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2,845 of 2,928 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 24, 2009
Background you can skip
Normally I stay away from writing reviews for items that have already been throughly reviewed and compared as I can be of more help writing about the stuff no one else has tried yet. In this case, since it became such a huge unsolvable problem for us, I felt compelled to write about going 'low tech' for a change.
Here's the scoop: we moved to a new home in late 06: 4 acres, large 12,000 gallon pond, about 1 acre grass, the rest trees/wooded.
Little did we know that the previous owners had put that pond in because of the excess water in the area. The trees were virtually always, except during summer, in puddles or swamp waters. With the recent turn-to-wet climate this problem got exacerbated. Net result: swarms and swarms of mosquitoes taking over our lot. Even the UPS guy and our postie complained when they had to deliver. We had the city come out but other than once a season spraying there was no solace.
So we looked online and finally settled for what we considered the high tech solution: the Mega Catch Premier.. We bought 2 and paid heftily for those...250$ a piece. The concept was a machine that fools mosquitoes into chasing it as it presents itself to mosquito senses as a living breeding and bleeding mammal. It basically looks like a black plastic square box with some openings. In the top part of the box are colored blinking lights (led) that rotate. Aparentlhy mosquitoes see this as movement. Secondly, under those lights, there is a large computer style fan that creates downdraft...into a compartment below when you keep octenol and a bowl with sugar water and hotdog bits. (?) Kid you not.
It actually did make a dent in the population. Let us not claim it was useless, because it was not. The problem with the MC was really about maintenance, cost of maintaining and ultimately durability. Both lasted about 1.5 years before they sputtered and died. The bowls with the liquid often filled up with mosquitoes and other flying insects (millions of moths) and then dried to a hard crust. Ipso facto: clean it often!! Horrendous. Secondly, the fans would become encrusted with insect bits and ultimately jammed until you scraped them. Finally, the octenol was expensive and not easily changed (little jamming door that would make the liquids spill).
To make a long story short: super high tech concept, often claimed to be better than the even more expensive (uses propane) Mosquito magnet.
Well it was, but not for long and it was a pain to keep up with nor did we want to spend such an amount again for a half-functioning solution.

We then started to read up on websites and found the long-been-around Flowtron 80D. The smaller models did not get great ratings (albeit not half bad for dirt cheap zappers) but the BK-80D stood out. Here on Amazon it got close to an avg. of a five. Other sites, with plenty of real life desperater people in similar situations as ours, it was listed as the simpelest and most effective remedy.

About the Flowtron BK-80D
So we shelled out 2x 80$ for 2. Thanks to Prime we got them 2 days later for free (did I say I heart Amazon?).
The units are larger than you might think, and in order to show the size I added some pictures up top with my hand next to it. I am a 6ft male so you can see that these aren't small units.
The unit is not heavy but bulky and make of very sturdy plastic that apprently can handle years of UV damage. Many folks have had these uinits for 5 years plus (it seems to have been in the market since the late 90's which is proof that it is a working concept).
The 80 watt light is big and in a U shape and on the bottom you have 2 Octenol slots. You get 1 x 30 day cartridge. You do not have to use Octenol but we know it works even better with it. (you can order cheap refills online nowadays with free ship for lesst than 5$ a cartide).

The outside grills, made of plastic are horizontal but the inside electric zapper grid is vertical in orientation. More so the bottom is left relatively open apart from the Octenol slots. This is VERY important, as other devices clog up. This one: you will collecvt a heap of insect parts below it. Much easier to clean.

That else is there to say: the electric cord is about 6 inches so you need to connect it to a longer outdoor extension cable to have any type of reach. The unit has a big ring so you can hang it on a planter pole or anywhere else.

Some important tips from others that do work
We read the manual and had picked up some good pointers online: do not hang these within 20 to 25 ft from where you want to sit! Effectively this thing attracts mosquitoes and other flying mini-bloodsuckers and unless you enjoy the pain (...) you would not want to sit in a cloud of those. As one (funny!!) reviewer commented: "Capt'n, the thing does not work, it actually attracted mosquitoes and I could not sit outside anymore". This person had put the Flowtron right next to their chair. Really: 25 ft or so is perfect: one of them, this morning, had at least 300 mosquitoes hanging around on the siding, staying close to the unit taking their mid day nap. At night, sunset, they become active and the zapping kicks into hight gear.

