Aedes (Ochlerotatus) sp.mosquito on human
skin. Click the image for more information about it.
Curtain" Blocks Unwanted Insect Pests From Airplanes
By Jim Core
March 9, 2004
A system developed by
Agricultural Research Service scientists
uses a "curtain of air" to prevent disease-carrying insects from
Researchers at the ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary
Entomology in Gainesville, Fla., developed a method for using high-velocity
"air curtains" in passenger walkways to provide a barrier against
these problem insects. Passenger walkways are the bridgelike structures that
passengers enter to board the airplane from the gate.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) sponsored a pilot study of the curtain
system with ARS scientists in Gainesville. Results of the study show that air
curtains can exclude 99 percent of flying insects (mosquitoes and flies),
according to Robert K. Vander Meer, acting research leader of the ARS
Mosquito and Fly
Research Unit. The U.S. Department of
Agriculture, DOT and several other government agencies demonstrated the
system today at Miami International
Airport. ARS is USDA's chief scientific research agency.
The estimated cost of the two vertically mounted air curtains is about
$3,000. The system provides a safer alternative to insecticidal methods
Certain countries--including India, Australia, Jamaica, Grenada, and
Trinidad and Tobago--require airlines to ensure that aircraft are insect-free
before passengers get off the plane. The countries want to prevent mosquitoes,
flies and other insects that may spread diseases, such as malaria and West Nile
virus, from crossing their borders.
The curtain is made of air blown away from the passenger doors by fans on
either side of the walkway, at an air speed of at least 1 meter per second.
Insects cannot penetrate the barrier. Companies already manufacture similar air
curtains for other purposes, such as blocking heat from entering rooms in