Ultimate Mosquito Trap Invented By Mexicans

This could have world wide implications, as mosquitos are responsible for more deaths than any other critter

A Mexican researcher working at a Canadian university has developed a promising new system for trapping female mosquitoes and destroying their eggs. And good news for the third world countries especially hard hit by this curse, all the trap costs is an old tire and an inexpensive solution containing a pheromone.

Gerardo Ulibarri, who has had years of experience designing mosquito traps, and Ángel Betanzos and Mireya Betanzos, two collaborators from Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health, has released the results of a study carried out in Guatemala showing their trap was nearly seven times more effective at destroying mosquito larvae than other conventional ones.

The study put 84 ovillantas, as Ulibarri’s trap is called, against 84 conventional traps. The ovillanta won hands down, trapping 181,336 mosquito eggs during a 10-month period last year. The others caught just 27,053 eggs. Makes true believers out of us.

An associate professor at Laurentian University in Ontario, Ulibarri and other researchers developed a trap for the Celux mosquito, which carries the West Nile virus. The results were impressive: in 2008 they reduced the number of mosquitoes that can carry the virus by 90% in northern Ontario.

One secret of the trap’s success is the pheromone solution placed inside: it attracts lady mosquitoes which then lay their eggs on pieces of wood or paper floating on the surface. The eggs are removed from the trap twice a week and destroyed.

Unlike other traps, where the solution is replaced regularly, Ulibarri’s trap recycles the liquid, which has been found to be more effective the longer it is used.

“The pheromone indicates to other females that that place is a good place for the babies to be born,” Ulibarri said. “By recycling the solution and eliminating the larvae through a filter, we are using their own smells to attract more mosquitoes.” To their death.

The trap is constructed with pieces of tire — three traps can be made from one tire. And as we all know, a tire used for a mosquito trap is one less tire for the dump where it will eventually catch on fire.

The Guatemala study was conducted in the hope of finding a means to control dengue fever with a trap. At just about the same time, along came zika which, along with chikungunya, is carried by the same mosquito.

“We were very timely,” says Ulibarri. The researchers also found that during the period they were trapping mosquitoes in Guatemala there wasn’t a single case of dengue in the area. Yet there were many cases in other nearby communities, Ulibarri said.

But just what would happen if we snuffed them all out?

Mosquitoes don’t have too many fans. Their bites are itchy, they spread disease, and their numbers swell rapidly.

 Mosquito larvae are very important in aquatic ecology. (Water living critters). Many other insects and small fish feed on them and the loss of that food source would cause their numbers to decline as well. Anything that feeds on them, such as game fish, raptorial birds, etc. would in turn suffer too.

Mosquitoes can be wiped out but the ecological damage that would be necessary (draining swamps/wetlands, applying pesticides over wide areas), along with strict regulatory enforcement, would make eradication not worth it unless there was a very serious public health emergency.