Tip #2: fo look at the source of the mosquitoes and strategically place these. Even though it cover 1.5 acres a piece, you can get more out of it placing it close to the source of the evil. DO NOT place it where it does not stand out, ie. do not choose to hide it out of sight, place it where you need it.

#3: Determine when mosquito-twilight starts. Ours starts at 7pm and lasts until about 7 AM when they disappear to the swamps. To save electricity, the bulbs and cleaning: but a timer or a dusk-til-dawn photocell timer for 5$ and add those.

#4: use the octenol. It does help. You can buy it cheap nowadays. What is 5$ for 40 days of mosquito-slaughtering. Revenge is priceless I'd say.

#5: Hang it between 4 and 6ft from the ground, not too close to a wall. Seems most effective,others noted, we tried and saw interesting pickup in bodyparts.

Other comments:
We, at first, thought we were duped. We hubg the Flowtrons at about 5PM and the occassional zap, one every minute or so, occurred. At that rate we'd never be able to get a habitable patio/outdoors.
But BEHOLD: around 7.30 PM to 8 in the evening when the sun heat started to recede, the party began... it became a NON-STOP zapping. I literally mean 1 or 2 a second. At it lasted all night. The kids even complained that the thing kept them up all night (had one right outside their window which was open, but with bugscreen;)) . We ran out after day 1 and there was a gray circle below the Flowtron on the ground. Just insect parts. So many it was gross.
This thing killed more mosquitoes in one night than the MegaCatch did in a week I am estimating.
After 2 (!!!) nights we experienced a significant decline in attacks and give or take a week or 2 more we will be able to stay outside without the bugsprays, citronella torches, long sleeves... what a relief!!

We are truly grateful we tried Low tech! For once.

Need we say more? See above (my fingers hurt from typing.) Hope the pictures do it justice.
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422 of 448 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2009
Recieved this device (15 watt Flowtron), along with the spare bulb I purchased, and plugged it in 30 minutes ago about eight feet from my favorite couch.

It has already zapped well over a dozen bugs. Instead of using chemicals as I have in the past, sought a better way to rid my home interior of bugs. The noise is minimal.

Like one reviewer said: the cord is short- real short. Less than a foot. It's working beautifully. Now, just need to replace my roach baits and I'll be ready for the summer bug season here in my sub tropical, coastal, bug infested location.

Will likely need to fabricate a tray device to catch dead bugs as they fall. Think I'm gonna like this thing.

Update: It has now been five days since I received my 15 watt Flowtron bug zapper and I'm happy with it. It has been on 24/7 since I plugged it in. It's not terribly bright which makes for a soft night light for my den. As I kicked back with my laptop tonight and listened to a bug fry every now and then, just ordered two more 40 watt Flowtron units. Hope to have a very bug free summer in my home.

Be advised that these things do not discriminate between benificial bugs that we need for pollination of plants and such. Therefore, there is valid scientific criticism regarding their indiscriminate outdoor useage. Any bug inside my home is fair game. It did not zap every last bug but it has put a big dent in my bug population. My cats don't quite know what to think of it yet.

Update #2: Before buying my first Flowtron, sought information to help me decide what size unit to buy. Have now tried out a 40 watt model in my home. It works well, is significantly larger than my 15 watt unit and the transformer hum is a little bit louder. The bulb in the 40 watt Flotron cost twice as much to replace. Leave the 15 watt unit on 24/7 inside. It works well and uses less power. The 40 watt units are brighter and would be my choice for serious outdoor useage. Will use both of the 40 watt units if needed and turn them off when I go indoors. Inside, just can't see much advantage of using the larger 40 watt unit size.

Now, leave my door open longer when going to and fro knowing the 15 watt bug zapper is always at work inside. It's popping a bug every few minutes or so tonight. Should be able to use significantly less insecticide in my home now.

They do not zap every bug but work quite well. Only notice the 15 watt model eight feet from me when a bug gets zapped. Flowtron seems to make a solid, well thought out American made bug zapper and stand behind them.

