Do Bug Zappers Work in Daylight?

bug zapper day lg 1

You are seated in your homestead yard enjoying a cool breeze on a sunny afternoon, but bugs keep disturbing your peace. A thought about zapping them crosses your mind. But do bug zappers work in daylight?

Bug zappers do not work as effectively during the day as at night. The zapper will compete for brightness with the daylight. While a bug zapper may kill a few bugs during the day, its success significantly increases at night. 

Do You Need Pest Control Service?

Get FREE quotes from licensed pest control technicians in your area today. Whether you need spraying for ants, roaches, spiders, ticks, mosquitos, or bed bugs, We Can Help! All technicians are screened, licensed, and insured.

Get a FREE Quote Today
We earn a commission if you purchase at no additional cost to you.

For many people, there is a sort of lack of clarity on the use of zappers. Thus, we’ll shed light on all the concerns about their service. Also, we’ll cover what to look for when buying zappers and unearth what to know about these devices. Hence, for more critical insights, read on. 

Does a Bug Zapper Work in Daylight?

Typically a bug zapper comprises a light source that emits ultraviolet light. In the outer area, the UV light source surrounds an electric field.

The idea is that bugs are fond of bright light. Hence, the bright light from the bug zapper will draw them to come to the device. But, the electric field is not healthy for them. They’ll be electrocuted to death when they try coming close. 

The bright UV light is cardinal to the effectiveness of the device. It is what draws the bugs to their death trap. Hence, it is why a bug zapper is perfect for killing insects at night

In the daytime, the effectiveness of a bug zapper in killing insects diminishes. During the day, there is plenty of light.

The zapper will thus be competing for attention with the daylight. Unfortunately, bugs may not even note their presence during the day. As a result, the bug zapper will not exterminate insects during the day. 

Placement is Key

A bug zapper may still work in the day but under certain conditions. If you place it in an area such as the deck where there is significantly less light than the surrounding, it will be visible to the bugs.

During the day, it is darker inside the house than outside. Thus, the zapper will be effective in such an environment during the day. 

Additionally, note that bugs hide in dark places during the day. Hence, it would be best if you situated your zapper around such areas. It will create a contrast in lighting. Thus, bugs will move from their hideouts to the device, where they electrocute.

Also, it can work outside, albeit in places where there is an insufficient reach of sunlight. Again, the device’s light will draw the bugs as the surrounding is relatively darker in such locations.

But in such a situation, there is a likelihood of attracting even harmless insects such as bees. Thus, you must be careful where you place it to avoid counterproductivity. 

Do Bug Zappers Only Work At Night?

Zappers do not only work during the night, as we have already discussed above. However, the best time for a bug zapper to exterminate insects is at night.

At this time, there is no competition for attention for the zapper’s light with daylight. Hence, bugs will camp around the zapper and ultimately get killed. 

Ultraviolet light is attractive to bugs as it mimics the flower patterns that draw insects. Therefore, the attraction is more pronounced at night as there are no other distractions to catch the insects’ attention. The ideal time for setting up bug zappers is from dusk to dawn. During this period, insects will be most active. 

You can still set it up during the day. But at such a time, you’ll have comparatively less success in zapping the insects than at night. 

Should You Leave a Bug Zapper On Constantly?

Some people will advise you to leave the zapper on all the time. The rationale of that argument is that keeping the device on most times is imperative in improving bug extermination.

1. Disrupting the Ecosystem

It will disrupt their life cycle at any moment. There will be no chance of a bug flying around without being killed. 

Whether to leave the zapper on all the time depends on your problem. You can leave your zapper on all the time if, ideally, you are trying to fight an intense bug attack.

However, sometimes it is inadvisable to leave it on all the time, especially for the outdoor zapper. At night, switch off the outdoor zapper to prevent random extermination of healthy insects. 

2. Highers Electric Bills

Still, you can keep the indoor bug zapper on. There is no point in killing bugs outside at night as they are not a nuisance. Also, always leaving it on will significantly balloon your electricity bills. 

An average zapper will require 100 watts of electricity to run. Thus, if you run two zappers that are on throughout the night, you will be spending approximately 20 cents worth of power per day. Hence, if they run day and night, your electricity bills will be double the amount. 

