Back to Top Skip to main content

Army invention traps things that go buzz in the day

Aedes albopictus, is one type of mosquito responsible for spreading dengue and yellow fevers as well as the Zika and chikungunya viruses, are common throughout eastern and southern portions of the United States, South America, and other parts of the world. (Courtesy photo) Aedes albopictus, is one type of mosquito responsible for spreading dengue and yellow fevers as well as the Zika and chikungunya viruses, are common throughout eastern and southern portions of the United States, South America, and other parts of the world. (Courtesy photo)

Recommended Content:

Mosquito-Borne Illnesses | Preventing Mosquito-Borne Illnesses | Bug-Borne Illnesses

Some mosquitoes aren’t merely a nuisance. They transmit serious and even deadly maladies to humans through their bites. That’s why Army entomologists invented a device that entices, traps, and then kills two types of adult female mosquitoes and their larvae.

The device is known commercially as Trap-N-Kill. The World Health Organization has recommended it to lower the risk of disease transmission by reducing mosquito populations.

Designed for outdoor use, the trap targets the mosquitoes responsible for spreading dengue and yellow fevers as well as the Zika and chikungunya viruses, among others. Those mosquitoes –Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus – are common throughout eastern and southern portions of the United States, South America, and other parts of the world, said Tom Burroughs, chief of the Entomological Sciences Division at the U.S. Army Public Health Center, or APHC.

Trap-N-Kill works by mimicking the mosquitoes’ natural breeding sites. (Courtesy photo)
Trap-N-Kill works by mimicking the mosquitoes’ natural breeding sites.(Courtesy photo)

The mosquitoes bite during daytime hours and breed in outdoor containers with standing water, including flowerpot saucers, birdbaths, and trash can lids. “They can breed in something as small as a bottlecap with a few drops of water in it,” Burroughs said.

Trap-N-Kill works by mimicking the mosquitoes’ natural breeding sites. Users place a plastic pesticide strip inside the approximately 8-inch-tall, cylinder-shaped device and then fill with water. Mosquitoes looking for a place to lay their eggs enter through a small hole in the front. The pesticide strip fatally poisons them and any larvae that hatch from the eggs, Burroughs said. The trap is reusable, but the pesticide strip should be replaced every month and a half.

It takes seven to 10 days for mosquitoes to develop from egg to adult, but Trap-N-Kill’s development cycle was significantly longer, Burroughs said. Two Army entomologists – Brian Zeichner, from APHC’s precursor, the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine; and Michael Perich, Ph.D., with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, or WRAIR – spent more than two decades working on their invention. Originally, it was used to monitor the type and number of mosquitoes in a specific area.

Trap-N-Kill became available to Department of Defense personnel through the military supply system starting in 2014. It’s also available through a commercial licensing agreement at civilian retail locations. APHC and WRAIR jointly hold the patent on the device, Burroughs said.

“We encourage installations and public health staffs to use it in combination with other mosquito-control strategies,” Burroughs said. “The trap reduces the amount of pesticide used and easily integrates into mosquito-management programs, and it can be removed when mosquitoes are no longer a problem.”

APHC offers more information about the Trap-N-Kill online.

You also may be interested in...

Moments in Military Medicine: Bug Week

Video
7/30/2019
Moments in Military Medicine: Bug Week

Learn about the connection between military medicine and yellow fever in this video

Recommended Content:

Bug-Borne Illnesses | Bug Week: July 27 - August 2

Bug Week: Mosquitoes

Video
7/22/2019
DHA Seal

What's the deadliest animal in the world? Mosquitoes! Besides leaving itchy bites, mosquitoes can also carry potentially deadly illnesses. Take steps to protect yourself.

Recommended Content:

Bug-Borne Illnesses | Bug Week: July 27 - August 2 | Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

Bug Week: Fleas

Video
7/22/2019
DHA Seal

Fleas aren’t just annoying to cats and dogs, they can carry diseases dangerous to humans too. Follow these tips to protect yourself.

Recommended Content:

Bug-Borne Illnesses | Bug Week: July 27 - August 2

Bug Week: Ticks

Video
7/22/2019
DHA Seal

Whether spending time in your backyard or deep in the woods, stay safe from harmful diseases from ticks with the following tips.

Recommended Content:

Bug Week: July 27 - August 2 | Bug-Borne Illnesses | Tick-Borne Illnesses

Fleas 2018

Video
7/30/2018
Fleas 2018

MHS observes Bug Week! Learn more about how to protect yourself--and your pets--from fleas by watching this video.

Recommended Content:

Bug-Borne Illnesses

Mosquitoes 2018

Video
7/30/2018
Mosquitoes 2018

MHS observes Bug Week! Learn more about how to stay safe from mosquitoes and the diseases they carry by watching this video.

Recommended Content:

Mosquito-Borne Illnesses | Preventing Mosquito-Borne Illnesses | Bug-Borne Illnesses

Ticks 2018

Video
7/30/2018
Ticks 2018

MHS observes Bug Week! Learn more about how to keep safe from ticks, and the diseases they carry, by watching this video.

Recommended Content:

Bug-Borne Illnesses | Tick-Borne Illnesses

DoD News In Focus – Combating Malaria

Video
3/21/2017
DoD News In Focus – Combating Malaria

Inside the Washington, D.C., beltway, scientists and researchers at the Naval Medical Research Center work diligently to combat malaria for the American war fighter and the global population.

Recommended Content:

Mosquito-Borne Illnesses | Malaria

All Things Mosquito

Video
8/17/2016
All Things Mosquito

Watch this video to learn the basic facts about mosquitoes and the illnesses they carry.

Recommended Content:

Mosquito-Borne Illnesses | Preventing Mosquito-Borne Illnesses | Chikungunya | Dengue | Malaria | West Nile | Zika Virus | Bug-Borne Illnesses

A human vaccine for the Zika virus may be coming soon

Video
7/22/2016
A human vaccine for the Zika virus may be coming soon

Scientists at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland, have developed a possible vaccine for the Zika virus.

Recommended Content:

Mosquito-Borne Illnesses | Zika Virus | Immunization Healthcare | Medical Research and Development

How is the U.S. Military Dealing with Zika?

Video
6/7/2016
Zika image

The Defense Department is closely monitoring the spread of the Zika virus and is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assist in virus surveillance, response and research efforts.

Recommended Content:

Zika Virus | Global Health Engagement | Mosquito-Borne Illnesses
Showing results 1 - 11 Page 1 of 1

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.