Bug Light -vs- Salt Gun

In my rounds as a pest management professional, I have witnessed many different types of flying insect control. A lot of facilities use glue-board type fly lights. Electrocuting types are all but forbidden near food. Air curtains are popular in some businesses. Sticky fly hangers are common in garages. The backyard blue light bug zapper is what most people have at home. We’ve all used a fly swatter.


I have been known to shop from my couch. This tv program had a “new and improved, fancy color, pheromone based bug light”. According to the show’s host, it doesn’t kill bugs, but attracts them to the light, and air flow pulls them into the holding chamber, which is the base of the unit.

Of course, like everyone, I was skeptical. My pest knowledge about habits and habitats kicked in. Did these people, with no certification, no entomology degree REALLY have a clue about what would attract flying insects to the light? Was the suction of the tiny fan enough to hold insects in the base? After much consideration, I ordered one, well, two.

On the day of delivery, I read the instructions, hung it on my deck where a plant is supposed to be, and plugged it into the outlet. Fast forward 30 days…. that sucker ACTUALLY WORKS! The holding bin was full. I found out, if you don’t empty the catch bin frequently, the rotten bug smell can be intense.

Holding Base


On a whim, I bought a salt gun. I heard a friend talking about one, and I thought it was cute. That yellow and black, plastic fly disintegrator sat in its box for a month – until my husband got ahold of it. He shyly said he was “gonna play with it”. I reminded him that it wasn’t a toy.

He grabbed the table salt and the bug gun, and out to the garage he went. I eventually went to check on him, mostly to make sure he wasn’t trying to see how bad it would hurt to hit himself with those high pressure salt grains. I was too late.

My husband proceeded to show me the carnage of the flies, wasps, and a few mosquitoes that he had piled on the work bench. He seemed proud that he, (and I quote) “didn’t have to have a license to do pest control”. Like a kid at Christmas, he still gets excited to plink house flies off the window ledge.


I would say that both methods of flying insect control are effective. I am more partial to my bug light. I won’t get trigger finger. I’ll give a thumbs up 👍 to the salt gun. It is a tad more cost effective. Table salt is cheap. Those replacement bulbs are $10 each.

Published by Melisa Arnold, A.C.E.

My career in pest management began while working in a flour mill as the “in-house” technician in 2008. I am certified in multiple states. I began working full time as a fumigation-pest control tech in 2010. I achieved my Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) in 2018. I have a Master Tech certification from Kansas State University/Kansas Pest Control Association. I hold a Bat Management certification from NWCOA. Every day, I realize how much I DON’T KNOW. My goal for this blog is to share my every day experiences from the field and to make us all think outside the box for solutions to make pest control make sense.

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