Just because summer is ending, it doesn’t mean it’s time to let your guard down when it comes to pesky bugs, especially mosquitoes.
In fact, “Mosquitoes are the most dangerous creature on the planet and they transmit a number of different diseases,” says Joseph Conlon, Technical Advisor, American Mosquito Control Association
In the U.S., the most dangerous mosquito-borne illnesses include the Zika Virus, West Nile Virus and various forms of Encephalitis. “I don’t think before Zika that people really realized, in the United States, how dangerous it could be,” says Dan Kline, Ph.D., a Research Entomologist with the USDA specializing in mosquito and fly research.
While we know to protect ourselves from bugs outside, now there are devices aimed at giving you an extra line of defense if any of the bugs find their way inside. Some devices, like Zevo, claim to attract bugs with UV or other forms of light. Others, like Dynatrap, lure with carbon dioxide, and still others with ultrasonic or electromagnetic waves.
Are mosquitoes likely to bite? “Well, it’s like if you walk down a smorgasbord table. You’re offering with most of these devices, one or two items and they’re looking for more,” says Dr. Kline.
Both experts believe that the bugs are likely to choose people over the current technology, but Conlon says a plug-in might work if no one is in a room. He says, “I think they’ve got some promise, no question about that. But the state of the technology right now isn’t such that they’re going to solve your problems.”
Devices vary with some stating it can take weeks for max results. But we plugged in several for a single day just to see what would happen. One in particular, the Dynatrap, nabbed several mosquitoes. Conlon says indoor traps may be an extra step, but are not a first line of defense.
“The downside is that if you put too much faith in these things, you might not do other things that are even more important” to protect you outside and keep bugs from getting in.
He calls it the Three D’s:
- Drain any standing water outside
- Dress appropriately while outside, which can also prevent bugs from hitching a ride inside
- Defend with an EPA-registered repellent, including one for indoors
As for research on how to attract, repel and kill mosquitoes? Conlon says, “We’re merely scratching the surface.”
We reached out to some device companies. Dynatrap responded telling us that traps should be left on 24-7, and that maximum results could be expected after a six to eight-week time period.
As for competing with humans, a representative tells us that: “Dynatrap uses both UV light and carbon dioxide to catch insects so we don't need to produce the same C02 levels that a human would emit. “