Do Bug Zappers Work During the Day for Mosquitoes?

Bug zappers are lethal in killing bugs. However, the critical prerequisite to their functioning is that the insect must come to the zapper. The UV light must draw the bug. Hence, the fluorescent bulb on the zapper emits light for this to happen. 

Unfortunately, mosquitoes are not attracted by ultraviolet light like other insects—instead, mosquitoes like carbon monoxide and water vapor.

As you sleep, you will emit both through your nose, which is why mosquitoes are attracted to your head area. It also happens with other mammals. 

Thus, a typical zapper will not work during the day for mosquitoes. It will neither work at night unless a mosquito accidentally bundles onto it but not by being attracted as other insects. 

University of Delaware Study

Various credible research has proved the ineffectiveness of zappers in killing mosquitoes. The University of Delaware research revealed that six zappers caught 31 mosquitos out of 13,000.

The university monitored this study for quite some time. The study results show that the effectiveness of zappers is at a measly 0.22%.

AMCA Study

Other studies, such as research by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), have also strengthened the assertion that zappers are ineffective in mosquito control. In this study, only approximately 4% of insects caught per day were mosquitoes. 

While the standard zappers will not effectively exterminate mosquitoes, some new models can supersede that role. Rather than relying solely on light to attract bugs, they contain octanol and carbon monoxide. 

The chemicals are effective in attracting mosquitoes. They mimic the breath you produce at night while sleeping. Hence, a mosquito will go into coming to the zapper. Once drawn, the electric field will kill the biting insects.

An example of such a zapper is the Flowtron PV-440 Galaxie Power-Vac. The model contains octanol and carbon monoxide. It is also easy to discard the mosquitoes after they are caught as it features an easy-to-remove tray where dead bugs collect.

The scent is also extensive. Thus, it can draw mosquitoes beyond the precincts of your house. Additionally, it features a vacuum system that sucks the bugs, which leaves no room for their escape. 

What Are the Best Ways of Exterminating Mosquitoes?

We have discussed the ineffectiveness of typical zappers in controlling mosquitoes. Nonetheless, you may still use the particular types of smell to attract the insects, effectively drawing them. But what are the other tried and tested means of controlling the biting insects? 

1. Eliminate All Stagnant Water Grounds

Draining stagnant water in your compound will go a long way in controlling mosquito breeding. Of importance is knowing that many points and objects can hold stagnant water.

  • For instance, you must check the old tires lying all over your yard. Flower pots could also be the source of stagnant water. 
  • Make a habit of removing anything that can potentially hold water for days, which encourages mosquitoes’ breeding. Also, check for puddles and ruts where water can drain into your compound. 
  • Also, always drain trash cans often, as mosquitoes will breed even in such an environment. You should consider investing in a trash can with an airtight soft close lid. Such a can will ensure that there is nowhere that mosquitoes can get in through. 

    We recommend the simplehuman 45 Liter / 12 Gallon trash can. It is made of stainless steel, and thus it’s rustproof. It also closes automatically once you let go of the step peddle. Therefore, you will keep mosquitoes and other bugs from entering. 
  • Lastly, dog bowls also create a possible mosquito breeding site. Therefore, you need to keep them drained when not in use. Invest in easy-to-drain dog bowls such as Kytely Extra Large Collapsible Dog Bowls. You can quickly drain the water off them, and they are also easy to clean. Thus your dog will have a healthy feeding platform. 

2. Trim Grass & Bushes

Overgrown grass and bushes provide the ideal mosquito breeding sites. Therefore, you must remove them if you are keen on controlling their breeding. Cutting grass should be done after the rainy season, as mosquitoes are likely to breed. 

The above recommendation of draining stagnant water pools and cutting grass and bushes will significantly lower mosquito populations. The two techniques control mosquito breeding. Thus, you will only have to deal with adult mosquitoes when applied.

You can use a slasher or buy a grass trimmer such as MAXLANDER String Trimmer. It runs on Lithium-ion batteries. Thus, it would help if you didn’t worry about the power source. It is easy to use and lightweight, putting no strain on your shoulders. 

