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Flowtron BK-15D Electronic Insect Killer, 1/2 Acre Coverage
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- Advanced electronic insect control; non clogging killing grid; 1/2-acre killing radius, requires plug.
- Recommended not to be used within 25-feet of area intended for human activity, should not be attached to house or deck or other structures
- Instantaneous operation, continuous and uninterrupted service, Uses a 15-watt bulb.
- For best results replace the cartridge every 30 days, Please refer User manual for troubleshooting and its corrections
- Recommended for areas up to 1/2 acre - Outdoor Use Only
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From the manufacturer
Flowtron Electronic Insect Killer
Attracts and Kills Flying Insect Pests
Rid your outdoor living areas of flying insect pests - without harming the environment! Insect remains, uncontaminated by pesticides, fall to the ground to be naturally reabsorbed into the ecosystem. Maintenance free operation features UV light and an electrified grid that eliminates thousands of flying pests for just pennies a day. The decorative lantern even doubles as security lighting! Add optional Octenol attractant for improved effectiveness.
Effective, Nature Friendly, Maintenance Free
- UL and CSA listed.
- Assembled unit size: 8-1/2"L x 8-1/2"W x 13-1/2"H
- Carton size: 9-1/4"L x 9-1/4"W x 13"H
- Shipping weight: 5 lbs.
- Patented, high efficiency, non-clogging killing grid.
- Killing grid powered by high voltage transformer.
- One 15 watt high intensity ultraviolet, (black light), bulb BF-35.
- USDA tested Octenol attractant, a proven mosquito lure - free 30 day cartridge.
- Rugged, weatherproof polycarbonate construction; will not rust, crack or fade.
- Easy bulb replacement - no tools required.
- Avoids the continuing expense and inconvenience of chemical insecticides.
- Operates for pennies a day.
- Two-year limited warranty.
Electronic Insect Killer 15-watts: 1/2 Acre Radius
Flowtron's lantern-style insect killer uses nontoxic ultraviolet light to eliminate mosquitoes, biting flies, and other insects over a 1/2-acre area. The insect killer is cleaner and safer than its chemical counterparts, and its patented nonclogging killing grid eliminates the grid clogging that can short-circuit the unit or cause flare-ups of insect remains. The insect killer features high-impact construction and a protective outer enclosure to prevent children, pets, birds, or wildlife from contacting the charged grid.
Top customer reviews
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First I'll include information about THIS product - skip to the end to read other options I considered and why this product was a winner. I know it's not directly a review of this product, but sometimes one item is the best because of limitations or shortcomings with other solutions. I felt it important to outline those as I spent a lot of time collecting and analyzing the data - maybe it will save someone else from spending their time on it.
Opening the box, the product was very simple and fully assembled - bulbs installed and all, which was great. You get exactly what you see in the pictures - the unit with a metal hanging loop up top, plus some documentation. Take time to read the instructions - what I've found from all my research is that catching or killing mosquitoes has a fair number of subtle tricks - so don't just run a cord, plug this thing in, and expect magic. Height above the ground, location relative to the common wind patters, locating it in front of or behind something that blocks the wind, visibility (the bugs gotta SEE the light to be attracted to it!) and more are all factors you should learn about. Some are in the manual, but lots more information is online.
And PLEASE - do NOT hang this right next to where you want to sit and enjoy your outdoor space. This unit ATTRACTS pests - and kills them. But there is a small time gap between when the pests show up and when they die. If you put this unit too close to your enjoyment areas, you'll actually have MORE bugs. I am amazed by all the bad reviews I see about devices that attract pests because the owner had not thought about how something like this actually works, nor had they read or followed the instructions. You need this unit close enough to your enjoyment area to reduce the local population of pests, but far enough away so it is drawing bugs AWAY from you and not TOWARDS you. </rant> :)
You'll need some way to hang this thing as it doesn't have any feet, the bait cup is on the bottom, and you'll just end up with a pile of bugs ruining your zapper if you don't hang it up lol! I just went down to my local home improvement store where they had several options - check out the garden section for hanging plants and those are good options. I found tall metal rods that stick in the ground like a stake and have a loop and hook at the top - great if you want the unit freestanding and want to move it around easily. I bought a simple 12-15 inch long hanging basket bracket - it screws to a fence or your house or anything else and works as you might imagine. No big deal there...
