Once in a great while, effective advertising doesn’t require any human engagement at all. This billboard, designed and built by a pair of Brazilian ad agencies and set free under the Creative Commons license offers a reproducible solution for trapping Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, the primary carrier of the Zika virus.
The design seems pretty simple, although the plans leave a bit of explanation to be desired. Inside the billboard are canisters of Lurex 3, a lactic acid-based mosquito attractant that is available pretty cheaply on Amazon. The lactic acid mimics the scent of human sweat and is released outward to distances up to 4km (2.5 miles) in a fine mist along with CO₂. Together, the Lurex and CO₂ act like a sweaty, mouth-breathing human beacon to lure mosquitoes into the billboard, where they become trapped and are doomed to die of dehydration.
The creators have released a blueprint of the billboard and encourage others to build them. So far, the agencies have installed two of them in Rio de Janeiro. If the video after the break is any indication, at least one of them was erected within a populous area. This is good for spreading the word, but is probably pretty bad for anyone who stops to read the thing. Hopefully, the billboards are actually outside the city and were only planted in town long enough for the video shoot.
Mosquitoes have no real redeeming qualities and are capable of carrying multiple viruses and diseases. A couple of years ago, we covered a very different solution that aims to stop those bloodsuckers where they start—by constantly disturbing the bodies of standing water they need to breed.
Thanks for the tip, [Mark].