Can a Bug Zapper Run All Night?

When you initially buy a bug zapper, only one fundamental idea comes to mind. That is keeping those pesky cretins off of my family and me. One might start to wonder if you can leave bug zappers on all night or if it is a horrible idea to do so.

To use your bug zapper to its fullest potential, you can leave it on constantly. As a result, you’ll be breaking down the insect’s breeding cycles. On the other hand, when looking to save money on electricity, make sure to turn the bug zapper on during the evening to the time you wake up. 

This article will go over all the information buzzing around this topic and break down the dos and don’ts. We’ll discuss what you can do to increase the overall longevity of your bug zapper.

Where Bug Zappers Originally Come From?

Bug zappers have been around since the early 1930s, initially invented by William F. Folmer and Harrison L. Chapin. The device in itself has been modified significantly from the original design. 

Still, many of these features have been concerning the safety and well-being of the consumer using the product itself. 

The bug zapper’s original use was primarily focused on eradicating a singular or handful of insects at once. 

Still, as time went on, this method evolved into a less dynamic and more self-sufficient approach, hoping to allow a constant state of control over the ever-growing tide of insects. 

It was this pursuit of freeing oneself from these flying vexations that we get to enjoy the standing and hanging bug zappers that we know and love today!

Now that we know a little more about bug zappers, let us dive in and find out about the inner workings of the bug zapper itself. You will discover the limits of practicality with them and figure out just how far we can push the boundaries of integrating them into our daily lives.

Do Bug Zappers Use a Lot of Electricity?

In today’s modern world, bug zappers have various options available to them—anything from your more standard electric units to battery-operated. 

Solar Bug Zappers Are Available

Even solar zappers are available, which allows for a lot more freedom of choice when attempting to lock in that question on if bug zappers use much electricity.

Solar alternatives offer solutions in a multitude of ways. For one, solar power is free. After the unit’s initial cost, you won’t need to make additional investments to keep your home bug-free. 

Solar bug zappers seem to be an excellent choice when you are shopping for a bug slaying solution.

Assuming you did want to work with a bug zapper that ran on electricity, a standard large bug zapper could use roughly 100 watts of electricity a day. 

Regular Bug Zappers

If you were to quantify these values, you would be spending about 10 cents if you forgot to turn the unit off for an entire day’s worth of mosquito slaying.

The drawback would be you are probably only killing harmless bugs in the first place. Even worse, they were actively contributing to the fight to keep harmful ones at bay.

Can Bug Zappers Start Fires?

Now, this is a relevant question, especially if we considered the device itself shocking things literally to death. Indeed, this amount of voltage could have the ability to start a fire. 

While yes, you can most certainly start a fire with a bug zapper if you aren’t careful, this rings true for almost all electrical appliances. As such, it should be taken with a grain of salt when being considered a safety hazard.

Avoiding potential fires is as easy as following the safety instructions included with your zapper. You will want to ensure that you keep the device out of the reach of kids or animals, which may be a task. Still, even here, there are solutions to be found.

Educating your family about the device and explaining how it can be harmful, dangerous, or broken allows everyone to have a bit more respect for how the device functions. 

Teaching others within your household will help prevent accidents like starting fires from occurring in the first place.

Do Bug Zappers Work on Mosquitoes?

Bug zappers work for mosquitos to the extent that it is not nearly enough as you might think. You see, when humans hear that zapping sound, they are satisfied because they believe it is catching the mosquitos. 

On the contrary, mosquitos like carbon dioxide and heat, which we emit in their air through our breathing and our body temperatures. Suppose you wish to get something that attracts mosquitos. In that case, purchase octenol to put in the zapper itself.

However, although bug zappers do not attract mosquitos, they have small lights that attract more enormous insects like moths and dragonflies. 

Some of these bugs don’t truly offer any ill intent aside from being annoying (Moths, I’m looking at you). 

Still, dragonflies are beautiful insects to look at, and they actively combat the mosquito population by hunting them. So, killing one, even by mistake, is a bit counterintuitive.

The Reason Bug Zappers Don’t Work for Mosquitos

Traditional bug zappers don’t work on mosquitoes because they are linked directly to how the mosquitoes themselves find prey. 

As mentioned previously, mosquitoes rely heavily on heat signature and a keen sense of smell to stalk down potential targets to make a meal of them.

Understanding how mosquitoes hunt brings us to another important topic about mosquitoes at large. That topic would be that not all mosquitoes bite. 

While this may not come as alarming news to some, the truth of the matter is, only female mosquitoes bite living things and consume their blood for sustenance. 

Male mosquitoes primarily live on a diet of plant juices and nectars to keep them fit for courting females. They survive long enough to reproduce and end their life cycle. Another key takeaway from the two genders would be that only females bite, and only they transfer disease.

Get Bug Zappers Specifically Geared for Mosquitos

Seeing as most normal bug zappers aren’t very efficient in hunting mosquitoes, you can shop around for zappers specifically designed to target and attract these disgusting friends to their doom. 

These modified zappers feature qualities like simulating a cow’s skin, which may seem a tad bizarre initially. Furthermore, cows account for a vast majority of mosquitoes’ prime feeding spots, so it only makes sense a trap would aim to simulate one. 

You can mix and match the scent of cow breath, the color of skin, and several other tricks to get a nasty, mosquito-destroying zapper.

Best Way to Repel Mosquitos (Without Bug Spray)

Despite all of the information above, zappers and even bug sprays aren’t the most effective methods you can engage in to combat the mosquito population infesting your area. 

The preventive measures that aren’t being properly taken care of are contributing heavily to any population of these pests. 

Taking time out of your life to properly remedy these issues will not only remove critical locations of nesting from the mosquito’s arsenal, but you will also effectively be setting them up for failure by denying their ability to hunt properly or masking your presence entirely with different scents!

