Electronic fly killer units are not created equal, as Steve Broadbent, regional director of Ensystex, explains here. 

Electronic fly killer (EFK) units, that use glueboards to trap the flies, are the only flying insect control solution that fully meet the requirements of Food Standards Australia and HACCP programs in the food industry.

There are good reasons why the old- fashioned high-tension grid models should no longer be employed.

Insect control units with a high tension grid kill by an electrical discharge, which is so powerful that it causes particles of the insect body (wings, legs) to tear off. These insect fragments are not collected in the tray, and may eventually find their way into food consumed or food present in the area, causing decay and sickness. Bacteria and bits from exploding insects can travel two metres or more on air currents, creating a high risk of such food poisoning.

There are also numerous documented reports that the insect particles, and more particularly insect hairs, create serious health issues for people with respiratory conditions, such as bronchitis and asthma. For this reason, these units are banned in those areas in the US where people with health issues are likely to be present, such as waiting rooms, hospitals and medical areas.

High tension grids also cause sparking (noise) and even electrical interference; and they require much more power, meaning higher running costs. High tension grids are operated by a transformer (or capacitor). These transformers consume up to
20 W/hr, which results in an extra 175kW per unit per year. At a cost of 30 cents per kWh, the annual surcharges would be $52. Given a five to ten year life span for an EFK, this becomes a significant impost.

Since only glueboard based models meet the requirements and needs of concerned food establishments, the design and performance specifications of such models are critical, if optimal performance and speed of kill is to be achieved. Choosing a high-performance EFK trap, such as one from the Vectothor range from Ensystex, is the key to success.

Vectothor Harrier

A clear benefit to professional pest managers providing high quality EFKs to the market is the additional revenue stream that is generated from servicing these units. Indeed, with leading audit bodies increasingly specifying the use of glueboard-based EFKs as best practice, there is a strong focus now on regular servicing as part of the food audit process.

Regular servicing is essential to ensure the units work optimally, hygienically and safely. Typically, service cycles will complement service visits for other pest species, ensuring maximum productivity on a service run and increased revenue benefits.

Servicing needs to focus on the glueboard and light performance.


Premium quality boards, such as the UV-A/temperature optimised boards that form part of the Ensystex Vectothor range, are designed to
last at least three months, and can be changed without the technician getting covered in glue. The larger surface area and high-tack glue ensures more flies can be caught. Cheaper glueboards will often dry out much sooner and they are either not tacky enough to catch insects, or they are so tacky that the technician finds themselves coated in glue during the changeover process.

Catch analyses should form part of an EFK IPM service report to confirm flying insect activity. The Glueboard Fly Counting Software provided by Ensystex is a great assistance – all it takes is a photo on a smartphone to reveal an accurate count of the flies caught.

Lamp performance and maintenance

Lamps are required to be changed annually, with the exception of the unique Philips Long-life lamp, which only needs to be changed every two years. Lamps are ideally changed around August/September, prior to peak fly activity, which coincides with the quieter service months. The EFK itself should also be cleaned on each service visit Ensystex, in association with Astron and Philips, have performed extensive product testing of various lamps in the market and the performance differences are quite astonishing, with some only producing acceptable levels of UV-A light for only 6-10 weeks!

Previously it was difficult to measure the UV-A output of light tubes in the field, but a unique UV-Mobile Tester, marketed by Ensystex, now enables pest managers to show their clients, or potential clients, exactly what is going on. For too long, too many people have simply considered that if the tube shines blue, then it will attract flies. This is simply not the case.

Vectothor UV Mobile Tester. This clever unit fits into the headphone jack on a Smartphone to enable readings of UVA light emitted from EFKs

Flies are attracted to UV-A light in the sub-visible spectrum. This means we cannot see UV-A light. In fact, blue light is only added to the tubes light spectrum so we can tell if the unit is switched on or off! EFKs must give off at least 5 mW/m2 of UV-A light if they are to be effective. Once levels fall below this, the lamps should be changed. The Ensystex Astron and Philips lamps typically give off greater than 15 mW/m2.

When changing UV-A lamps, always clean the EFK thoroughly. Dirty reflectors and plastics can significantly reduce the useful UV-A performance of the lamps. This is especially the case when attraction grids are not cleaned.

Check the lamp sockets. Be sure that the lamps are correctly placed in the lamp sockets. Replace any which show worn springs or loose contacts. Poor lamp contacts can cause difficulty in lamp starting, shorten lamp life, cause premature end blackening, and possibly electrical arcing at the lamp ends.

Finally, remember to change the lamp starters regularly. After the European Union Removal of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive came into place, lamps have become more sensitive during start up. Generally, most manufacturers recommend changing the starters at every lamp replacement. A worn-out starter can quickly destroy a good lamp!

Quality and excellence in design

Vectothor Insect Traps feature European design excellence to achieve further performance benefits, together with cutting edge technology such as Natural UV-A Sunlight Technology and the use of Natural Contrast Grids to further improve performance and speed of kill.

Pot rivets are used in many cheaper models to clamp the metal parts together; yet this is forbidden in most food standards as these easily fill up with dirt and cannot be cleaned. Ensystex has spent a great deal of time to ensure that all units are smooth, not only for safety reasons, but also because of these hygienic reasons.

The importance of quality is reinforced by the entire supply chain being produced in ISO9000 accredited facilities to meet all relevant global international standards, which is backed up by a report from an accredited and authorised laboratory: TUV Rheinland.

Additionally, RoHS (Removal of Hazardous Substances) and chrome-6 declarations are available, with no heavy metals used during
the production of the units or the components. And, since each unit has a serial number, each lamp has a batch number, each shatterproof sleeving has a production batch number, and each ballast has a production batch number, it means complete traceability at all times. This is why Ensystex uniquely offers a two-year guarantee on the quality and performance of all Vectothor models.

Steve BroadbentRegional Director, Ensystex

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