Notice that whenever you try to swat a fly you’re only hitting air. And house files are just really persistent when it comes to roaming around finding food. It seems you already did everything you could to get their numbers to zero. But still, they’re still around contaminating every surface they land on. What should you do then?

Better sanitation is only the first step in reducing the numbers of houseflies. They will have fewer breeding sites and food sources. Another initial step is by exclusion which is improving or installing additional barriers so flies won’t have an entry point in the first place.

To go a step further, many workplaces and commercial facilities now have installed ongoing solutions against flies. These flying insect killer light traps capture flies by taking advantage of the fly’s biology. Flies are attracted to UV light (specifically UV-A light with spectrum of 300 to 420 nanometres). The flies will come and the glueboards would then capture them.

Why most traps fail

The glueboard is crucial to capturing flies and preventing them from roaming around any further. After all, if a glueboard is far from effective, flies will just escape and continue to fly around. That’s why many flying insect traps now are temperature-optimised. These ensure total entrapment of the flying insects even in tropical temperatures.

However, this is not enough to capture more flies more quickly. The number of flies that get captured is heavily dependent on the “attraction effectiveness” of the light traps. If more flies are being attracted by the flies, the natural consequence is more flies will be captured. But this is not always the case. Flies have been evolving for 250 million years ago (earlier than mammals which is only 200 million years ago). Through those millions of years, flies became excellent in recognising and evading threats. What’s more is that they reproduce really fast (a fly can lay up to 500 eggs in its lifetime) which makes it hard to catch up on their numbers.

Flies are excellent in avoiding threats. You can readily notice that when you try to swat a fly. With the fly’s advanced eye structure and amazing aerial agility (2 wings plus two small paddles for better manoeuvring), physical attacks just won’t work. Also, flies can easily detect any less-than-natural light source. Perhaps the flying insect light trap truly emits 300 to 420 nm (according to the house fly vision spectrum). However, in the eyes of the flies it’s still less than natural. Let’s find out why.

Time passes more slowly for flies

Yes, what seems fast is in fact in slow motion to the eyes of the flies. Time passes more slowly for these creatures, which is why no matter how you swat them, they can easily evade your attack.

As mentioned earlier, one possible reason is that they have extreme aerial agility. But what’s more impressive is due to their small size and fast metabolic rate, time passes more slowly to them. After all, time is relative (not a constant). What seems really fast to us humans may seem really slow to other creatures such as flies.

In addition, we humans see the world as a continuous video. But the truth is we’re only seeing images and then we piece them together. Our brains can receive and process an average of 60 flashes per second. Within that number things look like a continuous video to us.

But that’s entirely different for flies. These flying insects can receive and process an average of 250 flashes per second (more than 4x our capabilities). This impressive feature coupled with excellent reaction time and aerial agility makes flies awesome in recognising and evading threats.

For example, a light source that emits lower than 250 flashes per second will look like mere flickers to flies. In other words, the light source becomes on and off when flies look at it. If this is the case, flies will see it as less-than-natural. To us humans the light source seems like a constant beam of light. But to flies it’s a series of flickers which may actually repel the flies and see them as threatening.

This is the case with many flying insect killer light traps out there. Of course what we see is that those devices emit a constant beam of light. But in the eyes of flying insects, the light traps literally look like traps. The light source is questionable (far from the characteristics of natural sunlight). As a result, flies don’t come to the light trap.

Here’s the solution

As we better understand the flies’ biology, we can then formulate ways and technologies to better capture them. For instance, scientists discovered that flies are particularly attracted to UV light (which is emitted by the sun). Through millions of years, flies navigate places with the sun as their main light source. After all, the eyes of the flies are particularly sensitive to that wavelength (especially 300 to 420 nm).

But as you’ve realised, that’s not enough. We also have to consider the nature of the light source. Earlier we’ve discussed how a light source becomes a series of flickers in the eyes of flies instead of a constant beam of light. That’s why the solution then is to have a light source that emits UV-A light and at the same time does this in higher frequencies or cycles.

Most other UV light traps only operate at 50 cycles per second. In other words, the light source is flashing on and off 50 times per second. Remember earlier that human brains can receive and process an average of 60 flashes per second (which is quite near to the performance of most other UV light traps). For us humans it’s a constant beam of light but flies see this as flashes and flickers.

The most effective light traps then are the ones that have much higher cycles per second. For instance, the Vectothor Flying Insect Killer Light Traps operate at 10,000 cycles per second (way beyond that of human or insect capabilities). As a result, flies see the light source as a constant beam of light. It looks more natural and hence becomes more effective in attracting flying insects around.

Here we’ve proven that knowledge is indeed power. Once we know how our sight works differently than of flies, we can then devise more effective solutions to attracting and capturing those flying insects. It’s only quite recently that we found out that humans only actually see images and then our brains process it to make it look like a continuous video. And then scientists found out the maximum number of flashes per second flies can detect before they can see a light source as a constant beam of light.

With that knowledge and our current technology, scientists and engineers designed flying insect killer light traps that take advantage of the flies’ biology. First, light traps operate on UV-A range (the housefly’s vision spectrum). Second, the light source is made to be of higher cycles per second (so the light source appears as a constant beam of light). The result is more effective light traps that can catch more flies faster.

Why most flying insect killer light traps are not effective

First rule about traps is they shouldn’t look like traps in the first place. For instance, if the light flickers it’s a clear sign for flies to stay away. But if the light performs at 10,000 cycles per second (given that emissions are in the fly’s vision spectrum) such as what we have here in Vectothor, it’s guaranteed for the light trap to work optimally.

For the best ongoing protection against flies, many business owners and managers worldwide contact us here at Vectothor. With our high performance (10,000 cycles per second, UV-A light emission, temperature-optimised glueboard) and cost-effective solutions (up to 9,000 hours of continuous use), your workplace or business will be better protected from the flying insects.

Contact us today for a specific solution for your workplace or business. We have a comprehensive selection of products with different ranges and features. For offices, cafes, restaurants and shops we have the Vectothor Falcon with 35+ square metres coverage. We also have other scientifically designed products such as Vectothor Kingfisher that are ideal for wet industrial environments.