3. Use Biological Mosquitoes Predators 

Having bats around your yard will be paramount in decimating the mosquito population. One bat can single-handedly feed on approximately 600 mosquitoes in an hour. Drawing bats is easy as long as you have set the right conditions for them to come. 

Install a bat house around your homestead. You can construct one using locally available materials or buy the KIBAGA Handcrafted Wooden Bat House Box. A bat house will be handy in giving the flying mammals a reason to make your home their favorite spot. 

The Ultimate Wooden Bat House for Outdoors - A Large Double Chamber Box Perfectly Designed to Attract Bats - Durable and Easy to Hang
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/24/2023 07:54 am GMT

In addition to feeding on mosquitoes, bats will also aid in pollination. They are also helpful in seed dispersion. Thus, they will bring a host of benefits by just being around. Remember, they are also harmless to humans, so you can coexist with them without any fear. 

4. Install a Fan

Instead of investing in a zapper that will kill a few mosquitoes and harm many other beneficial bugs, the better alternative is to install a fan.

Mosquitoes will not be comfortable flying around moving air. Thus, they will avoid coming to your house when the fan is running. 

A permanently mounted fan will be helpful in this. But, if you are keen on saving costs, a portable kind like the B-Air FIRTANA-20X  fan will also do the job.

A fan is also effective in keeping your air clean. Thus, it will improve aeration. Using it together with an air conditioner for best results is best

5. Wear Long Sleeved Clothes 

Wearing long-sleeved clothes will also ensure that you caution against mosquitoes that may find their way to the house.

You can reinforce the clothes’ protection by applying permethrin to their surface. The chemical is harmless to humans. But on pets like cats, it makes them uncomfortable. 

We recommend you contact your doctor before using the product on your clothes for advice on potential toxicity. 

Do Zappers Kill Useful Insects? 

One of the paramount concerns of using zappers is that they exterminate insects that they shouldn’t. For example, they will kill moths and other flying insects easily attracted to bright light.


Moths are harmless, and thus, exterminating them is pointless. It also significantly has a ripple effect on the ecosystem.  

According to the US Forest Service, moths help pollinate flowers at night. They are more effective pollinators than bees, especially moving pollen long distances. Unfortunately, the use of zappers will kill them on a large scale. 

Parasitic Wasps

Zappers also do not scare the parasitic wasps, which are fundamental in pest control. The insects reproduce by laying eggs in the bodies of other bugs like ticks, caterpillars, and beetles.

The wasps are harmless to us; thus, we have no reason to kill them. Instead, according to the University of Maryland Extension, we should protect them as they are critical biological pest controllers. 

Honey Bees

Luckily, zappers do not attract honey bees, which could significantly impact their populations. Primarily, bees do not go to bright light like moths. Also, bees are inactive during the night when zappers are most effective. 

Are Bug Zappers Harmful?

Bug zappers are considered innocuous; thus, you can use them indoors. But there are concerns about how they kill the bugs, potentially harming them

For instance, zappers are ruthless in killing bugs, shattering them into bits while vaporizing some of their body parts. The issue is with the vaporization bit, which means that zappers can spread diseases quickly. 

Zappers can spread the parts of the killed insects to as far as 2.1 meters. If the flies killed by the zapper contain bacteria such as campylobacter jejuni, they will distribute it to the surroundings.

A study by Kansas State University revealed that the distribution could be significantly widespread. Thus, there are concerns about using zappers indoors. 

Such serious is the potential detriment of using zappers to exterminate flies that they can cause a rapid salmonella spread.

Thus, it would be best if you never had a zapper close to the kitchen or the dining area. Also, bug zappers should not be in sterile areas such as hospitals or children’s play areas

outdoor vs indoor lg 1

Factors to Consider When Buying a Bug Zapper

The idea of bug zappers is classical, and while much has changed recently in design, they all operate under the same principle. As earlier stated, the underlying idea is that there is ultraviolet light that attracts insects.

Once they come to light, they get electrocuted by an electric field. The debris is collected on a tray that you can remove to dispose of. 

Hence, when buying a bug zapper, there are some general considerations that you have to pay attention to. 

