Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Who hasn't experienced it? As soon as the first warm rays of spring warm our skin, we hear and see more of them again: insects and spiders. The little creatures flutter and crawl onto terraces, balconies and inevitably into our homes.

Since many a cosy evening outdoors and indoors can be disturbed by insects, many people are looking for a quick and easy way to get rid of them. That's where insect traps come in.

In our big insect trap test 2021 we put many insect traps under the microscope and present our favourites here. Whether you want to catch them alive or don't want to get close to them out of fear and get rid of them another way, you'll find what you're looking for here.




Summary

  • Which insect trap is the right one depends above all on your desired area of application.
  • Electric insect traps score with high efficiency and low effort. While chemical insect killers can also harm our health, electric insect traps are a welcome solution.
  • When buying good electric insect traps, you should pay particular attention to fluorescent tubes, effective range, weight and mounting options. Light sources with green light and UV-A light are effective baits for moths, flies & co.

The Best Insect Trap: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an insect trap

What is a good insect trap?

A good insect trap is characterised above all by the fact that you draw the attention of annoying insects such as mosquitoes, horseflies or flies away from the target object of humans - without using chemical substances that are harmful to humans and their environment.

Electric insect traps equipped with a light source are particularly effective.

These electric light traps are available in a wide range of sizes, which makes them suitable for use in private as well as commercial operations (e.g. gastronomy).

Insect traps with chemical substances often achieve good results. But such pesticide traps are not ideal for us humans - vapours or odours often lead to headaches and irritation of the mucous membranes. (Image source: pixabay.com / fantareis)

Insecticides that are enriched with pesticides to eliminate the annoying flying objects should be used with caution. Although these toxins kill the insects, they can also be harmful to humans. Insect venom often emits vapours or odours that can cause headaches in humans.

Therefore, electric or natural insect traps are definitely preferable to pesticide traps.

A natural method to repel insects with the help of smells are scented candles. Certain essential oils help to combat the insect plague. Such candles are particularly useful for outdoor garden parties - as mood setters and insect repellents. However, it is questionable how well such insect traps work. Moreover, the essential oils can irritate the mucous membranes.

Perhaps you also know the popular travel utensil, the acoustic mosquito plug. A high-pitched sound is supposed to drive away the annoying mosquitoes. However, studies and tests on the electric mosquito repellent have shown that high-pitched tones have no effect on mosquitoes.

The reason is simple: the female mosquitoes, which are responsible for the itchy bites, have poor hearing. Thus, a mosquito plug with a high-pitched beep is probably more of a nuisance for the sleeping person than for the annoying mosquito.

How does an electric insect trap work?

Electric insect traps attract flies, moths and the like with a specific light source. Depending on the type of insect trap, the annoying flying objects are either caught by means of adhesive strips or switched off by means of an electric shock. According to various scientific studies, insects react particularly to these two light sources:

  • UV-A light
  • Green light

UV-A stands for ultraviolet radiation. Insects are attracted to this light when it has a wavelength between 350 and 370 Nm. Ultraviolet light is not visible to the human eye.

Green light, on the other hand, has a wavelength between 490 and 550 Nm. We humans can also see this light, and it also attracts insects. You can see exactly which insects these are in the following table: These insects particularly like UV light and green light:

Insect category Details
Flies house fly, small house fly, blow fly
Beetles grain capuchin, rice flour beetle, rice beetle
Cockroaches American cockroach
Moth flour moth, cocoa moth, tropical storage moth, doe fruit moth, grain moth

As you can see, the mosquito is unfortunately not listed in this overview. Mosquitoes react to light, but their reaction to body odours and carbon dioxide exhaled by humans is much stronger. The mosquito will therefore not fall into the UV insect trap as long as it smells attractive body odours.

What should I look out for in electric insect traps?

Electric insect killers that use artificial light sources to attract insects may not be used outdoors due to legal regulations.

Paragraph four of the Federal Species Protection Ordinance prohibits the "attraction, trapping and killing of specially protected animals with artificial light sources or electronic devices". The reason for this prohibition is that such UV lamps also attract and destroy useful - and also threatened - insect species.

Depending on the model - electric insect trap with or without adhesive strips - the following components must be replaced over time:

  • Fluorescent tube
  • Adhesive tape
  • Live traps
  • Quencher

As with all fluorescent tubes, the UV light loses its effect over its useful life. Although the tubes still glow green or blue, the attraction effect of the UV light is reduced within 12 months. To achieve maximum effect from the UV insect lamp, you should replace the fluorescent tube every year.

In the case of electric insect traps with adhesive strips, the adhesive strips must be renewed depending on the degree of soiling. The insects that are attracted by the light of the insect trap stick to the adhesive strip and die. If the adhesive strips are too dirty, the attracted animals can escape again and the insect trap cannot close.

Live traps have the advantage that insects can benefit birds, probably the most useful insect killers. They are often easy to use and do not require electricity or chemicals, but you will not get rid of many insects at once.