June 25 2009: My 15 watt bug zapper has been on nonstop since I first plugged it in over a month ago. It has been frying bugs in my house day and night trouble free. Have not cleaned it yet. One of my cats runs and hides sometime when a big bug makes more noise than usual. If and when this one quits, will get another 15 watt model for my home interior. It does not zap them all but sure helps a lot.

July 29 2009: A house fly was bugging me bad in my home the night before last. Knew that if I was patient, the annoying little bug would find his way to my 15 watt flowtron at some point just like many before him. Sure enough, as I went to sleep, he fried- well done. Have used very little insecticide this summer in my home with this thing working 24/7 nonstop and consuming only 15 watts of electricity. Wish I had thought of using one of these things sooner. My jumpy male cat has gotten more use to it now. Would go with a 40 or 80 watt model for heavy duty outdoor use at night. The 15 watt size is perfect for my indoor purposes. Still haven't cleaned it. It's right trouble free. There is a bit of an odor when a house fly or large bug gets zapped. That's no problem relative to getting rid of the bugs.

April 8, 2010 : Since this makes a good night light, left it on all winter. Have not turned it off since I first plugged it in. It just zapped one of those large, lanky, mosquito looking type bugs. Was wondering how long it would take for him to get fried (about an hour since I first saw him). Have not needed the spare 15 watt bulb yet. With ten boxes of fresh new roach baits, am ready for bug season again. May mount one of my 40 watt Flowtron units inside this Summer if needed.

August 6, 2010: It's time to deal with hurricanes, bugs and heat now. My trusty 15 watt Flowtron is busy tonight for I have little nats and other flying bugs in my house. That same 15 watt unit has been on nonstop since I first plugged it in- same bulb with no problems. Just needs some cleaning up now and then. At less than $30 currently with shipping, think I'll buy another 15 watt unit to put in the other end of my home. Need to step up my roach battle also. Have four tubes of roach gel. It's impossible to keep them out around here. Like living near the ocean even with the bugs. Before I got this device, used insecticide (flying insect killer) every second or third day during the tropical season. Now, have not gassed my whole house like I use to do yet this summer. Surely that is healthier than the chemicals I used before. It keeps the bugs under control- they don't bother me with this device in service 24/7. Just use common sense if you intend to use it indoors. Keep it away from all flammable things. It's an electrical device that'll have dead bugs falling from it. It is always possible that the device can catch on fire. So use good sense and understand the potential hazards it can present wherever you use it. Have mine on power strips such that I can easily switch them off when I leave the house if I wish to do so.

May 10, 2011: Ordered two 18" round pizza pans to suspend below my indoor units in order to catch most of the zapped bugs as they fall. Some black coat hanger wire and a drill should do the trick. Have not had my bug zappers on yet and I can really tell the difference inside already. Bought six cans of Raid insecticide for the summer. A roach actually bit me on my right arm tonight. He's high on Raid now. Wish I could find something like this Flowtron device to help zap the big roaches as they somehow find a way inside. It takes time for them to find the roach baits that are all over the home where food and water are available. There's no way to keep them out around here.

April 15, 2012: Have had one of my 40 watt bug zappers on indoors for a week now as Summer approaches. These were money well spent for me. A screw in Levitron socket to outlet adapter available from Amazon or a hardware store will allow one to plug these units into a standard light bulb socket on an overhead light fixture or wherever. There is something sadistically satisfying about hearing a bug get fried now and then as I write this :)

2013: Harris boric acid tablets have got to be the best thing I've ever used on roaches. Put them out last Summer and in 30 days, no more roaches. They eat them like candy. Simple, safe/natural and cheap. No hazardous chemicals.
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762 of 822 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2000
There are several different versions of this product, each one for increasingly large areas. This one--the smallest--is good for up to half an acre of protection. It's the perfect size for a large patio or deck and a modest lawn. Some may not like the zapping sound interrupting their nighttime outdoor fun, but it is probably the most environmentally-sensitive way to rid your lawn and patio of bugs. The 15 watts of power needed to run this machine also make it one of the cheapest bug eliminators.
One of the great things about this model is unheralded in the list of features Amazon gives. With the addition of an (included) strip of UV-activated bait, it's positively lethal against mosquitos. We've found it to be much more effective than citronella torches.
About the only thing that mars this otherwise excellent device is the need to place it in front of the area you mean to protect. This would typically mean placing it away from a house, not next to it. Depending on your particular site, this can mean using extension cords, which come with their own set of safety issues. Happily, however, this is an extremely energy-efficient device, so it's definitely not going to break your electricity budget.
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761 of 835 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2006
Pros- With mosquito lure, killed lotsa bad insects- BUT!
Cons- Their electric wire grid uses square wires that QUICKLY clog up. Pretty soon it was packed solid & killing nothing!
I had to keep blowing it out ( air compressor) every couple of
days- HASSLE!

