General Question

LuckyGuy's avatar

Will the UV light from a bug zapper placed over my pond hurt the frogs' eyes?

Asked by LuckyGuy (43241points) July 11th, 2018

I placed a Black Flag bug zapper above my pond to kill bugs and automatically feed my fish with the droppings. It works great!
But! There is this big warning written in red on the instructions:
” Warning: Skin or eye damage may result from directly viewing the light produced by the lamp in this apparatus. Always disconnect power before relamping or servicing.”
The bulb output looks like “blacklight” but there might be other wavelengths as well. UV-B UV-C. I don’t know.
Humans would look away but frogs sit there all night with their eyes wide open.
Could this damage Froggie and his friends’ eyes?

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24 Answers

kritiper's avatar

No. The sun’s UV rays have never hurt frogs and I doubt the frogs would be staring directly at the UV light anyway…

zenvelo's avatar

They are sensitive to UV:

Spectral sensitivity of the frog eye in the ultraviolet and visible region

Spectral sensitivity of the dark-adapted frog’s eye, eye cup and isolated retina was studied by means of an electroretinogram between 280 and 580 nm. Spectral sensitivity curve of isolated retina shows three peaks corresponding to α-, β- and protein absorption bands of the rhodopsin. Quantum yield of retinal excitation in the protein band, at 280 nm, is 0.45. Ocular media of Rana temporaria are transparent down to 330 nm so that the whole eye shows an appreciable sensitivity in the near ultraviolet. This fact may be of some ecological importance.

Also, UV light can affect emrbyo and polliwog growth.

ScienceChick's avatar

I’d be sort of pissed at the light if I were a frog because the good food is flying around it and bringing it out of my reach and it would probably hurt my eyes watching those yummy flies and moths flitting around it. You certainly are not encouraging the frogs to stick around. I would kill the insects on the porch of the house or a screened in area that were bothering me and then dump the contents into the pond in the morning.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Great info! If a frog can see down to 280 nm I’m guessing there is some built in protection in its eyes. Each is a band of wavelengths but call UV-A 356nm, UV-B 302 nm, and UV-C 254 nm. UV-C is particularly deadly since it is close to the absorbance of DNA. For the same exposure. UV-B is about 1/10 as deadly as UV-C and UV-A is 1/10 of UV-B.

The problem is I do not know the output of the bulb except for the advertised 40W. When I asked the manufacturer they were no help replying “The bulb is nothing but a florescent bulb. It will not hurt your eyes.”
Then why do they have this warning in red?
Skin or eye damage may result from directly viewing the light produced by the lamp in this apparatus.
Always disconnect power before relamping or servicing.”

LuckyGuy's avatar

Lest anyone worry about over feeding, I placed the zapper so the dropping land in the water about 1 minute before getting sucked into my floating skimmer. If the fish are hungry they can sit there and grab the droppings and the filter gets what they don’t eat in 60 seconds.

Jeruba's avatar

Don’t the frogs need to eat the live insects? Maybe what you need is more frogs.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The frogs sit around the outside of the pond and (presumably, since I’ve never seen it) grab what comes by. Unfortunately they don’t grab the deer flies and mosquitoes that buzz around my head when I go out there to feed the fish or clean the filters.
One year I counted 27 frogs! This year there are only 6. I have no idea where they go.
I have heard that bug zappers don’t get deer flies nor mosquitoes but I am willing to try it.
At least the fish are eating well.

kritiper's avatar

@LuckyGuy Frog deaths are not only common to your pond. They have been disappearing, worldwide for several years now. No one knows why.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@kritiper i figure frogs are like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, the weak link.

I will monitor the pond closely for the next couple of days with the light on. If the frogs disappear, I will move the light to another area in my woods.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I’m going to use what may well be faulty logic… During the eclipse many people were worried about their pets going blind from looking at the sun during the process. ALL the articles that I read said that animals do not look directly at the sun; so, pets were deemed safe from going blind. Just guessing, I bet the frogs don’t ever look into the light!!! I’d think that your frogs would be more pissed that you are killing their food than that you have a light on all night!!!

LuckyGuy's avatar

Oh there are plenty of bugs left for the frogs. :-)
My worry is that the light is so dark and there are so many bugs flying around it the frogs would stare at it like a salivating dog looking at a chunk of beef. Since there is so little light in the visible region their pupils would be wide open thus exposing their retinas to higher does of the UV. (I think.)

