Pest Control Fail

Deer Fly

Deer Fly

The electronic fly swatter, is an odd device. A cross between a bug zapper and a tennis racket, the device can be used to incinerate insects and other small arthropods. Curious as to who would buy one, I asked my class and surprisingly several students owned or had used one. My TA who worked in a Forensic Lab (lots of flies) noted that they had one in the lab. A search of YouTube led to an eclectic mix of campy advertisements, goofballs using an electric fly swatter to shock their tongue and frat boy hazing videos. I asked my class if they used the device to kill flies and received an affirmative. I then asked if they had used a device on something other than an insect. Again, numerous affirmatives. Apparently, incinerating flies is too boring and misuse of the device to test the strength of the shock or watch someone jump has more appeal.

People do kill flies with them. An incident in Ilocos Norte, The Philippines reached Wiley Coyote Territory. The electric flyswatter was used to hit an insect that went into a flaming death spiral. Unfortunately, the insect landed in a box of fireworks, ignited a fuse and started a fireworks explosion. Two people in the house were burned and the house was burned to the ground before the fire department arrived. I am uncertain of the validity of this report, but it is a great cautionary tale.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, News, Pest Management. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Pest Control Fail

  1. Richard Jones says:

    I have an authenticated report of Museum beetles, Anthrenus sp. breeding in the dead insect remains in the corpse collection tray of an insectocutor insect trap.

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