Flowtron BK-80D (took the wimpy 40w back!)-
NOTE!- Spray electrical grid bars with PAM when new for easier cleaning later, but be SURE & remove bulbs FIRST or they will crack.
-I tried Carefully spraying Just the bars with water, and ruined the unit (saved the old bulbs)!

Pros- Killed lots more bugs, because it NEVER clogs up! The electric rods are straight up/down, so no cross wires to catch falling insects & clog. Dead insects fall out the bottom- Blow clean once a month.
Forget the pricy attractant! My Flowtron 80w kills mosquitos!- Hundreds of dead ones underneath! My Flowtron 15w didn't do much, but 40w was pretty good (much cheaper bulbs)!
My theory!- Mosquitos are attracted to the heat that is generated when moths... are zapped!
I've watched the mosquitos come as moths are being zapped!- Love the zapping noise (not that loud)!

Cons- The only con is that the outer protective plastic cage HAD bars only about 1/2" apart (same with Stinger)- This kept larger moths... from being able to easily get in to the electric grid.
I used a large wire cutter, to cut out every 3d bar, on top 2/3ds of cage. Alternating..., so cut bar was in the middle of two solid bars on adajacent side- Still rigid!

I put it on an outside timer (for when evenings cool down- Not much insect activity below 55 degrees...). Adjust accordingly.

Never hang it near a door, as their is always a 10'+ swarm of insects around it.

Try to hang it over head high, in a DRY (electric) area.

Removing the bulbs to clean them WILL cause the socket contacts to fail!- I never did figire out how to thoroughly clean the bulbs (High psi compressor helps, and IS a must!- Vacuum cleaner is too wimpy!)!?
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221 of 239 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2009
Flowtron Model BK-40D Electronic Insect Killer (One Acre Coverage)

There are 3 things one needs to look for in a bug zapper, not two. Bulb life is one.
The Flowtron BK-40D I got from Amazon worked fine for about 5 months of continuous service. The starter and bulb both went out at that time. I had only owned it for 10 months and put into service in the spring. (bought 12/08, put out 3/09, bulb failed 8/09.
Flowtron customer service said the bulbs are not warranted. They have an expected continuous life of about 5 months, in my experience.
Flowtron is only marginally better than the Stinger (Stinger bulbs are rated for 1200 hours, or 40-50 days. But Stinger will replace the unit if there is a grid failure.
Both bulb replacements are $20-30, almost the cost of a new unit.
I have not found a good zapper yet, these days.

I suppose both companies are making their profits on new bulbs, sorta like the old Polaroid cameras.

I have junked both brands and am looking for a better one.


UPDATE (December 09)... Flowtron DID send a replacement Zapper,... a couple of months after I returned the faulty product (bad bulb) at my expense ($13). We will see. No bugs now, so is turned off.. Terry

UPDATE (May 2010).. My New Flowtron was put back out on March 15, 2010. It died today, May 17, 2010. Bulb went out. (you can tell by the black burnt area, like flourescent bulbs). 2 months service on a $40 product is not acceptible usage for me.
Bad product.
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159 of 174 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2001
The last one I had was 40 watts and while it was pretty effective, this summer's Louisiana mosquitos seemed a little more reluctant to die by uV. However, this 80 watt light has been a bit hit, attracting the little blood suckers by a pound, and virtually clearing my 1.75 acres.
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352 of 393 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2009
The box states that the unit has a patented non-clogging grid, but it does clog - a lot in my case. It does require maintenance, and besides that, I still get bit by mosquitoes (though not as often as before). I actually got bit in the few minutes I was outside making the video!