Also - the bottom of the black outer cage is not flat on the bottom so it's not stable standing upright. I think they should have done a tiny bit better with that as the bait holders are what makes it unstable. A tiny adjustment to the mold for the plastic outer grid would fix that. But that's a VERY minor issue as it's only like that while you work with it. Do be careful though - if you drop it hard on the base you might break the small plastic tabs that hold the bait cups in - they are also the bulb retainers so they ARE important even if you don't use baits.
And on the topic of lures,baits, and attractants - all names for the same things - this unit comes with one small octenol lure - I think just a 400mg time release one. Depending on where you live, you might need other baits if you are after mosquitoes specifically like I am. In Houston, we have a WIDE variety of species. So I ordered a combination of lures from an online company - you can't find the right baits on Amazon unfortunately. For all types of mosquitoes, you need THREE key lure ingredients: Octenol attracts the classic mosquitoes - ones that are active in the morning right at dawn and evening right at dusk. But for other types like Tiger Mosquitoes that bite during the brightest sun of the day (as well as night, evening, holidays, etc) you need a combination of lactic acid (which is found on human skin) and ammonium bicarbonate. Depending on your location, species of mosquitoes, and other factors, you will need to adjust your baits. Of course, you can test to see what kind of results you get with NO baits, too. That might be enough and if it is - you have a 100% maintenance free solution. Me - I HATE mosquitoes and they LOVE me, so total eradication, to whatever extent was possible, was my goal.
This unit obviously needs to be plugged in. The instructions say to use a cord and connector made for this purpose, but I didn't see anything like that down at the depot of home improvement. I ended up buying a 50 ft. "landscaping" extension cord that was dark green in color and rated for outdoor use. Given the huge increase in holiday light displays, I would imagine anything fit for outdoor Christmas lights would work here. If you are paranoid and have the money, you can of course hire an electrician to wire you up something fancy.
Last - before I went and bought my extension cords, mounting brackets, and got myself invested in a permanent install, I wanted to do a simple test. I put the octenol lure in place, rigged a hanging option by screwing a small piece of wood into a tree, and hung the unit about 2-3 feet above the ground - about where your legs would be exposed wearing shorts LOL!! Then I stuck a clean, white piece of material under the trap to make it easy to see any dead mosquitoes. I used a Styrofoam cooler lid, but whatever...just make sure it doesn't blow away - a brick solved that for me.
At first I was sad - despite dozens of mosquitoes swarming around ME and ready to feast on my flesh, I heard not one zap of the power grid and no dead bugs. So I left it to run for a while. After about 90 minutes a heavy storm was rolling in so I figured my test was over as any "evidence" would get blown or washed away. And behold! There were about a dozen or so dead mosquitoes on the foam lid. SUCCESS! They appeared to be only one or two species - but once the additional baits are delivered and installed I expect improved results.
I can't say longer term how well this unit will reduce the population of mosquitoes or even if it will be enough to be able to go outside and not get bitten. But it DOES kill mosquitoes in the Houston area and hopefully with additional attractants it will get those aggressive and horrible Tiger
My next project - once I hang these up, get the additional baits, and see how those perform, is to consider adding CO2 to the mix. Carbon dioxide is probably THE BEST mosquito bait - which is why you see all those propane traps that make CO2 and heat by burning propane. My plan is different - I'm following the method used by health workers around the world to trap mosquitoes for health and medical research - dry ice. The plan is to buy a simple insulated container to hold the dry ice (a thick cooler so it will last a long time) and some simple plastic tubing. Punch a hole in the cooler down low, put in the dry ice, seal it up so the vapors get forced thru the tube. Put the end of the tube inside my bug zapper so the mosquitoes are drawn into the killing grid - DONE. I'll only go that far if the other options aren't fully successful.
Overall - I like this product because it is simple, inexpensive, and durable. But by adding baits and other attractants, you can scale it up to suit your needs and still spend WAY less money than the fancier products with fans and nets and propane tanks.
OTHER OPTIONS - and why I didn't choose them over this product...
