the same effect, without getting the smell of citronella on your skin or clothes.

Citronella is a safe alternative to using a traditional bug zapper, an inhumane tool which can cause great suffering among wild animals. By throwing out our old zappers, we can also stop the spread of diseases around restaurants, daycare centers, homes, and anywhere else zappers are found. By switching to all-natural citronella, we not only make the world a little bit safer for animals, but also a little bit safer for ourselves.

Works Cited:

Broce, Alberto. “K-State Researchers Say Bug Zappers May Cause More Harm than Good.”

EurekAlert!, Kansas State University, 2 June 1999,

Levy, Jillian. “Citronella Oil: Repel Insects, Pain & Stress!” Dr. Axe, 18 June 2018,

Rebekah Caldwell