Some reviewers said they used a hair dryer to clean it, but I think it would take more pressure than that to clean mine. I might have to use canned air or something else. I recommend the unit because it does help, but just realize that you will have to clean it just like the Stinger brand zappers.

UPDATE: I used the water hose to clean it off, which made easy work of those clogged bugs. I waited 24 hours (to be on the safe side) before plugging it back in. It lit up without a hitch. It's like new and working as it had right out of the box.

UPDATE (Aug 2010): The unit is no longer clogging! I guess once the metal loses it's shiny new-ness, the bugs don't stick. I haven't had to clean the unit at all since I plugged it in this fall. I seem to have fewer mosquito bites this year, but I'm definitely not sure whether that is related to the point at which I began using it this year (versus being a bit "late" in buying one last year).
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90 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2011
BUYER BEWARE: It appears Flowtron currently has quality issues with the starter bulb that starts the fluorescent tube in the most recent units. Bought three of these from two different sources in March 2011, one source being Amazon. Within one week, one unit from Amazon and one from another source had quit working, leaving only one of three working after a week. The bulb simply stops lighting and that causes the grid to not energize too, rendering the zapper useless. The third went in about 4 more weeks so after a month and a half, my small sample of three has a 100% failure rate. Flowtron sent me some starter bulbs (a $2.50 part) and that DID fix the problem. I'm hoping that the fix will last as replacing the starter bulbs on a new unit is a nuisance and some people might not be comfortable with the repair. When these work though, they attract/kill more bugs (and many mosquitoes) than any other electronic insect killer I've used. And I've tried three different brands.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2008
I am graphic designer. I have international customers so this means I work days and nights very frequently. And because of the difference in our GMT I use to work at nights more than ever.

Between me and my 28" monitor screen -which produces a lot of light- used to fly hundred of termites. These bugs are attracted by the light, and I don't know how but they always found the way to violate the security of my sealed window to come inside my room and "dance" in front of my face!. I just can't find the words to express how annoying this situation was!

Since I have my Flowtron this situation became a bad memory of the past!!!!

This lamp is gorgeous, I must say! I installed it just right out of my window, so the termites are attracted FIRST by the Flowtron light BEFORE the light on my room. So now the only thing I hear is the happy sound "BZZZ" when the bugs find their end into this glorious lamp.

Btw that "BZZZ" sound does not disturb me at all. Even I love when it sounds because it (first) confirms me the Flowtron is working in a perfect shape, and (second) makes me smile every time it sounds because it means I WON my fight against those little bastards!!!

Here, while I write this review, I could count more than 100 "BZZZ". That means 100 termites LESS who didn't come inside!

I installed a switch inside my room which controls the on/off of my Flowtron, so even I don't need to go out to my backyard to turn on my Flowtron, I control all the operation from the inside! Very convenient! (Note: the switch is NOT included in the Flowtron box. This is a custom installation I did myself).

I got the ½ acre coverage; my backyard is much smaller than that and this thing works perfect.

The construction of the lamp is very decent; even it looks great as if it were part of the deco in my backyard.

I bought also a replacement bulb (in advance) because when the actual one goes out I don't want to find myself unprotected!!! Since I got my Flowtron just 15 days ago I can't testify how long the bulb lasts, but honestly I don't care!; if this thing works as it has demonstrated I'll be happy to buy more future replacements, even if this come to happen in short periods!

In conclusion, this is the BEST solution I've found to solve my problem. This Flowtron bugs killer works FANTASTIC!

To end my review, I want to share with you that I have a lovely population of salamanders (small lizard) in my backyard. They are my allied because these little guys use to hunt termites. They just don't eat enough to solve my problem, but they eat termites anyway. Now with my Flowtron I've found the salamanders in the floor eating termites happily (where the termites fall after shock). Yes sir!, "roasted" termites for my friends the salamanders in my own Roasted Termite Restaurant! :-)

Thanks for reading, Juan
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188 of 209 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2007
I ordered the Flowtron BK-80D bug zapper after having used a different, smaller model, which was also made by Flowtron (model BK-7). The BK-7 model worked okay, but quickly clogged up with bugs (pretty much each night). After about a week of this, it shorted out so badly that it melted a hole in the plastic part which held the wires apart. That was the end of that. The BK-7 model used a series of round wires that go horizontally, but this tended to trap the bugs. Even with constant cleaning, it was always giving me problems.

