Jun 23, 2012

OL Mosquito Trap-- A Safe and Cheap Way to Avoid Dengue

The vaccine for dengue may just be around the corner.  But experts say it could come out in 2014, or 2 years from now.  That means 730 days of potentially being bitten by the dengue virus vector—Aedes aegyptii and Aedes albopictus.  In the meanwhile, all I could do to allay my fears of dengue would be to pray;  to screen off all entrypoints of the house; and slather on my trusty citronella oil.

Fortunately, we now have another alternative, an innovation of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) and the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI).  This ingenious and inexpensive device is the OL Trap, short for Ovicide Larvicide Trap.  While citronella oil shoos away mosquitoes, the OL trap reduces the population of mosquitoes.  Do both and you’ll double the comfort and peace of mind.

How it Works
The design of the OL Trap is based on scientific knowledge of the life cycle and habits of mosquitoes.  We know that male mosquitoes do not eat blood meals and thus are innocent from the crime of transmitting the dengue virus to humans.  The bloody culprits are the female mosquitoes as they are the ones which need to suck up human blood to lay eggs.  What they usually do is they mate with a male, bite about 3 persons to get their full blood meal and then find some water-containing, dark-colored place to lay their eggs into.  The eggs hatch into larva, which become pupa, which then grow into adult mosquitoes.  Based on this mosquito life cycle, the innovators designed a trap which is natural, safe and cheap.


Materials
  • A black or dark-colored cup, container or vessel with water
  • A paddle-like piece of wood (like lawanit), stick or twig 
  • OL pellets
 The black or dark-colored container—could be a black plastic cup or black pail—serves to attract pregnant female mosquitoes.  The water catches the eggs laid by the mosquitoes. The stick or twig is where the mosquitoes land on or hold onto while laying their eggs.  The DOST recommends lawanit as it is porous and thus absorbs more of the OL solution.

The OL or ovicide-larvicide pellets are dissolved in the water and do two things—they attract pregnant mosquitoes and kill the eggs and the larvae.  What is amazing with these pellets is that these are organic compounds derived from plants and are safe on humans.

So basically, the OL Trap works by luring pregnant mosquitoes to lay their eggs into an egg-killing solution.  (How wise is that?)  The eggs do not grow into adults and the population thus dwindles.  If, for example, the female mosquitoes laid a hundred eggs, the OL Trap thus killed 100 potential dengue virus transmitters.

Procedure
  1. Set up the OL trap in a dark, cool and undisturbed area away from direct sunlight and rainfall.
  2. After 7 days, you will see eggs sticking onto the paddle (you can be assured the rest are dead in the solution).  Using an old toothbrush, brush the eggs from the paddle and into the solution.  Throw away the solution onto dry ground—not into canals where surviving eggs could thrive again.
  3. Set up another OL trap and repeat step 2 a week after.  It helps to set a day each week for doing this, say every Saturday (for easy recall).
Next up:  Where we can buy the OL pellets?  Are they being sold in pharmacies?  If anyone knows, please tell us.

Photo Credit: sites.science.ph

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