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New Mosquito Trap in Time for Summer

By Tara Weaver-Missick
July 13, 1999

Mosquitoes are in for trouble this summer, thanks to a new trap that effectively attracts and kills mosquitoes and biting flies. The trap was co-developed under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between Agricultural Research Service and BioSensory, Inc., of Willimantic, Conn.

The trap, registered under the trade name Dragonfly, was named for the insect that is a mosquito predator. The trap lures mosquitoes with a blend of carbon dioxide, heat and octenol, the same chemical cues that attract mosquitoes and other biting insects in nature. Mosquitoes find their human and animal blood meals first by sensing carbon dioxide in breath. Mosquitoes can sense carbon dioxide up to 100 feet away. They also can find their prey using heat sensors on their antennae.

The trap mimics the human or animal blood system, which helps lure mosquitoes to the trap. The difference is that when mosquitoes hone in on the target and stop to dine, they are killed with an electronic pulse and fall into a removable tray. That’s a big advantage over traditional electrical bug-zapping type traps that splatter the insect everywhere into tiny bits.

Entomologist Daniel L. Kline, with ARS’ Mosquito and Fly Research Unit, part of the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Fla., conducted field studies showing that the trap was effective in capturing mosquitoes.

The attractants are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for controlling mosquitoes and other biting insects. ARS and BioSensory have a joint patent on the attractants used in the trap, with one patent pending.

The trap should be commercially available this summer from BioSensory. Questions regarding the availability and costs should be directed to the company’s marketing vice president, William A. Gregoricus.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency.

Scientific contact: Daniel L. Kline, ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Fla., phone (352) 374-5933, fax (352) 374-5922, William A. Gregoricus, BioSensory, Inc., Willimantic, Conn., phone (860) 423-3009, fax (860) 423-3028,