1. Power Source

It would help to consider where your zapper would draw power from when purchasing one. Most of the zappers run on plugin electricity, but you can find others that use portable sources. If you settle for an electric one outdoors, you must provide a power source, probably an outdoor socket.

Cord Extensions

Alternatively, you can use a cord extension to move power from an indoor socket. Ensure that you buy one designed for outdoor use with properties such as being waterproof. 


If you are camping, you can still use a bug zapper as they are portable types like the ERAVSOW Camping Bug Zapper. Such zappers will be handy for outdoor use as you can hang them on any available platform, such as a tree branch.

They also are battery-operated. Thus, you will need to carry a couple of spare batteries to serve you during the camping period. 

Tennis Racket Zappers

Alternatively, you can use racket-type bug zappers like the Faicuk 2 Pack Bug Zapper Racket. It is quite a manual tool as you will have to swing it at bugs rather than relying on them to come to it. Its upside is that it is battery-operated. Hence, you can use it wherever you want. 

Solar-powered Zappers

Lastly, you can opt for the solar-powered type, especially if you live in a sunny area. A zapper like the Solar Bug Zapper is ideal for outdoor use.

Its initial cost of acquisition may be higher than the average electricity-powered zapper. However, in the long run, the initial cost will least matter as it will be running at zero cost as long as it’s sunny. 

2. Outdoor vs. Indoor Use

An outdoor zapper will be as effective as an indoor one in controlling bugs. However, their design is pretty different as outdoor types are more suited to withstand harsh weather conditions. Outdoor zappers are also relatively larger as they intend to cover a wider area than indoor ones. 

It is imperative to bug a bug suited for the use you intend to use it for. There are also a few differences between outdoor and indoor zappers.

  • Most outdoor zappers feature deep purple UV light.
  • Using an outdoor zapper helps improve the appearance of your deck area. 
  • Many of the indoor zappers are white. 
  • Indoor zappers are designed as wall fixtures to facilitate easy mounting. 

3. Shock Safety

It would be best if you were keen on buying a zapper that can effectively protect you from suffering a similar fate to the bugs.

Plugin Zappers

For most plugin zappers, a layer of protection is added to prevent you from getting electrocuted. Also, lantern zappers will feature a plastic cover that means you are safe from the dangerous electric field. 

Tennis Racket Zappers

For tennis racket kind zappers, you need to be extra careful when using them. When switched on, please do not touch the zapping area as it will get you electrocuted also. There are zappers with a protective cover; you should opt for them over those exposed. 

Steer Children Away

Lastly, keep children and pets away from all types of zappers. It doesn’t matter whether they have a protective cover, as children and pets are playful and may unknowingly touch the dangerous zones. 

4. Bait for Mosquito Zapping

We earlier discussed that mosquitoes draw to light as other insects like moths. Hence, you may use bait like octanol to attract the biting bugs.

Often octanol is packaged in packs that you can easily place on your mounted zapper. The chemical is quite effective and can remain active for up to a month. Alternatively, a handheld zapper may be an option for zapping mosquitoes. 

5. The Field of Control 

It would help if you considered the scope that your outdoor zapper could cover for assured effectiveness. Hence, when buying an outdoor zapper, pay close attention to the acreage specifications. The zappers for use over a larger area will have brighter light to draw bugs from far. 

Some manufacturers will exaggerate the coverage of their zappers. Hence, you must consult a reputable pest exterminator before settling on a particular model.

It is a requirement by the US Environmental Protection Agency to produce zappers that are high quality. Also, the body warns manufacturers against making false claims about their products. But it does not regulate the industry; hence, it is possible to fall prey to dishonest manufacturers. 

Therefore, consult extensively on a device’s ability to cover a particular scope. 

Our Top Zapper Recommendations 

We have selected a few bug zapper top models to consider when you are out in the market. Each has its key upsides, so make a decision based on what you are fundamentally looking for. 

Black+Decker Bug Zapper – Best Overall

If you want a zapper that has an extensive outreach ranging up to half an acre, the BLACK+DECKER Bug Zapper is the most ideal. It is also the best zapper for outdoor use as it is waterproof and will still perform perfectly even during a storm. 

