Do Solar Bug Zappers Work?

You have an bug problem, but you don’t want to use harmful insecticides or chemicals. After a bit of research, you are wondering if solar bug zappers work as well as other options.

Solar bug zappers work just as well as their counterparts, the plug-in insect zapper. Many provide coverage up to an acre. They employ two methods for clearing the bugs out of your yard. First, they attract the bugs by emitting a cool blue UV light. This light uses shorter wavelengths, which attracts bugs through a characteristic called positive phototaxis. Secondly, they zap the bugs through an electrified mesh grid when they get close to the light source.

All of the energy required to power the ultraviolet light and the electrified mesh is provided through a solar panel that often sits on top of the bug zapper. There is no need to replace batteries or plug the bug zapper into an outlet to keep it working. The solar bug zappers do not require the burning of oil-based incense or chemicals to keep the bugs away.

This is a sustainable option for getting rid of insects in your yard without the ongoing maintenance requirements found in other products. We spent hours researching and testing different products so we could answer any questions you might have about solar insect zappers.

Solar Bug Zappers VS Other Options

So you understand how these solar bug zappers work, but you want to know how it stacks up against other products. We put together a quick matrix highlighting the benefits and drawbacks for each option.

Solar Bug Zapper

> No energy costs
> No replacing batteries
> No harmful chemicals
> Can be placed anywhere with sun
> Requires sunlight to charge
> Lasts up to 8 hours on one charge

Battery Powered Bug Zapper

> No harmful chemicals
> Can be placed anywhere
> Does not need direct sunlight
> Requires buying new batteries
> Requires changing batteries

Plug-in Insect Zapper

> No harmful chemicals
> Does not need direct sunlight
> Does not need batteries
> Needs to be close to an outlet
> Plug-in chord is tripping hazard
> Increases you energy bill

Insecticide Sprays

> Does not need direct sunlight
> Kills insects further away
> May contain harmful chemicals
> Not kid friendly
> Requires chemical refills
> Requires changing batteries

Do Solar Bug Zappers Work On Mosquitoes?

Two separate studies performed at the University of Notre Dame showed that solar bug zappers are effective at killing mosquitoes. However, the mosquitoes made up a minority of the overall bugs that were counted as killed by the insect zapper.

The first study found only 4.1% of the total dead bugs were mosquitoes. The second study found a slighter larger number of mosquitoes, but still only accounting for 6.4% of the total bugs.

Mosquitos are attracted to short waveform light, but they are more attracted to heat and carbon dioxide. Since the solar bug zapper does not generate much heat or any carbon dioxide, you are only relying on the light to bring them in. So, while the solar bug zapper does work on mosquitoes, you shouldn’t count on it ridding your entire yard of them.

Do Solar Powered Bug Zappers Work On Gnats?

Gnats are attracted to sweet smells and bright colors. The solar insect zapper does not give off any sugary smells, but it does emit a bright ultraviolet light. If you have a gnat problem inside of your house, you should try using a sugary solution mixed with soap to get rid of the pests.

But if your gnat issue is outside, your sugary solution could end up attracting other larger bugs. Those bugs wouldn’t get stuck in the soapy water. And now you’ll have a new problem.

This is where the solar bug zapper would be effective. Like our problem with mosquitoes, the bug zapper is missing one of the gnat’s favorite attractants. But the bright light still draws them in. And when they get within range, the ultraviolet waves disorient them to make it easier for them to fall into the electrified grid.

Do Solar Powered Bug Zappers Work On Flies?

Similar to the mosquito and the gnat, the fly doesn’t stand a chance against the solar bug zapper. Anything that flies into the electric mesh will be taken care of. So the question becomes, “Are flies attracted to the zapper?”

This depends on the type of fly and the time of day. House flies can’t see more than 15-25 feet. Also, their eye sight isn’t as clear as ours. So the bug zapper would have a hard time standing out during the day.

But at night, the light in the solar insect zapper becomes one of the only things that stands out in the darkness. That is where it depends on the type of fly that you are trying to push away. Many species of flies (house flies, bottle flies, flesh flies, etc.) are most active during the day.

They fly around when they are feeding or mating. Flies require light to be able to fly around, which makes them settle down more at night. However, the light from the bug zapper is attractive enough to pique the curiosity of the fly, even at night.

