Electronic Pest Control Review

Learn about the current offering of electronic pest control devices available and how to evaluate them for your own use.

When it comes to electronic insect pest control, the best defense seems to be pest offense and deference to human sensibility. Electronic devices are an alternative to chemical sprays, bombs and foggers, all of which eject or emit toxic chemicals into the air, usually with limited effect, leaving residues that can affect human health.

Not so with electronic devices, claim manufacturers and some consumers. Reports on the effectiveness of these devices are split between two views. The supporting anecdotal consumer view claims some products work well based on home use. The skeptical scientific view holds that evidence supporting claims is lacking, considering that many insects lack receptors able to detect the frequencies emitted by these devices. Not surprisingly, pest corneal companies employing traditional chemical warfare techniques agree.

Some electronic pest control devices emit ultrasonic waves that operate in a line-of-sight deployment, because ultrasonic waves do not bend, cannot penetrate walls and their intensity drops off sharply with distance. Said to be harmless to humans, some people have reported that they can either hear these sounds or are affected by them.

Ultraviolet ray devices use UV rays combined with pheromone lures to trap flies and mosquitoes. Some devices use a sticky pad that traps the insect when it lands upon the lure. These applications are good in areas where insect body parts dropping from the air isn't desired, such as restaurants or kitchens. Light is an effective attractant. Witness the many insects buzzing about incandescent or fluorescent bulbs on a summer night.

One of the most recognizable forms of electronic pest control is the bug zapper. These have been around since 1934. Zappers work by luring flies, moths and other night flying bugs with fluorescent, neon or ultraviolet light, effective because insects see ultraviolet light better than visible light. As the bug buzzes the light, it eventually touches a grid completing a circuit and is zapped with a 2000-volt electrical charge leaving no or very little residue. Bug zappers are very effective, able to kill more than 10,000 critters a night. Users get a sense of satisfaction when critters bite the dust.

Unfortunately, mosquitoes aren't attracted to ultraviolet, but can be controlled with devices containing a chemical called Octenol, that mimics human carbon dioxide emissions from breath and sweat. Some mosquito zappers use Octenol, and an electrically charged grid. Still others use Octenol and moisture to lure the pets into a device that sucks the bugs into a net where they die from dehydration.

Oddly enough, some manufacturers of electronic pest devices offer common sense solutions on how to control insect invasions. One is to make sure that screens and doors offer tight seals, and exterior piles of debris and weeds, havens for insect populations, are cut down and removed. Another is to isolate all foods and water supplies from house pests and keep all countertops clean. Add to this list another solution to empty all containers, ponds, puddles, or anything containing stagnant water to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds.

Electronic pest control devices fall into the caveat of buyer beware. No matter what the product, there will always be those who zealously claim the products work, even if confronted with conflicting evidence. It's human nature to justify product purchases based on emotion and belief. On the other hand, some devices that have a longer history and less frivolous claims do work, even if they indiscriminately zap insect friend and foe. As technology advances, the list of products using combinations of attractants and electronic devices, or yet to be discovered technological "breakthroughs" will continue to grow.

What's best? Any product with an enforceable guarantee, longevity and proven scientific credibility. Then there's the ancient device that has always been effective, cheap and low-tech, called the swatter. It may not zap as many critters, but it does remain effective as flying insects seem to disappear when they spot it.

© High Speed Ventures 2011