After it went out, I decided to give Flowtron one last shot. I saw the model BK-80 on and ordered it after reading the reviews. I have installed the unit on the corner of my house and it works amazingly well!

I put the zapper on an outdoor timer, which turns the unit on around 7 pm in the evening and then off automatically around 8 am when the sun comes up. This works great! The timer I used was the Intermatic model HB31R (sold on Amazon and at local building stores). It's a very simple little timer with a nice cover to keep the weather out. I ran the power cords with a "J" loop in them, so any rain water would drip off the bottom of the "J" and not get into the socket.

Anyway, the timer is very simple to use and makes a great additon to the Flowtron. The Flowtron BK-80D is well made and straight forward. On my unit (as I had done with the previous BK-7 model and as mentioned by another reviewer), I took some pruning sheers and cut out every other plastic slat in order to allow easier cleaning and so that larger bugs can get in more quickly.

The unit gives off a lot of light and is able to attract bugs from both the first level and 2nd level of my house (I have it mounted above the 2nd story deck on the corner). It draws all of the moths that used to hang out on our windows - from as far away as about 30 or 40 feet. One zap and they are toast. The design of the BK-80D is much better than other models I have seen. The vertical rods are well made and allow the bugs to slide down and fall out of the unit after they are killed. Not all bugs fall out, but I would say about 95% or so do fall out of their own accord. By morning time, the wind has also helped blow some of the rest out of the unit and they have fallen on the deck.

Interestingly enough, where I live, yellowjackets have figured out that any bugs stuck in the rods are a free lunch - and since my unit goes off at dawn via the timer, the yellowjackets can get in there and remove any stuck moth bodies without being zapped in the afternoon. It's a great deal for me, since it saves a little clean up. I have actually seen the yellowjackets wiggle the stuck insect bodies until they come loose from the rods, then they fly off with them! It also seems like they clean up the ones that have fallen on the deck, although that may be birds stopping by in the morning and/or the wind blowing them off the side of the deck. I'm not sure. Whatever the case, the unit requires almost zero cleaning and doesn't clog up hardly at all.

While this unit is a little more pricey than some, the extra few bucks are well worth it. The gold ring at the top (used to hang the unit) is sort of poorly designed, but it's easy to replace with a little work if you want (mine had a big gap in it - almost enough to allow the ring to come off the mounting point, which I didn't like. However, this may actually be there to help taking the unit on and off a hook or something). In my case, I simply cut the ring off with some bolt cutters and put a smaller stainless steel split ring in its place. Most people probably wouldn't mind the standard gold ring that comes with the unit, but I am very picky :-)

Note that you will need to purchase an extension cord to use this unit. The cord that comes out of the unit is only about 6 inches in length. It's not long enough to reach anything. I bought a 12 foot extension cord and ran it along the house and over to the Intermatic timer. Then the timer plugs into any standard outdoor outlet.

Since using the unit, there have been almost zero moths bugging us. I live out in the forest, so there is no shortage of bugs flying around here. Even with other lights on, the bugs seem to favor the Flowtron. The unit does make noise when the bugs are zapped (as all units do), but since the bugs routinely fall away from the zapping rods pretty quickly (much better than with other units), it's only a short zap. Once in a while there will be a longer zap, but not too often. At the rate this unit kills bugs, I think I may make a dent in the bug population around here - which is fine with me.

The unit has two bulbs that are easy to replace. Each one is held into place with a plastic clip-in cup sort of affair. This cup also doubles as the holder for the MA-1000 Octenol attractant cartridges, although I have yet to use those. The unit does come with one sample cartridge so you can try it. The instructions say the light heats up the cartridge and then it gives off its scent to attract mosquitos. Like I say, I haven't had a chance to try it; it seems to work fine without it.

All in all, a top notch design; makes life a lot nicer without having to constantly fight moths and flying bugs. I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better bug zapper for the home/yard.
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