The 6 Best Solar Bug Zappers
We spent 47 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. There's nothing that can ruin a pleasant summer evening quite like a swarm of mosquitoes. Regular bug zappers can help, but then you're limited by the length of the power cord. If you don't want your entire party huddled in a six-foot radius, consider one of these solar models. You can charge them up all day, and then they'll have enough juice to last all night — wherever you want to put them. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best solar bug zapper on Amazon.
Not All Bugs Are Bad
Many people, myself included, have a very strong aversion to, or maybe even an outright phobia of spiders.
Most people aren't exactly crazy about creepy crawlies, but unlike mosquitos, aphids, and termites, there are some beneficial bugs that actually help their environment by pollinating plants and eating other insects that may be harmful to humans. This means fewer bites when you're out doing yard work or eating dinner on your patio. These bugs also act as a natural form of pest control by killing insects that hinder the growth of crops, which is great news for your garden.
Damsel bugs, similar to praying mantises, capture their prey and hold onto it with their front legs, and they hunt a lot of different pests that are harmful to crops. Green lacewings are especially useful if you have an aphid infestation — certain species can eat up to 100 aphids per week. Trichogramma wasps are used as biological pest control agents for many crops including cotton, sugarcane, and a variety of vegetables. And, while their name sounds sinister, assassin bugs help us out by feeding on a bunch of different pests, from cockroaches to bed bugs.
Another type of insect that is a huge asset to the human race is the bee family. They are, as you probably know, extremely effective pollinators that are essential to agriculture, and some species, including honeybees, also kill pests. Plus, eating honey harvested from local bees can help to lessen the symptoms of seasonal allergies for some people.
Many people, myself included, have a very strong aversion to, or maybe even an outright phobia of spiders. I mean, let's face it — they do look pretty creepy. But, while there are some extremely poisonous species out there, most of them are perfectly harmless. In fact, spiders are one of the most beneficial creatures on the planet. They're so good at controlling pests that would otherwise devour our crops that some scientists believe we would face widespread famine without them. And they're even more important to organic farming, since it foregoes the use of pesticides.
Ways To Keep Pests Out Of Your Yard
There's nothing worse than being eaten alive by bugs while you're trying to enjoy a nice outdoor meal or play in the yard with your kids. And it's not just inconvenient in the moment — you'll be dealing with incessant itching and unsightly red bumps for days afterwards. But there are a few ways you can deter pests from hanging out on your property.
You can also fill your yard with certain types of plants, such as lemongrass, lavender, and rosemary, that mosquitos and other bugs hate.
An oldie, but a goodie, citronella candles and torches are great for repelling insects. You can also fill your yard with certain types of plants, such as lemongrass, lavender, and rosemary, that mosquitos and other bugs hate. Keeping your lawn mowed helps, too, as ticks like to hang out in tall grass. And, anytime it rains, be sure to dump out any standing water that's collected in buckets, wheelbarrows, and flower pots because it serves as a breeding ground for mosquitos.
For barbecues and other events where you'll be spending time on the patio, an outdoor fan is a good investment. Most flying bugs aren't very strong, so the circulating air can knock them off balance and convince them to go elsewhere. Plus, you get the added benefit of a pleasant breeze to keep you cool.
If you have outdoor lighting, switching out your incandescent bulbs for LEDs that have a yellow or orange hue can cut down on the number of moths and other flying insects around your house. There are also special "bug lights" you can buy that are specifically designed not to attract pests.
If you want to attract beneficial bugs to help keep your pest population in check, there are certain plants and flowers you can grow to draw them onto your property. These include roses, sunflowers, marigolds, zinnia, and many types of wildflowers. Herbs like cilantro, dill, parsley, and fennel attract helpful bugs, and you can pick off a sprig anytime you want to use them as ingredients in your dinner.
To entice bees, planting lots of blue, purple, and yellow flowers is a good place to start, since those are the colors they're most attracted to. Predatory bees that kill harmful bugs love pineapple sage, Queen Anne's lace, and Apiaceae. You can even build or buy a structure for them to live in and collect the honey from the hive.
A Brief History Of Bug Zapping
The idea for the very first prototype of the bug zapper appeared in Popular Mechanics in 1911, though they just called it a "fly trap." The design was very similar to a lot of zappers on the market today, including the use of an electrified grid, but it had one major difference — unlike modern models that use light to attract bugs, this early design encouraged users to place a piece of meat inside the grid to entice them. Which seems to me like it would just cause an even bigger fly problem once it started to rot, but I digress.
Of course, solar-powered models are the most energy efficient of them all.
At the time, the device was considered too expensive to be a marketable product, and it wasn't until 1932, when William M. Frost filed the first bug zapper patent, that someone seriously considered manufacturing it. However, he was beaten to the punch by Dr. William Brodbeck Herms, a professor of parasitology at the University of California. Dr. Herms, who had been working on insect traps for over 20 years, introduced the first electronic trap in 1934, which is the design that most models built since then have been based on.
While today's bug zappers may not be terribly different from their predecessors in terms of operation, they have become more energy efficient with the inventions of LED bulbs and rechargeable batteries. Of course, solar-powered models are the most energy efficient of them all. And, since not all bugs are attracted to light, some newer models are also treated with carbon dioxide sprays to draw them in.
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