Combined Solar Garden Light and Bug Zapper
Maybe you didn’t install accent lights in your garden because you didn’t want to pull wires or you had cold feet about the extra electricity bill? Or maybe you fancy an electric bug zapper on your terrace but you dislike fetching the cable reel each evening to plug it in? Now there are solar garden lights with bug zapper, that solve all problems at once – and there are designs for every taste. But do they work for mosquitoes?
Solar-powered garden lights have been available for some time now. They have an internal rechargeable battery that’s charged during daytime by a solar panel on top of the lamp. At night they use the accumulated electricity to power a very energy-efficient lamp, such as a LED, making them last for the whole evening and part of the night. This gives them two basic advantages: You don’t need to install wire to power them, and they don’t add to your electricity bill.
Recently, several of those solar lights have seen a new function added. They now contain a bug zapper as well. The – mostly ultraviolet – light attracts the bugs, and the electric grid that surrounds the lamp roasts them when they touch it. And, since replacing the buzzing sound of insects with the sound of crying children or yelping dogs isn’t really progress, there’s a plastic outer grid to protect kids or animals from zapping themselves too.
Some solar bug zappers rely on a normal white light to attract the bugs; others use white LEDs for accent light and ultraviolet LEDs to attract the bugs, and they can switch between both functions at the touch of a button. If the white LEDs are equally efficient at attracting bugs at night – and the plain old light bulb on my terrace does seem to do a good job at attracting them – I’d prefer the first type, because it doesn’t present you with an either/or choice.
Then there are models that you can simply stake into the ground wherever you’d like to put them in your garden. You could still move those around as you like, but basically they’re designed to stay put once they’re in place. Other models are designed as a portable lamp, making them more suitable to take with you, such as when camping.
- Solar garden lights – no wires needed
- New models include electric bug zappers
- Use plain or ultraviolet light to attract insects, or switch between both
- Stationary and portable models available.
Most of these solar lights claim to attract mosquitoes, but so far my personal experience with UV bug zappers is that mosquitoes couldn’t care less about them. Mosquito eyes are most sensitive to green colors, insensitive to yellow, and little sensitive to ultraviolet. You also have to consider that there are different wavelengths in UV light and different LEDs may emit different “colors” with varying efficacy against different insects. If mosquitoes are your main concern, you might consider the ThermaCELL portable mosquito repellent instead. Or check out an overview table comparing different options.
On the other hand, if you fancy some solar accent lights in your garden anyway, you could go for the combined solar-light-with-bug-zapper products anyway since the price is almost the same as the plain lights. Even if they wouldn’t kill mosquitoes, you’ll still get rid of a lot of other bugs. Determined to roast mosquitoes with them anyway? Since they best see green colors and white light contains green, you’d best go for a model with white light.
Where to buy
A few solar garden lights on a stake:
A portable model:
Sunforce Solar Mosquito Zapper: $20 at Amazon.com, and it does get good feedback.
Approx. price: $25 apiece (May '09).
Other Anti-Insect solutions on Clever & Easy