MAKE:TNT Tools 'n' Tips

Charcoal Companion Amazing Bug Zapper

by Mark Frauenfelder

As seen in MAKE 04 Toolbox

  • $10 (US, estimated)

Tool photo.

We don’t have screen doors on our house, but ever since I got the Bug Zapper, I no longer care. In fact, I like it when flies come in. The drone of a dumb horsefly bumping against lampshades is my signal to run to the broom closet and pull out the Bug Zapper, a red and yellow $10 flying insect killer that looks like toy tennis racket. By simultaneously pressing two buttons on the handle, the rows of wires strung across the head become electrified, and a red LED in the handle illuminates to confirm that the Zapper is ready to kill.

My hunting method is primitive but effective: I swing wildly in the general direction of the tiny winged vermin. The heavy, stupid flies are almost too easy to zap; I prefer the smaller, quieter flies that tease me by alighting on an armchair or counter, only to flit away in the nick of time. But no matter what kind of fly I’m after, the end game never changes — the wires touch the fly, there’s a tiny spark and a crackle, and the fly drops to the ground, inert. Haematopota pluvialis: prepare to meet thy doom.