They’re everyone’s least favorite summer visitor. They’re not only irritating, they spread diseases. But there’s a new weapon in the war against mosquitoes. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont.
“Mosquitoes are attracted to this device because it actually mimics humans. There’s really no way they can tell the difference, from a distance. Obviously, when they get close, their eyes are such that could tell that this isn’t a human leg. ”
But by then, says Bruce Wigton, it’s too late. His company’s device, the Mosquito Magnet, has sucked them in. The Mosquito Magnet is about the size of a barbecue grill, and it attracts mosquitoes the same way people do when we breath and sweat. “This trap catalyzes propane, or burns it without a flame. The propane is turned into carbon dioxide, water vapor, and heat. Now, those are the same byproducts that we, as humans, make when we metabolize food.”
The Mosquito Magnet works with two fans. “One fan blows the carbon dioxide plume along the ground, the mosquitoes approach the trap, and the other fan blows them into a bag.”
The second fan takes advantage of the typical flight patterns of mosquitoes.
“They turn up when they’re alarmed, they don’t turn down. We make it so that immediately when they know that they’re not in the right place, they try to turn up and we take advantage of that to suck them into a bag.”
The device is powered by a generator, so it can be used virtually anywhere outdoors, and is said to be effective over an acre of land. The U.S. military would apparently vouch for that. The Coast Guard was about to abandon a bug-infested base in the Bahamas, until the Mosquito Magnet made it livable. To hear some of your favorite Pulse of the Planet programs again online, please visit nationalgeographic.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.