When trying to control mosquitoes around the home, many people purchase devices known as ‘bug zappers’ to kill them. These zappers typically have a UV light that is intended to attract mosquitoes. Once the mosquitoes fly into the light, an electrical current passes through the device, zaps the bug, and kills them. Unfortunately, these devices may not always be effective, as mosquitoes are not attracted to UV light.
There have been two credible studies conducted on the ability of UV lights to attract mosquitoes. Both came out of Notre Dame, which established bug zappers only kill between 4.1 and 6.4 percent of the nearby mosquito population over a whole season. These studies also showed there wasn’t a significant difference in the number of mosquitoes in yards that had zappers, compared with those that did not.
So, why do some bug zappers actually seem to work and kill mosquitoes? It’s because some zappers emit carbon dioxide or use an external bait to attract and kill mosquitoes. While these devices are sometimes still equipped with UV lights, the lights themselves do nothing to kill or attract mosquitoes.