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# Van de Graaff Bugzapper

 (+10) [vote for, against]

The Van de Graaff Bugzapper is, predictably, a few Van de Graff generators mounted on poles in strategic spots in the garden. An insect flying through will pick up quite a hefty charge.

Then when the insect goes to land on something: zap. Even if it doesn't kill the insect, a charged insect landing on a person will be stunned, noticeable (ie: you will get slightly zapped) and easily squished long before they get around to stinging.

 — FlyingToaster, Aug 22 2009

Van de Graaff http://en.wikipedia...de_Graaff_generator
Note the double "a" [csea, Aug 22 2009]

Electrostatic Flies http://www.scienced...145b91ab79e9253f426
Who knew? Houseflies walking on PVC gain + charge. [csea, Aug 22 2009]

Charge transfer with insulating particles [csea, Aug 22 2009]

Electrostatic Induction http://en.wikipedia...trostatic_induction
Redistribution of charge [csea, Aug 24 2009]

 Interesting, but here's the problem:

 //An insect flying through will pick up quite a hefty charge.//

 An insect (with neutral charge) flying in the vicinity of a VdG generator will initially be repelled, then as it loses similar charge, will be attracted.

 By the time it lands on the VdG, it will have essentially the same charge as the generator, and suffer no "zap."

 This is similar to the reason birds can safely alight on high-tension wires.

High charge (voltage) doesn't kill; current does, and a small insect flying in air won't allow much current flow without being connected to ground.
 — csea, Aug 22 2009

 who said anything about the bug landing on the generator ? I want it to fly through the zone and shed a load of electrons, then when it lands on something with a different charge (ie: anything)... zap. Bonus if it's something grounded to the other end of the generator but either way...

(thx for sp.)
 — FlyingToaster, Aug 22 2009

 Pretty low capacitance, that flying bug. Mostly 'cause it's small. And it has plenty of low-radius appendages from or to which electrons will jump, so even if you can get it to a high enough voltage to be noticably "charged", the charge won't stick to the little critter.

Still, if you can get your VdG BzzzzZapper cranked up to a high enough voltage, you should be able to toast the peskies on a two or three inch long lightning bolt, rather than the measly 1/8th inch short circuit of a normal 'zapper. So I'm good with it... here, zap this pastry a time or two. (It might be [+] charged...)
 — lurch, Aug 22 2009

 [lurch]s' scenario is quite possible. I don't know much about the electrical characteristics of flies.

 Much of what happens when a fly meanders past a high-voltage terminal will depend on how well the fly holds onto charge. cf. [link2].

If the fly is sufficiently insulating (dry), it may bounce back and forth between the high voltage (+) terminal and ground (see [link3].)
 — csea, Aug 22 2009

 //An insect (with neutral charge) flying in the vicinity of a VdG generator will initially be repelled//

If it has neutral charge, then why would it be repelled? I thought it would need a like charge to be repelled.
 — pertinax, Aug 24 2009

 — csea, Aug 24 2009

The addition of lasers would be an excellent step. Possibly marketable to Bungco?
 — CaptainClapper, Aug 24 2009

Bungco already has a line of unrelated preventative devices.
 — FlyingToaster, Aug 24 2009

Thank you for the links, [csea], but they suggest to me rather that the bug's wings (or whichever other parts of it are more distant from the vdG) would be repelled from one another (like the leaves on a gold leaf ... thingy), than that the whole bug would be repelled from the vdG.
 — pertinax, Aug 25 2009

//thingy// sp. electroscope
 — lurch, Aug 25 2009

//a line of unrelated preventative devices//
Bug condoms?
 — AbsintheWithoutLeave, Aug 25 2009

Thank you, [lurch]. An electroscope was on the tip of my tongue. I'm still getting the after-taste.
 — pertinax, Aug 26 2009

//An electroscope was on the tip of my tongue//
That should make for interesting osculation.
 — coprocephalous, Aug 26 2009

certainly worth additional baking! you could get a grant!!
 — smendler, Aug 27 2009

//interesting osculation// Possibly visible only with an oscullascope.
 — csea, Aug 27 2009

great visual: [pertinax] screaming "CHARGE!", with his gold leaf standing out like a handlebar moustache...
 — lurch, Aug 27 2009

//Edenite// ... nah, one of the ritzy neighbors from down in Havilah.
 — lurch, Aug 28 2009

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