LadyMarissa's avatar

Have you considered that the warning about looking into the light might possibly be one of those “idiot warnings” to protect the company just in case somebody does something stupid & decides to sue them for not warning them???

The UV in sunlight is worse than the bug zappers.

Doctor’s Opinion says being out in the snow on a sunny day is worse than the bug zappers.

My uneducated guess says that your frogs are just fine!!!

LuckyGuy's avatar

After a couple of disappointing back an forths with the manufacturer I got this answer.

“Just talked to our sales rep and he said That the red writing is a requirement for us to put on there. The light is not harmful unless you are very close and stare at the light for hours.”

So it appears @LadyMarissa calling it an “idiot warning” is most likely correct.

I really wanted the spectral output specification for the bulb from 200 to 400 nm. That would have actually answered my question. Now I’m trusting the sales rep.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Status: The frogs appeared normal this morning.
But! Most of the fish did not swim over to the side where I feed them! Apparently they were not hungry!

LadyMarissa's avatar

@LuckyGuy I have discovered that MOST warnings on many products arose out of the misuse by someone who bought it & the company adds the warning to cover their own ass!!! I bought a hand-held hair dryer which states to not sleep with it. I would NEVER think of going to sleep while drying my hair; but, obviously somebody did with negative consequences!!!

The one that makes me laugh is at our local zoo. There are signs in front of every cage “Do NOT feed fingers to the animals”. I know it’s NOT funny; but, I do catch myself watching everybody’s hands to see who caused that sign to be posted!!!

I’m glad your frogs are safe & that your fish have full bellies. I was concerned about your frogs!!!

LuckyGuy's avatar

I went out there this morning to check on things and the zapper was full of bugs. So full the grid was not arcing.
i unhooked it from the tree branch and shook the unit over the pond. The fish went wild! They attacked the bug bits like piranhas. It was a wonderful sight. And it probably saved me 2 cents worth of fish food – for 5 cents of electricity.
Frogs appear normal.

LadyMarissa's avatar

It’s worth 25¢ a week for all the fun you & your buddies are having!!!

ScienceChick's avatar

hahhaa….. It saved you 2 cents in fish food for 5 cents in electricity. So the extra cost is 3 cents a day, times 7 so that’s 21 cents a week, so I differ in my economic evaluation, but if everyone is happy, then you can add it to the cost of running the aerator in the pond, which, of course, is essential. There really is no such thing as a free lunch. (or evening snack)

kritiper's avatar

“You can’t harm those froggie eyes.
Even if the flies have been disguised…
I thought by now you’d realize…
There ain’t no way to harm those froggie eyes.”
(Sincerest apologies to Glen Frey and Don Henley of The Eagles.)

LadyMarissa's avatar

@ScienceChick The electric bill is never an exact science; so, I tossed the extra 4¢ for incidentals…like taxes. My OCD causes me to round everything up!!!

LuckyGuy's avatar

In case you are curious I estimated the zapper at 30 watts and it operates for about 16 hours a day. That is roughy 500 Watt hours or about ½ a kWhr. . Electricity here costs about 10 cents per kWhr ,or 5 cents per day.
I suppose I could plug in one of my KiloAWatt meters to get exact results.

This got me thinking of the total draw.
There are 8 items plugged into the pond outlet.
2 aerator pumps
1 water pump for frog and turtle water features.
1 water pump for main 5 micron filter bag
1 night light for high pressure sprayer
1 bug zapper
1 bulb zapper
1 set of halogen lights – not used in summer

Plus, I have a battery operated water timer controller to keep the water level relatively constant. I let the water level fall about 4–5 cm per day and then slowly refill it over 3 hours from 4:30 am to 7:30 am so the fill water remains cool.
Lucky fish.

LadyMarissa's avatar

@LuckyGuy Damn,I want to come to live in your pond!!! LoL

LuckyGuy's avatar

Oh!!! I forgot the floating skimmer! That brings the list to 9 electrical items!
@LadyMarissa You are welcome but it really isn’t big enough. It is only about 1000 gallons and 100 square ft.

LadyMarissa's avatar

^^^^ My butt’s big but NOT that big!!! ;)
Thanks for the offer!!!

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