1. Remove Standing Water

Mosquitoes reproduce by laying eggs over standing bodies of water, and most people would read this and think about lakes or small ponds. Still, truthfully the smaller, more discreet pools of water are what allow their populations to explode. 

Think anything from water being on a tarp to the inside of a car tire. These small areas are more than plenty to sustain a brood of mosquitos. 

Going outside your home and tidying up the backyard searching for potential nesting spots will do wonders to combat a mosquito infestation and get to the root of the problem.

2. Put Up Air Curtains

While the name might not ring a bell to most, air curtains are a brutal countermeasure to mosquitoes and almost all flying bugs that can bite or sting. 

As their name suggests, air curtains create a powerful gust of air over a doorway that constantly acts as a wall to bar insects from getting in.

The curtain keeps mosquitoes from entering your home but does not prove nearly as effective as removing standing water. It also does not help you once you are outside and exposed to them in the first place.

Another critical issue to address about the air curtain is the overall price of a unit itself. If you don’t plan to host several outdoor functions, it may not be worth the purchase. Hence why we are currently going over several ways to get rid of the pesky bugs.

3. Essential Oils

It seems like essential oils have a name and use for nearly everything known to creation nowadays. Fighting hordes of mosquitoes is just another feather in the cap of this ever-growing pillar of life-changing alternative measures.

Essential oils are oils derived from any number of plants, flowers, seeds, and other typically organic means. The oils have unique properties that can either attract or prevent bugs or other critters from going too close to slathered areas in these miraculous oils.

The oils give off unique scents that mosquitoes despise and will do anything to avoid, smells like:

  • Basil
  • Peppermint
  • Citronella
  • Lemongrass
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender

Of course, there are many more where that came from. However, these oils have proven to be effective mosquito deterrents, but the fun doesn’t stop there!

Essential oils can be applied topically to a bite and help alleviate some of the itching, swelling, and annoyance of getting attacked by mosquitos.

4. Citronella Candles

It should be no surprise that the same plant that serves as an active deterrent for the mosquitos can utilize in a candle to the same effect. 

As you may have guessed, citronella can be infused in candles. When lit, it provides a nice blanket shield from mosquitoes interfering with your outdoor activities.

5. Crushed Garlic

Strongly scented herbs have profound effects on the sensitive nose of the mosquito. However, crushing some garlic up and dabbing around your door or garnishing your plates of food will give you that same protection we spoke about above, with a unique flavor as a bonus.

Can I Leave My Bug Zapper On in the Rain?

It is unwise to leave your bug zapper out in the rain, as this can cause the zapper itself to short-circuit and be rendered useless. 

Suppose you are home or have someone else who can relocate the unit. In that case, it’s extremely wise to do so if only to save money on purchasing another should you need to replace it.

However, all outdoor bug zappers are shock-proof, which means that you can leave them outdoors during a rainy day. Still, you’ll want to make sure the plug does not get wet in the process. The last thing you want to deal with is a shock from wet plugs! 

What Should I Consider While Choosing a Bug Zapper?

Choosing a bug zapper can already be a chore. Still, one of the biggest things to bear in mind when attempting to purchase one would be which bug you are explicitly trying to remove from your daily life. 

Most bugs have certain traits and attributes that attract them in the first place. Manipulating those qualities to your advantage will be the deciding factor as to whether or not your bug zapper is effective or not.

1. Outdoor vs. Indoor

Subtle differences in which bugs you want to keep at bay will heavily determine which bug zapper will work best for you. 

If you hate moths, you will want a bigger, more elaborate zapper that can help real in more of them at a time. Especially if moths are plaguing the inside of your house, certain scents and more can help guide them to the zapper of your choice.

2. Power Source

Money isn’t something most people have infinite volumes of. It’s for this exact reason choosing a power source that not only gets you the most bang for your buck makes sense. Still, it should be taken into consideration when selecting your zapper.

Electric Bug Zappers

An electric zapper will generate more consistent power. Over time, it will cost you more and is only worth the investment if your bug prefers heavy light or perhaps the sound emitted by the trap.

Solar Bug Zappers

Solar zappers benefit heavily from the fire and forget mentality behind getting one. In most cases, you are looking at setting it out to be exposed to the sun and allowing nature to run its course (with a bit of intervention from humanity, obviously).

3. Using a Bait

While few and far between, you can use bait to lure specific bugs to a swift culling. To do this, you must be diligent in researching what your bug of choice likes and what it dislikes by the same association.

In most cases, strong scents like lavender and rosemary can serve as a potent ward to most notorious bug variants. You won’t need to put much more effort into keeping those bugs at bay. 

Alternatively, you can replicate scents and sounds that your bug of choice prefers and simulate them to devastating effect.

4. Coverage in the Area

The area where your zapper can lure and effectively eliminate bugs is something you want to bear in mind before installing your new unit. As we said before, bug zappers are by and large indiscriminate in the bugs that they kill. 

While it may be tempting to get a giant bug zapper, you can attempt to quell as many bugs as you can in general, and you will kill bugs that aren’t harmful to humans. In that case, be mindful of your choice and purchase accordingly.


Purchasing a bug zapper can provide instant relief to the wary mind regarding bugs not being too close to you personally. Still, a little effort goes a long way. 

Unless you want to eradicate every bug in a certain radius, there are more effective methods of controlling insect populations than zapping them down. 

Bearing this in mind, you can most definitely have your bug zapper running all night if you so choose. In some cases, it won’t even cost you anything of value. 

Still, the beneficial bugs killed throughout the night could have creepy crawlies visiting you that you genuinely don’t want in or near your home!


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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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