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What is a Fly Zapper and how does it work?

Posted by Chris Voyce on

Fly zappers have long been a popular method of fly control in commercial food handling premises such as take away outlets, cafes, delis, butchers, bakeries, commercial kitchens, food manufacturing and more. In fact, the fly zapper has been around for centuries with the first fly zapper believed to have been invented by Leonardo da Vinci in 1506. The first commercially produced fly zapper was invented in 1934.

Plus Zap Fly Zapper

Fly zappers can be known by a variety of different names including bug zappers, Electric Fly Killers (EFK's) and Insect Light Traps (ILT's). They get the name from the characteristic 'zap' sound created when an insect touches the electrical grid.

Fly zappers are available in a range of different shapes and styles but all share the same basic characteristics. Fly zappers use ultraviolet tubes to attract flying insects into the unit, before 'zapping' them dead when they touch a high voltage killing grid. UV tubes attract flying insects by emitting a wavelength of light attractive to flies. The electrocuted fly then falls into a catch tray in the base of the unit.

There are four key components of fly zappers:

  • Ultraviolet Tubes - which attract the flying insects into the unit
  • Transformer - Which powers the killing grid
  • Killing Grid - Which electrocutes the fly
  • Catch Tray - Which catches the dead flies

Inside an Electric Fly Killer

Fly zappers are ideal for back of house areas such as store rooms, loading docks, garbage bin rooms and other commercial back of house areas. These units are not recommended for food handling and production areas or other sensitive areas as they can potentially pose a contamination risk. Dead flies and fly body parts can end up contaminating food if they fall from the unit or are blown from the catch tray. In these types of sensitive areas a glue board unit should be used.

Fly zappers require little maintenance after installation. The catch tray should be emptied of dead flies on a regular basis and the UV tubes should be changed annually. This is because the UV level deteriorates rapidly throughout the life of the tube. Whilst the tube may continue to glow, the amount of useful UV (which humans cannot see) drops to a level where it is no longer attractive to flying insects. As a result , UV tubes must be replaced annually to ensure they remain effective in producing useful levels of UV. This replacement cycle is typically undertaken just before the peak insect season, to ensure the fly killer is producing the maximum amount of UV throughout the critical insect season.

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