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UF start-up, INZECTO, helps fight mosquitoes in areas hit hardest by Hurricane Ian

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

A product developed in a University of Florida lab, designed to protect American

soldiers from insect-borne diseases, is helping wage war against the surge of

mosquitoes in areas hardest hit by Hurricane Ian.


The INZECTO Mosquito Trap, co-created by Dr. Phil Koehler, a UF distinguished professor in

the department of entomology and nematology, is an easy-to-use, environmentally

friendly, and effective mosquito-killing device. The Gainesville-based company

donated 100,000 traps this week to communities struggling with large populations of

mosquitoes due to the floodwaters left behind by the hurricane’s rain and storm

surges.

“The INZECTO trap is designed to provide

protection and relief from mosquitoes

after major weather events like Ian

where there is limited or no power,” said

Koehler. “The trap does not need

electricity to work – it only needs to be

filled with water, placed in shade and left

undisturbed. There is no spraying or

zapping. Beneficial insects like bees and

The INZECTO Mosquito Trap (black, red top) sits in a UF lab other pollinators are not attracted to the

where it was invented alongside a container of live mosquitos. trap.”

Photo by TylerJones UF/IFAS Photography

The traps have been deployed in four Florida counties, including Orange, Lee,

Charlotte and Collier. The $2.3-million donation supplements the counties’ efforts

with air and ground assaults through their mosquito control divisions. INZECTO has

joined forces with partners, including the UF/IFAS Extension offices, Florida Master

Gardner Volunteer programs, mosquito control districts and county parks and

recreation centers to distribute the devices.


Koehler, who invented the trap in UF’s urban entomology laboratory with involvement

from UF entomology professor Roberto Pereira and Chris Batich, a professor in the

department of material science and engineering, said the commercialization and

deployment of INZECTO Mosquito Traps are a culmination of about 10 years of

research.


Initial R&D funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Deployed

Warfighter Protection program. The Pentagon needed mosquito traps that would be

easy to use by American troops overseas.


“We took what we know about mosquitoes and what attracts them to create the

perfect trap for pests,” he said.


The INZECTO Mosquito Trap is made of partially recycled and fully recyclable plastic

with ribbed sides. Its red and black colors are highly preferred by resting and egglaying

female mosquitoes that bite. The trap requires minimal maintenances and is

simply activated by adding water. The females enter the trap to lay their eggs and

100% of the mosquito larvae are killed by the micro-dose coating of insecticides

imbedded into the plastic. The insecticides are on the inside of the trap for no

contact.

Orange County Extension Director Kevin

Camm said several areas in Orlando

received an influx of water from the

hurricane, and nearly a month later, they

still contend with floodwaters and

continued rainfall.


“When you have this much standing

water, you are going to get large

populations of mosquitoes,” he said. “We

need to get rid of them as quickly as

possible because not only are they a

nuisance, but they also carry disease.”


Camm said the county is grateful for the

“friendly” donation of INZECTO’s mosquito Jamie Fowler, (with clipboard) with the Lee County traps, which are being distributed in the Mosquito Control District, helped distribute the INZECTO

east and west side of Orange County to Mosquito Trap in Fort Myers on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

homeowners at no cost. Each mosquito

trap covers 1,500 square feet, and they are

offering two traps per household.


“We are very happy to have UF-patented technology help our community,” Camm

said. “They will last for months and right into the dry season.”


Originally Published by Karen Dooley October 28, 2022

© University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611


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