Ultrasound does not kill insects either, but can effectively keep them out of rooms such as bedrooms and living rooms, as the sound is repulsive to them and we do not even notice it. However, they have to be placed optimally and, of course, do not work through walls.

What does an insect trap cost?

Apart from the brand, it is the size of the insect trap that defines the price. The size of an insect trap indicates the effective range of the insect killer. In other words, the effective range of the UV insect lamp must be smaller in small, spatial areas than in a warehouse or restaurant.

Smaller models for the living area are already available from 6 euros, up to electric insect killers with light sensor around 20 euros. Larger models range in price from 30 to 40 euros.

What natural alternatives are there to an insect trap?

Certain plants can serve as insect deterrents and can thus be used as an alternative to an electric insect trap. Such alternatives are particularly interesting for repelling the annoying mosquito, which reacts rather reservedly to light and sound stimuli. These plants emit scents that mosquitoes do not like:

  • Scented geranium
  • Tomatoes
  • Catnip
  • Walnut tree

Natural essential oils emitted by these plants keep the pesky mosquitoes at bay. The release of these oils can also be encouraged. For example, you can rub two or three walnut leaves between your fingers. You will quickly notice that the scent intensifies.

Catnip is a natural way to keep pesky insects at bay. Beneficial insects such as bees are not driven away by these plants. Catnip, tomato perennial and walnut tree are therefore a practical insect deterrent in the garden. (Image source: pixabay.com / DanielWanke)

There are also animal insect traps that can help against an insect plague. Pond owners have a particular advantage here. Usually, water points are what really attract the little bloodsuckers.

Carp-like fish, such as goldfish or koi, seem to have a special preference for mosquito larvae. It can also help to place additional breeding boxes for birds around the pond. Mosquito larvae are also a delicacy for birds.

Mosquitoes breed in the water and look for particularly nutrient-rich places to do so. A particularly large number of nutrients accumulate in the saucers of flower pots. Our tip: Empty water residues in the saucers regularly.

Decision: What types of insect traps are there and which one is right for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between two different basic types of electric insect traps:

  • Insect trap with electric grid
  • Insect trap with adhesive foil

Both types of electric insect traps offer different advantages as well as disadvantages, which are mainly determined by the place of use. Depending on the size of the effective area and the possible energy supply, you should prefer insect traps with electric grids to insect traps with adhesive foil. In the following, we will compare the two types and show you which insect trap is best for you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an electric insect trap with a mesh screen?

This electric insect trap consists of three important components.

  1. UV light tube
  2. Power grid
  3. Insect trap

As you already know, certain insects react positively to UV light sources. Therefore, such a fluorescent tube also serves as the primary attractant in this insect trap.

Insects that then follow the light are guided through a grid that is electrified. When they touch the grid, the target object is energised and thus also switched off. The collecting tray now serves as a receptacle for the lifeless insects.

After some time, this collection tray can then be conveniently emptied. This ensures hygienic disposal. Good to know: the current grid is also surrounded by a cover. This prevents you from unintentionally touching the energised grid.

Advantages
  • No chemicals
  • Insects are immediately eliminated
  • Continuous operation possible
  • No risk of electric shock for humans
  • Hygienic disposal
Disadvantages
  • Whirring noise from electricity grid
  • Annual replacement of light source
  • Ineffective on mosquitoes

In contrast to natural insect traps, such as scented candles, the electric insect trap can run for several hours. Little effort with great effect on annoying flies, moths and beetles.

What are the characteristics of an electric insect trap with adhesive foil and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

This electric insect trap consists of two important components.

  1. UV light tube
  2. Adhesive foil

As with the electric insect trap with electric grid, this insect trap also uses a fluorescent tube as an attractant. However, insects are not combated by means of electric shock, but they stick to the adhesive foil of the insect trap.

The adhesive foil should be checked regularly. If there are already a lot of insects stuck to the foil, it must be replaced. With a little skill, this can be done quite quickly and easily.

It is generally advisable to replace the adhesive foil if it has been attached to the insect trap for a long time. Over time and especially in hot places, the adhesive can dry out over a longer period of time. This could cause insects to escape from the trap again.

Advantages
  • Hygienic insect trap
  • No chemicals
  • Low energy consumption
  • Continuous operation possible
Disadvantages
  • Replacement of adhesive foil required
  • Annual renewal of light source
  • Ineffective against mosquitoes

In contrast to the insect trap with electricity grid, the insect lamp with adhesive foil is more hygienic: the attracted insects stick to the foil and can thus be easily disposed of. A lot of lifeless insects collect in the catch tray.

A knock on the catch tray (e.g. by wind) could disperse the lifeless flying objects in the surrounding area - particularly annoying if there is food or open dishes nearby.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate insect traps

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate electric insect traps. This will make it easier for you to decide whether an electric insect killer is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:

  • Light tube
  • Effective range
  • Weight
  • Fixing possibility

In the following sections, we will show you what is important for the individual criteria.

