Posts Tagged ‘Mosquito’

The One-Acre Mosquito Trap

July 30, 2013

I occasionally buy gifts from Hammacher-Schlemmer, even though they are a little too upscale for my budget. Even though I can’t afford most of their products, I still find it fascinating to browse through their catalog. They really do sell some unique items. One thing that caught my eye was the One-Acre Natural Attractant Mosquito Trap. Here is the description from their website.

This trap attracts and kills mosquitoes across one acre without harmful chemicals. The trap mimics the natural conditions of human habitation by emitting heat and odorless carbon dioxide (the same gas people expel during respiration) and light to lure mosquitoes. Carbon dioxide is generated when ultraviolet rays from two fluorescent bulbs react with a titanium dioxide coating inside the trap. When the mosquitoes are drawn inside the device, an integrated fan traps the insects and sends them to a removable net where they die of dehydration. Unlike propane systems that require frequent refills or electrocution traps that release pathogens when an insect is killed, this superior model uses 5,000-hour rated UV bulbs and does not create biological agents. Plugs into AC. 22″ H x 13″ Diam. (9 lbs.)

And a picture.

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I really like this,not only because I really, really hate mosquitoes, but also because it generates carbon dioxide, or “carbon pollution” as they call it these days. I would love to run this thing all year round just to increase my carbon footprint and promote global warming/climate change/climate catastrophe/ climate something bad. At $199.95,the mosquito trap is more than I can afford, but it might be worth the money just to irritate global warming alarmists.

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Mutant Mosquitoes

December 7, 2012

This story I read at The Daily Mail sounds like it could be the beginning of a really bad horror movie.

English: Mosquito on finger This image is part...

English: Mosquito on finger This image is part of a set of UF/IFAS images specifically released for Creative Commons usage. Please do not alter or delete attribution watermark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes are awaiting federal approval for release into the Florida Keys as part of an experiment aimed at reducing the risk of dengue fever.

Mosquito control officials have requested the Food and Drug Administration’s sign off on the experiment that would be the first of its kind in the U.S.

Some residents of the tourist town of Key West worry though on how much research has been done to determine the risks of releasing genetically modified mosquitoes on the Keys’ fragile ecosystem.

Officials are targeting the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes because they can spread dengue fever, a disease health officials thought had been eradicated in the U.S. until 93 cases originated in the Keys in 2009 and 2010.

The trial planned by mosquito control officials and the British company Oxitec would release non-biting male mosquitoes that have been genetically modified to pass along a birth defect that kill their progeny before reaching maturity.

The idea is that they will mate with wild females and their children will die before reproducing. After a few generations, Key West’s Aedes aegypti population would die off, reducing the dengue fever risk without using pesticides and at relatively a low cost, the proponents say. There is no vaccine for dengue fever.

English: Stegomyia aegypti (formerly Aedes aeg...

English: Stegomyia aegypti (formerly Aedes aegypti) mosquito biting a human. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘The science of it, I think, looks fine. It’s straight from setting up experiments and collecting data,’ said Michael Doyle, pointing to research Oxitec has had published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He inherited the project when he took the lead at the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District in mid-2011.

The district’s website says the modified genes will disappear from the environment after the mosquitoes carrying it die, resulting in no permanent change to the wild mosquito population. The district also says that the mosquito species isn’t native to the Keys, nor is it an integral food source for other animals.

Dengue fever is a viral disease that inflicts severe flu-like symptoms — the joint pain is so severe its nickname is ‘breakbone fever.’ It isn’t fatal but victims are then susceptible at subsequent exposures to dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be.

‘It’s very uncomfortable. You ache all over, you have a terrible fever,’ said Joel Biddle, a Key West resident whose dengue fever symptoms lasted more than a week in 2009.

Biddle is among those concerned about the Key West trial. He worries the modified genetic material will somehow be passed to humans or the ecosystem, and he wants more research done. He and other Key West residents also chafe at the fact that the project was in the works long before it was made public late last year.

The public resistance and the need to reach some agreement between mosquito control and the public, I see that as a very significant issue, outside of the (operating) costs, since this is not just a one-time thing,’ Lounibos said.

The Aedes aegypti has shown resistance to pesticides used to control other species, and is the most difficult for the district to manage. Common in the Southeast and the Caribbean, it lurks in standing water around homes and businesses and can breed in containers as small as bottle caps.

District inspectors go door-to-door to remove the standing water where they breed, a time-consuming task. The district spends roughly $1 million a year to suppress Aedes aegypti, 10 to 15 percent of the agency’s budget, Doyle said.

‘Unfortunately, control of Aedes aegypti is a never-ending job,’ said Larry Hriber, the mosquito control district’s research director.

