Livin’ Well Insect Zapper review: Can’t handle the whole yard

  1. Livin’ Well Insect Killer

Sun, ice cream, trips to the beach, days at the pool: these are the summer jokes that I appreciate. But you know what not a single person I know loves summer? Mosquitoes.

Starting in the spring of each year, I have my yard sprayed bi-weekly for mosquitoes and ticks by a service that uses a more natural approach to insect eradication than chemicals. (One year we retired and I didn’t spend a single evening on my own patio. It was awful.)

Despite pest control we still see a fair share of mosquitoes, gnats, gnats, flies and moths on summer evenings so when I came across the Livin’ Well Insect Killer on Amazon with its nearly 7,400 4.3 out of 5 stars, I was tempted to give it a try. Just to see if it might bring down those nighttime villains.

About the Livin’ Well Bug Zapper

On the left, voltage lamp inside the bug zapper.  On the right is a person holding dead bugs inside the bug zapper's collection tray.

Credit: Revised / Leigh Harrington

The Livin’ Well Insect Zapper is a high voltage lamp that can be hung or placed outdoors to eliminate tiny pests.

What you see is what you get with the Livin’ Well Insect Zapper, a black plastic unit about 14 inches tall. It comes complete with an 18W UVA bulb, hanging ring, removable collection tray and a whole safety precautions sheet.

It can be placed on a table or surface outdoors, or it can be hung, but it cannot be near an open flame or where anyone can touch it. Basically, keep this high voltage power station away from people, especially children.

The Livin’ Well Bug Zapper claims to be 100% eco-friendly. Is it true?

There are no chemicals involved as it is basically a high powered UVA lamp. But, we kill bugs after all, and I’m not sure Mother Nature would be too excited about that.

Livin’ Well says it kills mosquitoes, moths, bees and flies, as shown in the illustrations on the box, and although I don’t see the specific word “bee” or even “bee” in its tongue on the box or on its Amazon page, the suggestion is there, and it’s neither cool nor eco-friendly.

In the first week I used the zapper, it also fried a frog by inches.

What I like

You can hear the bug zap at work

The best thing about the Livin’ Well Insect Zapper is that you can hear it working as soon as you plug it in. There’s nothing more satisfying than listening to mosquito annihilation zaps at night, then seeing all the carcasses in the light of day. .

It’s incredibly easy to use

I also love the absolute ease of setup and use. There is no assembly when it comes to the zapper bug. Just take it out of the box, plug it in and it’s ready to roll.

What I do not like

You must have an electrical outlet nearby to plug it in

One of the main drawbacks of the Livin’ Well bug zapper is that it needs to be placed close enough to a GFCI-protected outlet for you to plug it in; you may use an extension cord marked SJW-A, SJEW-A, or SJTW-A only.

Since my patio table is in the middle of my patio, this limits my options. Either I can’t place it on the table, or I can use an extension cord and risk anyone walking nearby tripping over the cord.

Instead, I decided to hang the bug zapper in my garden near my outdoor electrical outlet, as it comes with a circular hanging ring. Unfortunately, I had to shell out an extra $20 to Amazon for a bird feeder pole to hang it on.

It is difficult to clean

Person removing bottom of bug zapper to reveal dead bugs.

Credit: Revised / Leigh Harrington

After two unsuccessful attempts, I was finally able to remove the removable tray to clean its contents.

The Livin’ Well Bug Zapper is not as easy to clean as advertised. It took me three tries to remove the bottom plate and to do that I had to really wedge the bug filled zapper between my body and my elbow to hold it steady while I squeezed and twisted the bottom.

One thing is certain: always unplug the appliance before cleaning it and never use water!

The instructions are contradictory

Bug zapper written instructions.

Credit: Revised / Leigh Harrington

Users may find the included instructions difficult to understand.

When it comes to safety, the bug zapper instructions are, at times, just plain confusing.

On its site, Amazon calls the high-voltage zapper a “weatherproof mosquito killer,” but the safety instructions included with the zapper boldly state, “Keep out of water.”

Of course, I won’t point a hose at it, or put it within reach of sprinklers, but my biggest question is, what happens when it rains? Can I leave it outside? Insert the shrug emoji here.

Coverage area isn’t as robust as it claims

The Livin’ Well Bug Zapper just doesn’t cover the area it claims: 1,500 square feet.

At a recent evening barbecue, my ankles were eaten by gnats, and a few of the tweens there even asked their parents for bug spray because the mosquitoes were so bad. When does this happen? It’s true, never.

He killed a frog

As mentioned, he killed a frog. Enough said.

Should You Buy the Living Well Insect Zapper

Black insect killer with blue light.

Credit: Revised/Living Well

The Livin’ Well Insect Zapper is not a great buy for buyers looking to humanely get rid of insects and bugs.

Nope

The Livin’ Well Insect Zapper offers the user high levels of false satisfaction with low levels of skill. I really wanted this bug zapper to work. In the end, he collected more moths than mosquitoes, and he just wasn’t powerful enough to tackle the whole yard.

Considering it will also eliminate bees and frogs, this zapper is a no-go for me.

If you’re looking for other ways to keep mosquitoes away from your garden, make it less welcoming to them from the start. Try tactics like removing standing water or buying patio netting.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.

  1. Product image of Livin' Well Insect Zapper

    Livin’ Well Insect Killer