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Zika Update: Canada Develops Cheap Way Of Killing Mosquito Eggs Using Old Car Tires

Apr 11, 2016 05:10 AM EDT
Sao Paulo Lab Produces Genetically-Modified Mosquitoes To Combat Zika Virus
CAMPINAS, BRAZIL - FEBRUARY 11: A Biologist works with genetically modified mosquitoes on February 11, 2016 in Campinas, Brazil. Technicians from the Oxitec laboratory located in Campinas, 100km from Sao Paulo, are releasing genetically modified mosquitoes Aedes Egypti to combat Zika virus. The laboratory is acting in Piracicaba who had a dengue outbreak last summer with 132 cases and after treatment showed only two cases this summer .The Lab will release 250,000 genetically modified mosquitoes in two neighborhoods with a large concentration of incident cases of egypti aedes mosquito, the modified mosquitoes compete with wild mosquitoes and replace them with non-Zika transmitting mosquitoes.
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A team of innovators from Canada and Mexico has designed an effective mosquito trap that was made using cheap, accessible and environment-friendly materials.

According to their press release, the new mosquito trap, dubbed as "ovillanta," is made out of two 50-centimeter sections of old car tires that were put together, creating a mouth-like shape. The said contraption has a fluid release valve at the bottom.

Mosquitoes are lured into the trap with a milk-based, non-toxic solution located inside the lower cavity of the tire. 

A wooden or paper strip is placed in the artificial pond inside the "ovillanta" to serve as the catcher of mosquito eggs. The strips are removed from the trap twice a week to analyze the collected mosquito eggs.

The analyzed eggs are destroyed using fire or ethanol. The strip will then be drained, filtered and recycled back into the trap.

As more mosquitoes lay their eggs in the trap, more mosquito pheromones are concentrated. Mosquito pheromone is the chemical perfume of female insects that helps other mosquitoes identify a safe breeding spot.

To test the effectiveness of the "ovillanta," researchers conducted a 10-month study in the remote, urban area of Guatemala.

The study, published in the journal F1000 Science, showed that the rubber "ovillanta" is significantly more effective at luring mosquito than the standard traps made from one-liter buckets.

In the course of 10 months, researchers collected and destroyed a monthly average of 18,100 mosquito eggs using 84 "ovillantas" in seven neighborhoods in Sayaxche. This is seven times higher compared to the 2,700 eggs monthly average of the standard traps put in the same place.

Researchers also noted the disappearance of new dengue cases in the area where the "ovillanta" study were conducted.

The team gave three reasons why they used tires to develop the trap.

1. Old tires are known to be a breeding site for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, about 29 percent chose to breed in tires.

2. They are easily accessible and cheap.

3. Recycling old tires help clean the environment.

Aedes aegypti mosquito is the known carrier of the Zika Virus. It is also responsible for the spread of dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever, according to Science Alert.

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