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Bug trap voted 2014’s most useless product

Last summer’s ubiquitous bug trap has been voted the most useless product of the year by the publishers of Finnish Nature magazine. The People’s Choice for the most futile product of 2014 was Pepsodent’s men’s toothpaste, which beat out other strong contenders such as the selfie stick and the pet stroller.

Yöperhonen lentää
Image: Arja Tuhkalainen

The panel put together by the conservationist publication selected the bug trap from more than 500 candidates on the grounds that it was indiscriminately harmful to both useful and pestilent insect species – everyone wants to get rid of pesky mosquitoes, but not at the expense of butterflies and moths that do important pollination work.

The folks at Finnish Nature pulled no punches in demolishing the absurdity of various kinds of bug traps, saying that they deserved the title of "items of mass destruction".

"In principle all insects that fly at night are in danger. The traps are extremely harmful to moths," explained Jaakko Kullberg, curator of Helsinki University’s Natural history Museum.

Many of the other items of dubious distinction that made it to the shortlist for this year’s honour had an olfactory theme.

They included scented paper tissues, currently marketed under the Serla brand by Metsä Tissue of the forestry products group, scented cat litter, perfumed toilet paper and familiar items such as scented candles and air fresheners. These products all upheld the ludicrous tradition established by the 2013 winner, the perfumed garbage bag. Other previous awardees included the flushable toilet paper roll and the automatic soap dispenser.

Smart forks and nail ovens: What were they thinking?

This year’s candidates also included technology-forward nominees such as the smart fork, the nail oven (a must-have for getting an expert nail polish finish in a rush), pheromone perfumes (designed to impart irresistible magnetism to the wearer), the selfie stick and the watch winder (a device that simulates the natural motion of a human wrist to wind automatic watches).

Pepsodent’s men’s toothpaste - which promises to deliver a glaringly white smile and a distinctive taste experience - edged out the selfie stick for the People’s Choice award in the competition. However the selfie stick did come in for an honourable mention from the publication’s readers.

“The stick is designed to make it easier to take selfies. On one end is a handle and on the other you can attach your smartphone. The stick is completely useless and it’s incredibly stupid-looking. In addition to which the entire selfie culture has begun to go beyond comprehension,” wrote reader Sanna Buller.

Bringing up the rear in third place for the People’s Choice award was another oddity loathed by the publication’s audience – the pet stroller.

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