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Mosquito zappers

I went to Bunnings for a mosquito zapper. All the ones I could see had the Mosquito as one of the pests zapped.

When I asked which was best in store the assistant said none of them actually does the job.

Unfortunately, many biting bugs are not attracted to the UV light coming from bug zappers , mosquitoes and biting gnats included. Traditional bug zappers will kill a large number of harmless insects. In fact, they may even kill a larger number of beneficial insects than harmful ones.

With summer here, and humidity (in WA seeming to be on the increase; Ross River Virus, etc, if they don’t work, they shouldn’t say they do.


Hi @mcmap, what a great first post and welcome to the community.

It is good that the assistant gave correct advice. They won’t attract mozzies …and will only kill them if a mozzie accidentally flies into the zapper part.

Mozzies respond mainly to two things, carbon dioxide being exhaled and smell (such as pheromones)…and not UV light. Other insects which use light to find food, are attracted to zappers including flies, moths, butterflies, bees etc. They will also attract and kill native and exotic (e.g. Indonesian) geckos…as they have learnt it is a good place to wait for go for an easy feed.

The devices shouldn’t be called or nicknamed mozzie zappers but maybe insect/bug zappers…as they won’t attact and kill mozzies. To prevent mozzie bites, the US CDC gives some good advice…

or closer to home, Sydney University…

and note, the recommended methods doesn’t include zappers.


I bought 2 of these UV light zappers on FB Marketplace (fortunately cheaply) - they did attract moths etc but zero mozzies… So they are now unplugged, gathering dust and I continue to suffer…
This may be useful:

Bugs n Slugs

12 February at 23:50 ·

Want to swat that mosquito in the dark (or the light) first time, every time? Here’s a hot tip from Kris at Bugs n Slugs; When you feel the ‘prick’ of the mozzie biting you… Take a long, slow, deep breath and hold it. This will expand your blood vessels and trap the mosquitoes proboscis in your skin long enough that you will be able to swat it before it can escape. You can thank the 10 years I spent working in a mangrove forest for this one. Try it. It works and its chemical free.


I’ve found in recent years that aerogard, Off! And the rest are generally useless. A friend who goes camping a lot recommended Bushmans insect repellent, and I must say it has been a boon. Its 20%, 40% or 80% DEET and the mozzies stay well away. Zappers are useless, been there done that.


I use repellents with Picaridin in them rather than DEET. Picaridin doesn’t have as much odour as DEET to my nose and doesn’t affect the plastic of my glasses like DEET does. Rated as having similar effectiveness to DEET it may appeal to some. I think it also works better against flies if they are a concern for a user.

There is ongoing research into Picaridin but a 20% solution is almost as effective as a 20% DEET solution and it won’t damage plastics or synthetic materials like DEET will.


An example would be interesting, and useful. As wel as where to buy.


If you do a internet search, it is possible to find sprays containing such as this one. Another readily available one is Skintastic Insect Repellent Spray which is available at most chemists and some supermarkets (such as Woollies) and Officeworks.

And this is a research paper looking into Picaridin effectiveness when compared to DEET.

This paper found that ‘Picaridin 20% performed equally well as DEET 20% and better than picaridin 10%’. It looks like, a bit like DEET, the higher the concentration (%), the more effective the repellent will be.


Point taken


ALDI sell their one with it in (fairly cheap and good), but I like the Skintastic one in the little hand spray pack. Unlike DEET it isn’t an oily mix so feels less greasy on the skin.


Off! Insect Repellent uses picaridin and is widely available at Coles, Chemist Warehouse, IGA etc. We actually have a mozzie repellent test underway at the moment (sprays and roll-ons, not zappers). When we did mozzie repellents in the past, picaridin-based products performed as well as many DEET products, though DEET formulations topped the list.


Interesting. My mozzies are unaffected by Off! I never checked to see what ingredients it had.

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Not greasy is good. I use Bushmans sparingly because it feels like a second skin. Horrid, but effective.

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Are you also testing for protection against midges and ticks?

In the tropical north on the coast toward dusk the miniature flying midges that can penetrate through normal insect screens are like dark clouds. Their bites are painful and can be very itchy, or worse.

Our biggest risks are scrub and paralysis ticks. I spray ankles neck and wrist and clothing at the waist to discourage them. Off or Bushmans. Unfortunately with ticks often the first sign of their presence is long after the first bite. Tick Typhus is a concern. No limes disease officially but some of us seem to react with severe lumps and infections at the bite site.


No, sorry, the test focuses only on mosquitoes. These tests are performed by an external lab using insects bred for the test (Aedes aegypti is the species) with live human subjects - the usual test methodology for insect repellents. It’s fairly expensive and I suspect adding further insect species would make it prohibitive. (They can test with ticks and sand flies but not sure if midges are an option.)


Thanks Chris for the insight.
The assumption is that similar insects all react in similar ways to the tested repellants. Despite using repellant generously the effectiveness seems to vary with how much you sweat/wipe (logical). There are those oversized mossies that seem to be able to penetrate through any thin clinging clothing.

For tropical PNG and parts of Northern Australia, head to toe long pants and long sleeved shirts preferably pretreated with repellant washes was the go. Others reject the sweat box approach and go shorts and shirtless. Either way it will be useful to learn how little or much of the chemicals available we need to place on our skin to reduce the risks.


This is a device that is used by those who do research into Mozzies.
Sounds very effective but I am not sure who distributes in Australia.
Australian researchers use them though.

Thanks everyone. Some great info … bloody mozzies.

What I take from the comments is that these electronic devices have been making a fortune by their false advertising. I wonder just how many people have bought them, and given up (I see one or two in this thread) uing them; I almost brought one myself. Time for the ACCC (?) to step in. Choice needs to put our a slap on the wrists.

We’ve had pretty good success with one of these:

I’m on the second one because the fan died on the first. A few places sell rebadged versions. It uses an octenol attractant like this one:

We easily catch 100 mosquitoes a night with it when there’s mozzies around. It does catch moths as well, but it has definitely reduced the mozzie population to the point where most of the time we don’t have to worry about them. We run it 24/7 over the warmer months.


An article/ad for Mozzie Stop which claims to attract and kill mosquitos.

However I strongly suspect that it is powered by snakeoil.

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