Light tubes

The light tube of the insect lamp is the heart of the insect lure. You should therefore pay particular attention to these two criteria:

  1. Colour of light source
  2. Number of light tubes

You probably know insect traps with blue or green light. Research has shown that green light attracts moths and co. Therefore, you should make sure that the insect lamp shines green. Of course, the amount of UV-A light is also important.

UV-A light is consumed over time. Insect traps with green light still have a small attracting effect even when the UV-A light is used up. Blue light, on the other hand, no longer has an attracting effect when the UV light has been used up.

A good insect killer should be equipped with at least two light tubes. On the one hand, more light sources achieve a stronger attraction. On the other hand, in the case of a defective light tube, you are not completely exposed to the annoying flies: the second, intact light tube still attracts insects.

Important facts about the light tube:

Recommended colour Duration of effective UV radiation Ideal replacement time for the light tubes
Green light with UV-A light 5,000-8,000 hours March/April

Area of effect

The effective range describes the size of the area over which the insect trap can work effectively. Before buying an insect killer, you should therefore already know where you want to use it. For private rooms such as bedrooms and living rooms, the desired range of action is

Did you know that in some cities it is compulsory to report to the property manager if you find a cockroach in your rented flat? A cockroach rarely comes alone. Therefore, it is possible that not only your flat is infested, but the entire building. Professional control is therefore necessary.

The effective area is usually between 12 and 18 m². In larger rooms such as industrial kitchens, the effective area should also be correspondingly high. Popular areas of use are also spacious areas such as entrance areas or hotel lobbies. Here, the effective area should be around 100m².

Probably the most natural insect trap in the world - even if the effective range is comparatively small compared to the technical ones. (Image source: pexels.com / AxxLC)

Weight

It is also important to consider the weight of the insect trap. If several light tubes are installed, the device will be correspondingly heavier. In addition, the material used must be taken into account.

Cheaper models often use plastic housings, which are less robust. Small insect traps made of plastic weigh between 2-4 kg. Good insect traps that should last for several years should at least be equipped with a metal housing.

This increases the weight to 5-6 kg. Especially for devices used in the commercial sector - such as food storage - a weight of over 10 kg per insect trap is to be expected.

Important: UV light can negatively affect plastics - the material can discolour and become brittle. Since the fluorescent tube in electric insect traps contains a certain amount of UV-A light, direct contact of plastic materials with the UV light should be avoided.

Fastening options

An important question that you should not neglect when buying an insect trap: Where should the insect trap be placed? It is best to think about where you want to place the insect trap before you buy it. Perhaps the insect trap should not be the first eye-catcher on the table when you go into your kitchen.

It might be a good idea to mount it on the wall - it saves space and is more inconspicuous than a stand-alone trap. However, keep in mind that an electric insect trap requires a power source. Therefore, make sure that there is a mains plug nearby to activate the light trap.

Don't forget that, depending on the model, you should empty or replace the collection tray or adhesive foil. Therefore, only install your insect trap in places where you can do this quickly and without much effort.

Facts worth knowing about insect traps

Why should I use an insect trap?

Flies and mosquitoes are not only annoying when they bite, but also because they are among the biggest carriers of germs.

Flies are not only a nuisance, they are also dangerous carriers of disease. Flies transfer bacteria to other foods particularly easily. A fly trap is therefore very useful. (Image source: pexels.com / Thierry Fillieul)

Although a fly weighs only one milligram, it can carry up to 5 million germs. Before the fly ingests food, it has to vomit it up so that the food is decomposed.

Did you know that on average, there are about 100 different types of insects in every household?

According to a study by the North California State University, flies, beetles, spiders and ants are the most common.

No question - an absolute breeding ground for bacteria. Flies can transmit diseases such as salmonella, dysentery and typhoid fever. Because of this potential for dangerous contamination, you naturally want to keep such insects away from food and from your own body.

Where should I place an insect trap?

Only a correctly placed insect trap can also lead to the desired result! Electric insect traps achieve the greatest success when they are placed at head height. However, an insect trap should be installed at a maximum height of 2.5 m from the ground. Be sure to consider the air circulation in your premises before mounting the insect trap.

If an insect killer is mounted in the air flow, this often leads to poor and unsatisfactory results. According to our experience, it is best to mount the device at a 90 degree angle to other light sources such as windows and entrances.

How can I build an insect trap myself?

An electric insect killer is very effective, but must not be used outdoors. In addition, the light trap does not snap shut on mosquitoes. There are alternatives how you can build your own insect trap or how you can protect yourself from such insects. An easy way to make your own insect trap outdoors is to use sugar mixtures.

Take a small container and fill it with sugar water or fruit juice. The sweet smell attracts wasps in particular and can help you to enjoy your garden parties in a relaxed way. Many insects detest the smell of tea tree oil.

Again, you can do it yourself: mix 3 to 5 drops of tea tree oil with some water in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to your skin and place a water bowl with tea tree oil on the table to deter flying insects.

Image source: 123rf.com / tunedin123

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