Do Solar Bug Zappers Work During The Day And Night?

Solar bug zappers work during the day and night just the same. Though the solar panel is capturing sunlight during the day to charge the battery, it can still be run while it is charging. So, there aren’t any limitations on when the zapper can or can’t be used.

Keep in mind that a full charge will typically last about 6-8 hours. So you won’t be able to run it throughout the day and night consecutively.

What is different is the type of bugs you’ll catch during the day versus the night. As we read about flies, some bugs are active during the day while others are more active at night. Here’s a quick list of which bugs are active during each time period.

Bugs That Are Active During The Day

The most common insects and bugs you might find outside of your house during the day are:

  • House flies, white flies, and many other species of fly
  • Mosquitoes
  • Ladybugs
  • Fruit flies
  • Gnats
  • Dragonflies
  • Bees and wasps
  • Stink bugs

Bugs That Are Active During The Night

The most common nocturnal insects and bugs you might find outside of your house at night are:

  • Moths
  • Kissing bugs
  • Mosquitoes
  • Beetles
  • Fireflies
  • Crickets

Solar Powered Bug Zappers Product Reviews

Best Overall Solar Bug Zapper

  • Charged via solar or USB
  • 5 hour charge time
  • 24 hour working time
  • Effective for 80 square feet
  • Turn on when you need it, off when you don’t need it
  • Sustainable and chemical free
  • 12 month warranty

What The Reviews Say: One reviewer shared that the solar powered bug zapper caught crane flies, brown beetles, moths, and mosquitoes all in the first night. The wider safety guard makes it easier for bugs to get caught in the electrified mesh. Yet, it’s small enough to make sure fingers don’t slip into the zapper. Customers found that the metal design felt sturdy and quality. They commented on how easy it is to take with them, opening up the entire yard for dinner outside.

Best Aesthetic Solar Bug Zapper

  • Beautiful tiki torch look without the hassle of refueling
  • Easy installation allows for quick set up of multiple lights around your yard
  • Stakes can be adjusted to three different heights (4ft, 3ft, 2ft)
  • Includes tabletop base
  • Flickering flame effect emulates real fire from tiki torch
  • Catch tray slides out for easy disposal of dead bugs

What The Reviews Say: Customers love they way this looks, mentioning that it looks even better in person. The most helpful review shared that they use two spaced 50 feet apart and that they definitely help with mosquitoes. A few other reviewers shared that they bought these to replace their tiki torches and that these look even better. They comment on the sturdiness and the material selection adding to the quality of the torches.

Best Garden Light Solar Bug Zapper

  • Reduce your power bill while keeping bugs out of your garden
  • Upgraded version provides higher quality design and 66% longer battery life
  • Lifetime warranty with 100% satisfaction guaranteed
  • Can be hung, staked in the ground, or placed on a table
  • Automatically turns on with ambient light sensor

What The Reviews Say: People have mentioned that you can either have the light on or a the zapper on, but not both on at the same time. However, this didn’t matter too much for customers since the zapper creates a light anyways. People like how easy it is to install and just forget about it. The insect zapper will charge and kill bugs on its own, keeping your garden bug free. As far as mosquitoes go, a customer from Florida mentioned that they saw a dramatic improvement after installing a couple of these solar zappers.

Best Camping Solar Bug Zapper

  • Can be charged via solar or through a USB charger
  • IPX4 weather proof for the toughest camping trips
  • Functions as bug zapper and lantern with 3 LED brightness settings: 60, 90, 180 lumens
  • Place, hang, or hook
  • Chemical free bug deterrent
  • Covers up to 60 square feet

What The Reviews Say: Customers say this is a game changer when they go camping. It seems to attract fruit flies and gnats into the zapper pretty easily. Similarly, one review mentioned that flies seemed to be hypnotized by the light and eventually fall in to the electrified grid. The only negative reviews were regarding the size and the first charge. Apparently, the first charge through solar takes a while, so make sure to prepare for that before your first trip. Some mention that they wish there was a bigger size, though they appreciate the compact size for packing and carrying.


I'm trying to make the world a bit greener every day, whether that's through my day job or helping others make green choices for their homes.

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