How New Gadgets Could Keep Mosquitoes at Bay

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Thanks to a growing number of new devices, mosquito bites may soon become less annoying.

A contraption developed for the military with the help of University of Florida researchers protects against mosquitoes. The gadget works for extended periods of time and requires no heat, electricity, or skin contact. The World Health Organization estimates that mosquito-borne diseases kill 725,000 people annually.

The newly created gadget “can be attached to different articles of clothing at different levels of the body,” Daniel Klein, a USDA research entomologist and one of the device’s creators, told Lifewire in an email interview. “For example, say a fisherman, golfer, or hiker wears a hat.”

No mosquitoes?

The mosquito device uses the repellent transfluthrin, effectively preventing many species of mosquitoes from entering the test site. Transfluthrin is a biological pesticide considered safe for humans and animals.

The gadget consists of a 2.5 cm long tube shaped polypropylene plastic and contains two smaller tubes and cotton. The team attached 70 tools to open a large military tent using fishing line and nothing in the same control tent. Mosquitoes caged at various points on the outside of the tent were released, and nearly all were killed or driven off within 24 hours.

“Our device eliminates the need for applying topical repellents and outdoor spraying of pesticides, which can contaminate surrounding plants or water bodies and negatively impact beneficial pollinators such as bees and butterflies,” Nagarajan Rajagopal, one of the researchers. The device’s inventors said in a news release. “It is versatile, portable, easily deployed, and does not require electricity or heat to activate the solution.”

Gulshan Hazara Bano, CEO and founder of PestKeen, told Lifewire in an email that potential users of the new gadget should keep in mind that results may vary based on a number of factors, including mosquito activity in certain areas and the level of individuals. User’s exposure level.

“It is important to note that it should still be used in conjunction with other protective measures, such as wearing long sleeves and pants and using mosquito nets to ensure maximum protection,” Banu added.

Kline said the effectiveness of traditional chemical repellents depends on the user. He said that this device was made keeping soldiers in mind.

“Often deployed soldiers do not like to use the traditional skin repellents provided to them,” he added. “Many don’t like the smell or feel of these chemicals. Although they are available for use, compliance is an issue. We hope, one or a group of deployed soldiers will be protected with their minimal participation and compliance.”

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Kline said his team has just begun evaluating the new device against ticks. “In this case, they are either attached to the bootlaces of our hiking boots or cuffs placed at the interface of our pants and boots,” he added.

More help on the way

Scientists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have recently developed another new type of wearable insect-repellent delivery device. Using a 3D printer, the active ingredient is first ‘encapsulated’ and molded into a desired shape, such as a ring, which can then be worn and release an agent designed to repel mosquitoes over a long period of time.

The researchers developed their prototypes using IR3535, an insect repellent developed by MERCK. “Mosquito sprays containing IR3535 are very gentle on the skin and have been used worldwide for many years. That’s why we used the agent for our experiments,” MLU professor René Andros said in a news release. It is usually applied as a spray or lotion and provides several hours of protection. However, Androsch and his team are looking for ways to release the agent over much longer periods of time, such as by encapsulating it in a wearable ring or bracelet.

Ultimately, the choice of which anti-mosquito device to use comes down to personal preference and needs, Banu said. “The University of Florida device is certainly an exciting development in the field of anti-mosquito technology and has the potential to provide highly effective protection against mosquitoes,” he added.


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