Are Bug Zappers Fire Hazards?

Any electrical appliance or tool is potentially dangerous as a source of an electrical fire, but are bug zappers fire hazards? These popular little bird feeder-looking units are really not much more of a fire hazard than other electrical devices. Most all legitimate units are UL Tested just like the rest of the electrical products found in most homes from washer/dryers to lamps to radio alarm clocks. However, as with most outdoor electrical products, care must be taken to prevent electrical cords from becoming overly wet or frayed.

They work by luring bugs usually with fluorescent or ultra-violet light, and then zapping them with an electrical current. The electrical current is transformed from the standard 120 volts into a 2,000-volt bug-killing machine. This degree of voltage literally explodes the bugs, preventing an accumulation of dead bug carcasses at the bottom of the zapper (which can become a fire hazard), but it's not enough to set fire to other flammable items usually found outdoors.

There is concern, however, that bug zappers may be counter productive. Rather than killing those pesky mosquitoes, zappers usually wind up killing harmless bugs that can be helpful in an outdoor area. Secondly, mosquitoes less attracted to UV light than they are to the carbon dioxide emitted by humans.

So if you get a zapper, you’ve got more to worry about than whether they're a fire hazard.