A newly developed solar-powered mosquito trap has led to a 70 per cent decline in the population of malaria-carrying mosquitos on the Kenyan island of Rusinga. A total of 4,500 traps have been installed, resulting in a 30 per cent decline in the number of malaria infections.
According to the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), which is participating in the project together with the Wageningen University and the Kenyan International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), the mosquito traps are popular among the local population precisely because they are powered by the sun: solar panels were installed on the roofs of homes to power the mosquito traps but can also be used to provide the homes with power for light or to charge mobile phones.
The traps attract the mosquitos by emitting human odour, and a solar-powered fan sucks the mosquitos into the trap. One of the biggest advantages with the newly developed traps is that they don’t require insecticides. This means they have no negative impact on the environment and are very unlikely to cause resistance among mosquitos. The odour-baited traps could even used to stop the spread of Zika and Dengue epidemics, according to a recently published study assessing the project’s results.