How New Gadgets Could Keep Mosquitoes at Bay

How New Gadgets Could Keep Mosquitoes at Bay

A new mosquito repellent developed for the military works without electricity or skin contact. Researchers say the gadget can be attached to your clothes. It is one of a growing number of new mosquito repellent technologies.

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The whining of mosquitoes may soon be less irritating, thanks to a growing number of new devices.

A device developed for the military with the help of researchers at the University of Florida would protect against mosquitoes. The gadget works for an extended period of time and does not require heat, electricity or skin contact. According to World Health Organization estimates, mosquito-borne diseases kill some 725,000 people a year.

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

More mosquitoes?

The mosquito repellent device uses the repellent transfluthrin, effectively preventing multiple species of mosquitoes from entering the test site. Transfluthrin is an organic insecticide considered safe for humans and animals.

The gadget consists of a tube-shaped polypropylene plastic 2.5 centimeters long and contains two smaller tubes and cotton containing the repellent. The team tied 70 devices to the opening of a large military tent using fishing line and nothing to a similar control tent. Caged mosquitoes were released at various locations along the outside of the tent and nearly all were killed or repelled within 24 hours.

“Our device eliminates the need to apply topical repellents and insecticides that are sprayed over an open area, which can contaminate surrounding plants or water bodies and negatively impact beneficial pollinators like bees and bees. butterflies,” Nagarajan Rajagopal, one of the device’s inventors, said in the press release. “It is versatile, portable, easy to deploy and does not require electricity or heat to activate the solution.”

Gulshan Hajara Banu, 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 depending on several factors, including the activity level of the users. mosquitoes in a given area and the individual. user exposure level.

“It is important to note that it should always 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 the device was developed with soldiers in mind.

“Often deployed soldiers don’t like to use the traditional topical skin repellents that are available to them,” he added. “Many don’t like the smell or feel of these chemicals. Although they can use them, compliance is an issue. Space repellents will hopefully protect one or a group of soldiers deployed with a minimal participation and compliance on their part.”

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Kline said his team had just started evaluating the new tick device. “In this case, they are either attached to the laces of our hiking boots or to a cuff placed at the interface of our pants and boots,” he added.

More help on the way

Scientists at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have recently developed another new type of wearable insect repellent. Using a 3D printer, the active ingredient is first “encapsulated” and shaped into the desired shape, like a ring, which can then be worn and releases an agent designed to repel mosquitoes for a long 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. This is why we use this agent for our experiments,” said Professor René Androsch from the MLU in the press 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 a much longer period, such as encapsulating it in a wearable ring or bracelet.

Ultimately, which mosquito repellent device to use will come down to individual preferences and needs, Banu said. “The University of Florida device is certainly an exciting development in the field of mosquito repellent technology and has the potential to provide very effective protection against mosquitoes,” she added.

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