It is also easy to clean and is a beautiful addition to your outdoor space. The sleekness of the device makes it outstanding. Its superb performance also makes it our top choice zapper for indoor and outdoor use. 

Bug Zapper 4200V for Outdoor and Indoor, Waterproof Electric Mosquito Zappers
$45.99 $23.99
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/23/2023 11:33 pm GMT

Tysonir Bug Mosquito Zapper – Best Low Priced Zapper

If you are looking for an ideal zapper for exterminating indoor bugs, the Tysonir Bug Mosquito Zapper is among the best in the market. Among its upside is that you do not necessarily have to hang it.

It has a stable base. Hence you can place it wherever you want to exterminate the bugs. Alternatively, you can still hang it above as it has a hook on top. 

Another upside of the model is that it features a protective plastic protective cage. It thus shields children and pets from the harmful electric field. Discarding the trapped bugs and cleaning the holding tray is also easy.

PIC Solar Insect Killer Torch (DFST), Bug Zapper and Flame Accent Light, Kills Bugs on Contact - Twin Pack
$117.69 ($58.84 / Count)
Buy Now on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/24/2023 06:00 pm GMT

Pic Solar Insect Killer Torch – Best Solar Zapper

For outdoor use, you need a waterproof zapper that can withstand harsh weather conditions. Finding one that runs on solar power is an incredible bonus, and the Pic Solar Insect Killer Torch features all these properties. Maintaining the model is also easy as there is not much you need to do.

It is also effective for an extended period as it can go for approximately six hours after complete charging. While it is best for use outdoors, you can still use it indoors. It has a sturdy base for placement on a table or any other unified platform. 

ASPECTEK Insect Indoor Killer – Best Indoors Zapper

Are you looking for a countertop zapper for your indoor space? Look no further than the ASPECTEK Insect Indoor Killer. It is easy to use, and depending on your decision, you can place it on a platform or hang it on the wall. It is also the most ideal for indoor use. 

Also, as it has a protective mesh screen, you do not have to worry about accidentally getting electrocuted with the model. Cleaning it is also seamless. All you need is to remove the tray and discard the trapped dead bugs. 

ZAP iT! Electric Fly Swatter Racket & Mosquito Zapper - High Duty 4,000 Volt Electric Bug Zapper Racket - Fly Killer USB Rechargeable Fly Zapper Indoor Safe - 2 Pack
$23.99 $19.99 ($10.00 / Count)
Buy Now on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/24/2023 07:44 am GMT

Zap It Electric Bug Zapping Racket – Best Handheld Zapper

As the name suggests, the model is a racket type that you swing at bugs to kill them. It is highly potent in exterminating bugs and can kill thousands of bugs with a single swing.

Unlike the conventional handheld zappers, the Zap-It Racket features a blue light. Hence, it can draw insects to the device, killing them on contact. 

It is also safe for you as it has a safety mesh that protects the electric field area. You can thus touch it without risking electrocuting your hand.

It also features a USB charging port meaning you can charge it from anywhere. The handle is also comfortable and lightweight; thus, you don’t use too much force when swinging at bugs. 


In a nutshell, most people wonder if zappers are effective for use in daylight. The truth is while they can, to some extent, work, their effectiveness significantly diminishes. When compared to at night, bug zappers can be considered unfit for use in daylight. 

There is no competition for light at night as it is during the day when it is bright. Also, it’s noteworthy that the standard zappers do not attract mosquitoes. Nonetheless, they can be equipped with baits to make them practical for mosquito extermination. 

We have also covered some of the effects of using zappers, where to place them, and proven means of controlling mosquitoes. Lastly, we have covered the recommended zappers that you might consider buying. 

Hence, consider the above insights as you choose your zapper of choice. 

Do You Need Pest Control Service?

Get FREE quotes from licensed pest control technicians in your area today. Whether you need spraying for ants, roaches, spiders, ticks, mosquitos, or bed bugs, We Can Help! All technicians are screened, licensed, and insured.

Get a FREE Quote Today
We earn a commission if you purchase at no additional cost to you.

Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.