Washington: A team of researchers has come up with a new mosquito trap that could be used to help slow the spread of the Zika virus around the globe.
Developed by Argentinian researchers from the Centro de Investigaciones de Plagas e Insecticidas, the trap can be used to effectively monitor and control the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is the primary transmitter of Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever.
The plastic ovitrap is a small cup made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) that has been infused with the larvicide pyriproxyfen. When the cup is filled with water, the larvicide is immediately released from the plastic.
Female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes prefer to deposit eggs in small containers such as pots and tires that contain water, so the trap is an attractive egg-laying location.
“This is a great idea,” said Grayson Brown of the University of Kentucky, who was not involved in the research. “Pyriproxyfen likes to move around in the environment. Molding it into the plastic like that keeps it where you put it.”
In their study, the researchers tested the trap on laboratory-raised Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and reported that the larvicide was 100 percent effective in preventing the larvae from developing into adults.
Dr. Brown thinks that the cups would be most effective on a neighborhood basis, with perhaps one or two cups in the equivalent of a back yard. He also believes that the concept of pyriproxyfen embedded in plastic can go well-beyond the small cups used in the study.
However, Brown cautioned that it is hardly a “silver bullet” and added that this is another potential tool to control mosquitoes and we need all the tools we can get.
Dr. Laura Harburguer, one of the co-authors, said that the scientists are preparing to do field trials of the trap in the fall, and that they are testing attractants to preferentially lure the mosquitoes to the ovitraps.
The trap is described in the Journal of Medical Entomology. (ANI)