How to Build a Portable Bug Zapper




About: My favorite hobbies are learning how to do new and cool stuff from more experienced people and building DIY (Do It Yourself) projects. They involve your typical household items that are usually discarded an...

This instructable shows you how to build your own bug zapper using recycled parts and is general in its suggestions. To see how I built my bug zapper, you can visit my website's bugzapper page here.

Now having said that, there are countless of ways to build a bug zapper. It all depends on the types of bugs you're targeting and the size of the bug zapper you want to build. Also the design plays a huge part in the effectiveness of the bug zapper.

Update! For more info about how bug zappers work, you can refer to this link

I am not liable if your shock yourself or injury yourself, working with high voltages is very dangerous!!

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Step 1: Tools and Materials

The tools that I used were a Dremel tool kit with cutting accessories and some basic tools such as a handsaw and a drill. The tools you can use will always vary.

The materials you will need to build your bug zapper may vary from mine, but I'll tell you what I used:
  • the circuitry from an old rechargeable lantern (battery and tube useless)
  • a new 6V rechargeable sealed lead acid battery
  • two garden plant vase dish
  • 6 long wooden dowels
  • a 1 yard squared 1/4" mesh wire
  • plywood
  • my design uses a blacklight

Step 2: Making the Foudation

In my design, I decided to build a portable bug zapper because I already had most of the parts from a useless rechargeable lantern. Another possibility was to use a small step down transformer as a step up transformer and rectify the voltage to dc using general purpose diodes to apply to the mesh.

I also chose to use a circular design because that mean I could use one less mesh that was necessary in a flat design for safety purposes.

To make the base plates as I call it, I decided to use wood to mount the mesh and accessories onto. The diameter of the baseplate is measured and cut to fit snugly in the endcaps.

Step 3: Drilling the Holes

The dowels will act as insulators in between the two mesh and also as supporting columns for the structure so it really serves those two purposes.

The 6 holes for the wooded dowel supports were drilled equally spaced around the circumference of the baseplate with the groove for the inner mesh intersecting them. The hole for the light fitting was made by a spade bit. For more info see here.

Step 4: Adding the Blacklight

After the alignment of the mesh, columns and baseplates are with tolerance, the electrical fittings for the light are hot glued in place.

Blacklight was suitable for my zapper because it attracted most of the insects i wanted to get rid of.

Step 5: Wiring the Mesh

The two leads for the mesh are wired near the top of the mesh and the overlapping mesh is joined by solder.

If you haven't already visited my website, click here for more info.

Step 6: Adding the Carrying Handle

The carrying handle from the lantern was reused for my bug zapper.

Slots were cutout on the top of the endcap to mount the handle, switch, leds and power cord.

Step 7: Adding the Components

The components from the rechargeable lantern are wired into the bug zapper mush the same way with the addition of the voltage multiplier.  You can find more details here.

Step 8: Gluing Everything in Place

The components are wired together and hot glued in place.

Step 9: Final Product!

This is the final product of my portable bug zapper.

I hope you found this instructable useful in designing and building your own bug zapper.

If you have any questions and I know you do, please leave them below.

You can also take a look at my other projects below:

How to dismantle a CRT monitor

Case Safe

Perfume vase


Bill Organizer

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    17 Discussions


    3 years ago

    How many volts is it with the transformers?


    3 years ago

    Hi like your project. I"ve had a design on
    my mind for a bug zapper and i was wondering if you could send me the
    circuit and transformer spefification

    please mail me @

    Thank you!


    3 years ago

    Hi like your project. I"ve had a design on my mind for a bug zapper and i was wondering if you could send me the circuit you have used in your project.

    please mail me @

    Thank you!


    4 years ago on Step 7

    Thanks for illustration, may I have the circuit Diagram and components Please

    to mail


    4 years ago on Introduction

    that is interesting good job bro

    may i get circuit diagram please is my adress ????

    thank you for your cooperation


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable :). I've been meaning to replace the old zapper we used to have, but this gives me the encouragement to actually go ahead and do that.

    If i could offer some feedback on this instructable and your zapper page, however, is that I don't think I would understand the principles of how the zapper, if I didn't already know how it works. I think not everyone knows how a zapper works, so especially for safety, I think you ought to give a bit of background to the "how works" of your instructable.

    Also, I dont think you listed the backlight in materials- any tips where I might find a selection of sizes for those?

    Thanks, good sir! Or ma'am. Or anything you want to be.

    3 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    What attracts mosquitoes?

    Wondering what attracts mosquitoes to you or other people? Here are several main things everyone should know in order to avoid or to lure these insects.

    Carbon Dioxide
    Carbon dioxide from the breath of humans and animals helps mosquitoes to find their prey. A burning candle or other fire is another source of carbon dioxide. However, CO2 alone is not enough to attract mosquitoes.
    Lactic Acid
    Everyone of us releases lactic acid when exercising or consuming particular foods. This chemical is used in some of mosquito traps as an attractant.


    When people and animals breathe, they exhale mixture of carbon dioxide and octenol, which is actually a type ofalcohol. Octenol is sometimes described as 'cow’s breath in a can', and is a remarkable lure for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes and other biting insects have extremely-sensitive receptors that can detect this chemical from almost 100 feet away.

    Body heat
    Circulating blood in animals and humans radiates body heat. As mosquitoes have sophisticated heat sensors, they follow body heat and exhaled gases and fly to their target. The exact temperature depends on the type of mosquito.
    During breathing people also exhale water vapor and perspiration is produced during active movement. Even small amounts of water will attract mosquitoes as it could mean possible blood source or possible breading site.
    Mosquitoes can see their victims from within 30 feet by locating the changes in waves of light around them, caused by moving objects.
    Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, so wearing dark is not the best thing if you want to avoid being bitten. Dark foliage is another attractant.
    Although some of mosquito trap manufacturers state that they use mosquito attracting or repelling sounds, scientists have proven there is no particular sound frequency that would be interesting to mosquitoes.

    Scientific experiments show that only one of mentioned sources is not enough for mosquitoes to react – combination of several things as carbon dioxide, lactic acid and octenol attracts mosquitoes best.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    A good place to look for Blacklights is Spencer Gifts. A Woods Light is used by various practitioners to detect fungi.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your feedback. I'll take your advise to add a "how a bug zapper works" section to my pages and the added safety that should be involved. Also, I didn't add the blacklight to the materials because it was an optional extra and various other substitutes could be used such as a suction fan,etc. It varies with your design. As where you can find a selection of lights to use, you can check your local electronics or hardware store.

    Thank you for a great instruct able. I beg to differ with the statement that mosquitoes are not attracted by black light. I have used one of these devices for several years and one of the problems with them is that dead mosquitoes build up so deep on the grid that it shorts out the electronics.I know the primary attractant is CO2 , but at night the light attracts them very well.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea

    But you should add balancing resistors to the capacitor bank, otherwise you'll blow the caps eventually. (Especially true with elcos)
    Interesting site about elcos.

    You don't need to cannibalize a bugzapper to get your hands on a voltage multiplier.
    Cockroft Walton multipliers are pretty easy to build with easily available parts.
    See here:

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your advise. I'll add the balancing resistors to the setup for longevity. As for the voltage multiplier, getting the high frequency, high voltage diodes was the real problem for me so I had no choice but to cannibalize them from the nonfunctional bug zapper.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Mosquitoes aren't attracted to light, so if I'm not mistaken, zappers only kill harmless bugs. Is this correct?

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Well that's correct. Building one that attracts mosquitoes would be a lot more difficult, but this should still be useful.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    super ... i like it pls send pdf on