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Home: Pest Control
Porchlight Lure   (+3, -2)  [vote for, against]
Intermittently disperse insecticide mist from outdoor lighting

White light draws insects from afar, so folks generally have turned to nonattractive shades of yellow or have shielded the fixture to mute the light and thereby draw fewer insect pests. While this does serve generally to make foot traffic more bearable during heavy insect infestation periods, many lamps burn constantly with no people nearby.

Insect control could be optimized by concentrating property owners' application of insecticide efficiently. We treat ant mounds and termite tunnels individually. We spray out wasp nests and squash individual spiders, in the hope that those pest will stay away if they get the idea they're not welcome. Then we spray hundreds of square miles of, you name it: housetops, cars, asphalt, treetops and cloud bottoms--just to kill anything that flies. You could ask the question, "What could I catch with light as bait?"

Therefore, place ducts near outdoor lighting to emit a spray of insecticide intermittently after dark. The outcome of such discriminant spraying may be a drop in flying pest population with a sparing effect on beneficial pollinators.
-- reensure, Aug 21 2001

mosquito magnet
it sucks [mihali, Aug 21 2001]

You could even avoid the insecticide altogether by placing the porchlight inside a transluscent funnel trap. Dump the dead and dying bugs down the toilet every few days.

I dunno, though, I kind of like a lot of kinds of insects. Wasps and ladybugs eat aphids, which is nice, and dragonflies eat adult mosquitoes whilst gambusia minnows chow down on the aquatic larvae. And there's some sort of shiny black waspish fly whose larvae eat the garbage in my non-composting compost bin. I'd rather we could figure out how to catch and destroy only mosquitoes and punkies (aka blackflies, I think).
-- Dog Ed, Aug 21 2001

Electric bug-zappers use the light to attract insects to the electrocuting part. They're a bit non-discriminatory though.
-- angel, Aug 21 2001

When I worked in a fruit shop, we would have positioned near the bug-zapper a machine which periodically and indescriminately sprayed a puff of insecticide. It was used mainly in summer to kill those pesky little insects which love fruit, but then removed because inhaling of the toxin was known to promote a short attention spa... ooh look, a croissant.
-- sdm, Aug 21 2001

angel, I've heard that bug-zappers *are* discriminatory. But they discriminate against (i.e., kill) more desirable bugs and in favor of (i.e., leave alive) the biting insects.

What amazes me is that spiders have learned to build their webs on or near outdoor light sources. This form of bait has only been widely-available to spiders for, what, about 300 years? Compared to how long spiders have been around, this seems like a pretty quick development in their instincts.
-- beauxeault, Aug 21 2001

beauxeault - you might be mistaking simple tropistic behavior for intelligent behavior. Let's say a spider follows these rules: 1. Build nest. 2. If no food in X hours, go somewhere else. 3. See #1. Spiders make webs all over the place - it just so happens that if (by chance) a spider builds one by a light source, then it will get more food, thereby not invoking rule 2. In addition, given the artificial lighting, we're more likely to see the spider webs.

As far as the original post idea, it is bad for the following reasons: 1. Use of insecticide will, in the long run, breed insecticide-resistant insects. 2. If there are no people near the lights, then why kill the insects? Of course, why have the light on in the first place? 3. "the outcome of such discriminant spraying may be a drop in flying pest population" - and what consequences might that have? Fewer birds or bats?
-- quarterbaker, Aug 21 2001

Has anyone ever done research regarding Spiders and available light sources under controlled conditions? MMMmmmmmm - grant money
-- thumbwax, Aug 21 2001

...or you could lure them with a plume of carbon dioxide, heat, and moistue, and then suck them into a bag for collection. the mosquito magnet does just this, but it's quite expensive. people are still buying them though, since the west nile craze hit n. america. see link.
-- mihali, Aug 22 2001

I absolutely try to swat spiders, ever since I heard they can plot the shortest path from any point in a room to any other point in a room. Right this way ......

For the serious objector, regarding overuse of insecticides, I won't undertake a substantiation for my belief that we're doing that now in places and at times we'd rather not. Maybe insecticides are all wrong and this idea might be supplanted by the "White Hot Goo Fountain" for bug-prone citiscapes. Also, a bug killer won't be much use on a remote light like a channel buoy; and many biomass lovers may delight in their citronella bushes, knowing their spray hugging neighbors will have to deal with the gypsy pests somewhere else (NIMBY).

Oh, crickets! It's getting dark and I'm getting that urge to join the bloodless one in its stirring.
-- reensure, Aug 22 2001

Didn't that already happen with Nixon?
-- Guy Fox, Aug 24 2001

random, halfbakery