Are mosquito lamps effective and do they pose any health risks to pregnant humans ?
February 5, 2007 8:21 PM   Subscribe

Are mosquito lamps effective and do they pose any health risks to pregnant humans ?

I have a mosquito problem and I have friends coming round for dinner.

If I use a mosquito lamp such as...

Are they harmful to humans ?
I have a couple of pregnant friends and would like to be sure they will be safe.

(I'm looking into long term solutions too)
posted by matholio to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In 1996, University of Delaware researchers Timothy Frick and Douglas Tallamy published a study in the journal Entomological News. They had collected and identified the kills from six bug zappers at various sites throughout suburban Newark, Delaware, during the summer of 1994. Of the nearly 14,000 insects that were electrocuted and counted, only 31 (0.22 percent) were mosquitoes and biting gnats. The largest number (6,670, or 48 percent) were harmless, aquatic insects from nearby streams, rivers and midges. The researchers claimed that killing this many harmless insects would disturb nearby ecosystems. According to Tallamy, most species of mosquitoes are not attracted to ultraviolet light, and certain species only bite during the day. Tallamy claims that bug zappers are worthless for reducing biting flies, exact a heavy toll on non-target insects and are counter-productive to consumers and the ecosystem. [source: How Bug Zappers Work]

Furthermore, Some "studies show that when Bug Zappers kill insects they stimulate the release of large numbers of bacteria or viruses which may be on the insect surface. Further the zappers produce insect parts such as scales, hairs, and insect body parts. In aggregate, the results show that bug zappers not only pose an immediate threat because of the release of bacteria and viruses, but they also release insect particles which are potential allergens and/ or cause various respiratory conditions such as asthma, rhinitis, and conjunctivitis." [source: Electrocution of House Flies in Bug Zappers Releases Bacteria and Viruses
posted by Dave Faris at 8:36 PM on February 5, 2007

Completely useless device.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:40 PM on February 5, 2007

Much more useful are propane mosquito traps.
posted by pmbuko at 8:50 PM on February 5, 2007

Response by poster:
The links I posted were for lamps with a candle and a pad.
I think the heat from the candle releases chemicals from the pad which mozzies find repellent.

I think the zappers mentioned are electric lamps and that's not what I meant to refer to.
posted by matholio at 9:02 PM on February 5, 2007

When I was reading about mosquitos last summer, from what I've read, basically every approach is of very limited or no help except for DEET based repellants.

I am not aware of any problem with DEET and pregnancy, except for the general warning that DEET in high doses can be toxic. However I would recommend them asking their OB/GYN.

But outside of spray or rub-on repellant, most other approaches are of minimal or no help, unfortunately.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:23 PM on February 5, 2007

Not the question you asked, but my friend The Mosquito Scientist (really!) tells me the propane traps kill mosquitos mercilessly. Problem is, they also draw mosquitos from far and wide- so they may help your distant neighbors more than they help you.
posted by carterk at 10:02 PM on February 5, 2007

The "little brown" bat will consume 500-1200 mosquitoes an hour. You could get some of those and setup a roost. Your pregnant friends don't have long hair, do they?
posted by dendrite at 1:00 AM on February 6, 2007

bats take a while to show up, but they would be the best. the propane traps are by far the best. you are wasting money on anything else.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 5:34 AM on February 6, 2007

I bought a mosquito machine at a big box store. I think it was 25$? It uses a light and then sucks them in with a fan and electrocutes them.
It works beautifully.
And when you empty the trap you will see 99% mosquitoes. (proving it does work and kills very few other insects)

First line of defense should be mosquito netting - can you put mosquito netting on your porch to create an "air lock" before you go inside? Very effective.

Be sure to get rid of all standing water near your house!

I've also heard that purple martins eat a lot of mosquitoes.

I can't vouch for the propane machines. I have also heard that they draw more mosquitoes than they kill...
posted by cda at 8:06 AM on February 6, 2007

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