Give Now  »

Noon Edition

Revenge of the Exploding Bugs

Flies seem to be a common problem at picnics. They're constantly buzzing and landing on all the home cooked food.  Who know what kinds of germs they carry? Many of you probably use a flyswatter to kill this bacteria infested bug. But a few of you may use a bug zapper. While zapping flies may be a bit more thrilling than swatting away, the zapper may not be as effective as one might think.

You see, flies are attracted by the light in your bug zapper, where they touch this electrified grid and explode. A recent study of bugs and bug zappers has shown that while there's enough electrical energy here to zap the fly, there's not enough to harm any germs the fly might be carrying. What do you think happens to all those germs?

They are blasted out in all directions from the exploding fly, drifting through the air and landing on your homemade recipes. Researchers suggest that bug zappers are not very effective anyway; if you must use a bug zapper around your picnic, keep it away from the food!

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science