I was reluctant to spend hundreds of dollars on one of the mosquito-specific trap-style products like the Mosquito Magnet for a few reasons:
1) The huge number of reviews about the unit breaking down (strike 1), the huge number of reviews indicating service was difficult (strike 2), and the huge cost of repair sometimes costing a fair percentage of the original purchase price (strike 3). So ability to maintain one of these things was questionable.
2) All the "trap" style units require significant use of expendables. Tanks of propane, proprietary nets that degrade, dry rot, or wear out. Special batteries and electronics. Even the lures/attractants used have to be purchased in specific form factors and shapes to fit the machine, unlike the Flowtron zapper that you could literally stick a bait anywhere on, under, or in. Yes, there are two small nooks at the base of the bulbs designed for this purpose, but there's no reason to think the trap wouldn't work well if you added some alternate bait types and just stuck, lashed, or otherwise affixed them using your own creativity. Most of the trap-style units are not designed to work if you get creative with the bait placement - they require it to be in a very specific place to lure the mosquitoes into the vacuum suction area. Like your home vacuum cleaner - just a few inches away from the nozzle and there's very little suction.
3) There seemed to be much fewer placement options as most of the trap-type units appeared to simply sit on the ground - most had wheels of some kind. It wasn't like you could hang them from a fence post sort of arrangement or swag them to a tree. Since I wasn't sure where they'd end up, I wanted something smaller and more easily moved around as needed to get the best results.
I also didn't want one of those yard misting systems - spraying chemicals regularly onto my yard just wasn't for me. Plus that is REALLY expensive, has significant consumable costs, and needs space for the large tank of chemical and pump and such.
Spraying chemicals on my body? No thanks. MAYBE for camping in the Everglades but around my home, not happening.
I tried one of those fogger guns - you know the type that are sometimes powered by propane and some are electric? They use a special oil-based product to create an ultra-fine mist with droplets hundreds or thousands of times smaller that what a garden spray set to "fine" produces. The idea is that the fog can permeate in and around foliage, leaves, and just about everything else, providing absolute and complete coverage. Takes <5 minutes to do your yard, just a few minutes for the fog to dissipate, and you are bug-free for hours. Only it didn't take 5 minutes. It took five minutes for the unit to heat up hot enough to use. And then you had to pump the oil into the fogging chamber with a squeeze trigger - on problem is that the rate at which you pump must be precise - otherwise the fog is too "wet" or "dry" per the instructions, I found my unit constantly sending out not only fog but also little droplets of oil out the tip. The fog is supposed to make a quart of oil last for weeks or months even, but unless you product fog and ONLY fog, the product is consumed MUCH faster. All this is completely dependent on you holding the unit level during use and squeezing the trigger at just the right rate. And that rate varies based on outside temp and other factors - so you have to be a master at this. AND you have to fog every time you want to enjoy your yard. I found it took 15 minutes or so to lug the unit out, plug it in, let it warm up, fog the yard, and then you MUST let it cool down for 10 minutes or so before you can store it. To give you an idea of the heat - flames can shoot out of the fogger if you use it wrong, and the big fogging chamber has all kinds of warnings on it not to touch it, ever.
Last were the clip-on-your-person type repellents. Some had good reviews and they seemed like a viable option - relatively cheap, easy to use, no waiting, minimal expendable/consumable items. I'll be honest - I didn't try these even though they were among the better options per my criteria. I couldn't see keeping spares on hand when guests stopped by. What if we had a party? Would women in nice cocktail dresses be clipping these to their straps or ankles? Too many logistical complications here. These products have their place, but not for keeping your home and your castle free of pests...
And beyond purchased products - there are any number of DIY mosquito control methods - from 2 liter bottle with yeast in them to box fans with netting. I found it hard to separate truth from fiction, but in the end I did manage to find some studies done by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and other organizations. See - mosquitoes carry some nasty diseases. Finding a cheap way to control them in 3rd world countries is a BIG DEAL. What I ultimately found is that most of those home-made systems DO work, but aren't powerful or effective enough for population control. They'll catch SOME mosquitoes and you will think they are working. But just do the real world test - walk around outside and see if you get bitten! That's ultimately what will determine if my methods are successful or not.
And if you've read this far, God bless you! I hope you found this useful and worthwhile.
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.