On Flyswatters

Published by patrick honner on

Designing a flyswatter is an interesting exercise in optimization.

You want it have enough holes so that it can quickly achieve swatting speed, but you don’t want it to have so many holes as to substantially decrease the chance of actually making contact with the pest.

I wonder if there is an industry standard for a flyswatter’s empty-space-to-surface-area ratio.

patrick honner

Math teacher in Brooklyn, New York


Mr Li · July 15, 2010 at 3:31 pm

This sounds like an interesting question. What i can think of is that we can measure fly sizes. We can make the holes on the further away from the handle larger, and the holes nearer to the handle smaller to therefore reducing air resistance and able to swat any fly size.

Mr Cheah · July 16, 2010 at 11:57 am

Enter the electric fly swatter. The netting is about the size of a badminton racket’s, giving you a higher chance of hitting the flying bug. The netting is made with thin metal wire, which offers less air resistance than the thick plastic netting on a conventional fly swatter. Yes, the electric swatter weighs more than the conventional swatter, but if you have enough muscle to swing a badminton racket, then you also have the muscle to swing this electric swatter. The electric swatter is rigid so it doesn’t flex like a conventional swatter, improving accuracy. Then comes the loud POP when the metal net makes contact with the bug, sending six legs and two wings flying in all directions. Top it all off with the smell of incinerated bug and you’ll want to go on a bug killing spree.
You can also try having one electric swatter in each hand and strategically trap and zap the flying bug.

Ms. Tan · August 23, 2010 at 8:03 pm

I recently went over to my friend (Ms.Huang)’s house and I noticed her electric fly swatter. Basically, instead of just having one layer of netting, there are multiple layers of netting. The size of the holes of each layer of netting differs — on one layer they are small, on another they are large. I think this design fits what you are looking for.

Picture: http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs141.ash2/40382_461238251562_779826562_6357956_2609641_n.jpg

(The smaller holes aren’t that clear.)

MrHonner · August 23, 2010 at 9:38 pm

I do not believe this is a fly-swatter. This looks more like a homemade racquet for some sort of imaginary racquet-game that one plays by oneself, perhaps against one’s shadow.

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