Mosquitoes are, without doubt, a right pain here in Australia. Well, not just Australia, mosquitoes irritate people in many countries so we are not alone with that. Fortunately, our mosquitoes carry far fewer diseases than they do in some regions, so at least we can be thankful of that.
I’ve written quite a bit about mosquitoes and you will find this post littered with links to those other relevant articles. Like the time when my ankles got absolutely blitzed by mozzies, my word, you should see the pictures… No-see-ums: Those Pesky Biting Midges Are Back!
What is interesting to me though is that within a very small geographical area, for example, the suburb I live in, mozzies can be either all over you constantly or completely non-existent, depending whose house you are visiting.
What makes the difference? Here’s one possible answer…
The Bug Eater
My Bug Eater made its debut on this website just last week in my post called Ticks and Snakes in Australia: Welcome to Summer. It’s back again, this time after dark, which is why it has that rather ghostly glow around it.
Here’s how it looks after dark but with flash photography…
I first trialled this out throughout the entirety of last summer, I had it on a timer switch to come on at around dusk and go off at dawn every day and it really does seem to have helped enormously. I don’t recall getting bitten by a mozzie in my back garden throughout the whole season.
Here’s how it works:
- Bugs are attracted to the ultraviolet light
- A fan blows the critters into the water in the tray below
- The liquid detergent added to the water prevents the insect from floating, so it drowns
Simple, but effective.
The idea of this device is not just to blast away the critters that are bugging you during your barbecue, this is a longer term solution. That’s why you should put it on every night. What you are doing is targeting the male mosquitoes in order to break the breeding cycle in your immediate area, your own back garden.
If you can reduce the male population, there will be no eggs for the females, no breeding and after 2 to 4 weeks you should see a noticeable drop in the mozzie population around your house.
The downside of using this device?
Well, it’s certainly pretty silent, you can’t hear it from more than a couple of meters away, and as the idea is to place this in the line of sight of bugs but away from your eating area, that’s just perfect. So no problems with that, but you do have to top up the soapy water every four days or so and you do also have to empty out the bugs…
As you can see, quite a few bugs in here, including a good deal who are not mosquitoes. Those big bugs look like some kind of cicada, maybe a Wattle Cicada, but I’m guessing. Clearly this machine kills insects other than mosquitoes though, which is the same problem with…
I used to use a Zapper…
… or, as mine was called, A Yard Guard, which I explained in full in my post Australian Bad Thing Attacks: Small, Medium and Large Bites. I’ve since discovered though that these probably aren’t such a good idea.
The biggest problem I found with them was that bugs electrocuted by these zappers are so thoroughly destroyed that their intestines could splash out and spray up to 2 metres away spreading bacteria and viruses.
Not good if food is being prepared in the area; I actually shuddered when I saw that old photograph to see how close the zapper was to my barbecue. Even people simply breathing within a couple of meters of a zapper could be inhaling bacteria.
Another major problem is that apparently these zappers kill many beneficial insects and very few mosquitoes. One study showed that just 4.1% of bugs killed by these zappers were mozzies and another suggested it was as few as 0.22%, or, to put that into perspective, just 31 insects out of 14,000 electrocutions.
“A Notre Dame University study in South Bend Indiana showed that people with a zapper in their backyard got bit 10% more than people without one because zappers attracted mosquitoes but did not kill them.”
The biggest problem though appears to be that the ultraviolet light really doesn’t attract mozzies at all. Surely then that means that the Bug Eater doesn’t work either, that uses ultraviolet light as well.
The same people that gave me the Notre Dame University study info above, control-mosquitoes.com, also say the following…
“UV light also helps mosquitoes find water where they lay their eggs. When UV light is reflected off the surface of water it is polarized. Like polarized sunglasses that reduce glare and help you see objects more clearly, the mosquitoes follow the polarized light to the water to lay their eggs.”
Ah, could this be why the Bug Eater is effective? It seems to go against what the manufacturers of this product say themselves, which is that their device targets male mosquitoes. But maybe the selection of a nice patch of water to bring the kids up in is a mummy and daddy decision in the mosquito world?
Maybe they both check out this nice polarised pond at the same time and then splosh? Whole family wipeout?
I don’t miss the zzpt sound of the old zapper going off every few minutes, or the waft of smoke that accompanies a rather large moth or even Asian gecko getting stuck in the grill.
Drowning, the preferred method of killing of my Bug Eater, is much less intrusive.
Does it work?
From my experience, I would say yes. But then my testing conditions are not exactly scientific. Had I not used it at all, for example, would I still have gone all of last summer mozzie free? Maybe I would have, maybe there simply aren’t any mozzies around my house.
It’s difficult to say, but I will certainly be using the Bug Eater for controlling mosquitoes again this year and I will be more than happy if I get the same results. My old zapper has already been placed in the bin.
I will also be keeping up with my vitamin B supplementation, I think that helps to repel the mozzies. I’ve mentioned that method quite a few times in my other posts, here are some of my other mosquito related entries for those who want to know more:
- Australia’s Biggest Baddest Thing
- The Mosquitoes Irritating Little Brother
- Mosquitoes, Sandflies and My Favourite Aerosols
Eliminate the water sources
Remember, the best thing that you can do around your property is make sure there is no stagnant or slow-moving water where they can lay their eggs. So no puddles, no half empty (or full, depending which way you look at it) buckets, no blocked drains, no bunged up guttering, nowhere where water can gather. Eliminate the water sources, you will eliminate the mozzies.
Unless, of course, it’s water in the tray of your Bug Eater, that’s OK.