Free Newsletter! • Fast HSW • Suggestions! • About HSW • Contact Us • Home
 Daily Stuff • Top 40 • What's New • HSW Store • Forums • Advertise! • Affiliate
    
  
Supercategories!
 Automotive
 Body & Health
 Computers
 Cool Stuff
 Electronics
 Engines
 Home
 Internet
 Entertainment
 Money
 Science & Tech
 Society & Culture
 Toys & Games
 Transportation
 Weapons

Get Stuff!
Question of the Day
››Tell a friend about this question!

Each weekday, the HowStuffWorks Staff answers questions in the Question of the Day section of HowStuffWorks. The Question Archive lets you view hundreds of questions and answers. Click here to ask a question. Here is today's question!

Question 

I've heard that bug zappers can actually help transmit diseases -- how does that happen? Once the mosquito dies, how can a disease it was carrying be transmitted?

Answer


According to recent research, it is true that bug zappers can end up transmitting the diseases carried by the insects they zap.

Two Kansas State University researchers, James Urban and Alberto Bruce, carried out a study of this effect. They contaminated house flies with bacteria or viruses either externally (by way of an aerosol spray) or internally (by feeding them sucrose solutions containing the bacteria or virus). They then released the flies into a chamber where a bug zapper was mounted and sampled the air at various distances from device.

What they found was that the air around the bug zapper was contaminated with bacteria and virus particles from the electrocuted flies (externally-contaminated flies released more bacteria and virus particles than internally-contaminated flies). Other research has shown that bug zappers can spread a mist containing insect parts up to about 7 feet (2 m) from the device. Urban and Bruce concluded that bug zappers pose a health risk because of the release of bacteria, viruses and potential allergens (insect parts) into the surrounding air.

Therefore, if you plan to use a bug zapper at your next picnic or barbecue, it is probably wise to place it at least 12 feet (3.6 m) away from areas where food is prepared or eaten and where children play.

Here are some interesting links:

 
<< Prev Question    Next Question >>

  HSW Home

 

How did you like today's question?
Fantastic - I will recommend it to others
Very good - I learned a lot
OK
Not so hot - I didn't get much out of it
Bad - this did nothing for me

Do you have any comments?


Sponsored By:
Stuffatorium

Join HSW! |  Newsletter |  Suggestions |  Link to HSW |  Hiring |  Store
About Us |  Contact Us |  Privacy |  Home |  Frequently Asked Questions
Fast HSW |  Advertising |  Affiliate

Copyright © 1998-2003 Howstuffworks, Inc. All rights reserved