In the trial, thousands of male mosquitoes bred by Oxitec would be released in a handful of Key West blocks where the Aedes aegypti is known to breed; the number of mosquitoes in those neighborhoods would be measured against the numbers from similar blocks where no modified mosquitoes were released.

What happens next is that the genetic modifications cause the mosquitoes to grow to giant size, or there mosquitoes turn out to be fertile and their female descendants bite human and turn them into weird mosquito creatures, or something. Well if they could make a bad movie about giant killer rabbits why not one about giant killer mosquitoes?

The truth is that mosquitoes are responsible for more human fatalities than any other animal by carrying diseases like malaria and dengue fever. It really wouldn’t bother me in the least if the whole mosquito family were made extinct. That, would of course, be bad for various ecosystems since bats and other animals feed on them, but still I don’t like mosquitoes at all.

Human Swallows Pill. Mosquito Bites Human. Mosquito Dies.

July 12, 2011
None - This image is in the public domain and ...

Image via Wikipedia

From the New York Times. I like this.

A cheap deworming pill used in Africa for 25 years against river blindness was recently shown to have a power that scientists had long suspected but never before demonstrated in the field: When mosquitoes bite people who have recently swallowed the drug — called ivermectin or Mectizan — they die.

Where can I get some of this? I would love to watch mosquitoes die. It turns out, though, there are a couple of drawbacks.

Other scientists caution that while the mosquito-poisoning trick is pretty nifty, it is not very practical: For it to work effectively, nearly everyone in a mosquito-infested area must take the pills simultaneously.

Getting thousands of villagers to do that even in annual deworming campaigns is a logistical nightmare, scientists said. The mosquito-killing effect appears to fade out within a month, so it would need to be repeated monthly.

Also, in rare cases, the otherwise safe drug can be lethal.

It doesn’t seem to kill the mosquitoes right away. It shortens their life span so that they do not live long enough to acquire the parasites that cause malaria. That’s not as much fun as having mosquitoes bite me and then die, but it could be very useful for controlling malaria. Still this is Africa so distribution is a problem. Not to mention health problems not generally found in the developed world.

We hand it out once a year,” said the parasitologist, Dr. Frank O. Richards Jr. “I’m pushing for twice a year, and people want to kill me. It’s very difficult to imagine a once-a-month program anywhere.”

It might be useful, he suggested, in areas with brief, intense malaria seasons.

Also, when people with lots of worms are treated, they suffer fever and intense itching as the worms die. Though that might be bearable once a year, it discourages people from seeking treatment more frequently. And ivermectin is dangerous for a few people — those infested with large numbers of a relatively rare West African worm, the loa loa. These worms circulate in the blood and lungs and may jam capillaries when they die, potentially causing coma or death. Detecting them means drawing blood and viewing it under a microscope.

Still, it is promising and I hope it works out.

Did I mention that I really hate mosquitoes?

Hat tip to Instapundit.

 

Stinky Feet and Mosquitos

May 30, 2011

From Physorg.com. Here is some news we can use. It seems that mosquitos are not only attracted to humans by the carbon dioxide we exhale, but they are also attracted by certain foot odors so they can attack near the ankles. I’ve always wondered why mosquito bites seemed to be concentrated around my ankles. Remco Suer has been doing some research into this in order to manipulate mosquito behavior, especially the species that carry malaria.

Remco Suer started by experimenting on the African , . He knew that prior research had found that human foot bacteria produce about ten separate odors, some more attractive to mosquitoes than others. Suer, who did the study as part of his doctorate in at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, showed that these foot odors are detected by that control smell, which are present underneath hair-like structures on the mouthparts of the malaria mosquito.

Suer tested their in the labratory by pumping additional CO2 into a container to simulate , then added a high concentration of five different foot odors and found that the mosquitoes were unable to react to the CO2 for several seconds. The sole-ful odors actually stopped mosquitoes from sensing CO2 from breathing — which could be a reason why malarial mosquitoes divert when honing in on a person and move instead to the feet at close ranges.

But Suer pointed out that this doesn’t mean people with especially funky feet are more likely to get nibbled on.

“It is not the amount of odors produced, but which particular odors and ratio between them that makes a difference. Finding these odors and their respective ratio’s brings us one step closer to manipulating the mosquito’s behavior.”

They hope to be able to lure mosquitos away using traps with the appropriate odors. Here’s one especially promising line of research;

Kline’s research has taken him to do similar experiments with dirty socks — including a pair he wore for 12 hours per day, for three days in a row.

“We actually got the female mosquitoes to respond to the socks,” he said.

Using the olfactory prowess of the malaria-bearing mosquito against it is a useful trick.

Maybe gym-shoe odors could possibly do the trick.

I wouldn’t mind smelling like an old gym shoe if it kept the blood suckers away.


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