Street Lights Lure Mosquitoes

There is an interesting article in the Smithsonian magazine online about new street lights using a scent to attract mosquitoes. Written by Danny Lewis at, this article discusses this great new idea that seems to be working. This could be a major breakthrough for countries where thousands of people die due to malaria and other diseases carried by mosquitoes.
From the article "When setting a trap, it makes sense to tailor the bait to the tastes of whatever critter you’re trying to snag. Whether it’s a mousetrap or a roach motel, that old saying about catching more flies with honey tends to be true. So when it comes to baiting mosquito traps, it makes sense to make them smell like one of their favorite foods: people.

A group of researchers at the University of Malaysia have developed a new kind of street lamp that not only uses energy-efficient LEDs to light dark streets, but also act as mosquito traps by exuding an odor that mimics natural human scents. According to lead researcher Chong Wen Tong, the lamp emits low levels of carbon dioxide mixed with titanium dioxide and ultraviolet light, the combination of which drives mosquitoes wild, Carla Kweifio-Okai reports for The Guardian.

“The mosquito trap takes advantage of the mosquito’s sensory abilities by tricking them with features that mimic the odors associated with humans,” Chong tells Kweifio-Okai. Once the scent lures in the unsuspecting mosquito, a fan sucks them into a net inside the street light that makes it impossible for them to get away.

Chong developed the combination street lamp/mosquito trap as a way to bring better light sources to Malaysian cities and remote communities while fighting the disease-spreading insects. In addition to dangerous diseases like malaria, mosquitoes also spread dengue fever, which has grabbed a particularly strong foothold in Asian and Pacific countries over the last 50 years. According to the World Health Organization, 1.8 billion people in Asia and the Pacific are at risk of being infected with dengue annually, and about 500,000 people worldwide are hospitalized from the disease each year. Across Asia, the economic impact of dengue fever alone is an estimated $2 billion per year, Kweifio-Okai reports.

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