23— This article by Jerry Cates was first published on 14 May 2016 and last revised on 23 March 2019. © Bugsinthenews Vol. 17:05(02).
Winning the War on Mosquitoes with the EntomoBiotics Inc. Mosquito Control System (MCS™)
In 2016, when the Zika epidemic raged in South America and threatened the United States, we decided we had to wage war on mosquitoes. We’re winning that war, though — as will be explained later — only in limited, captive ecosystems. Our weapon of choice is the EntomoBiotics Inc. Mosquito Control System (MCS™).
Our MCS™ is a comprehensive mosquito control program using green biologicals, growth regulators, and residual mosquito abatement products. One important element in this mix is the In2Care Mosquito Trap,which forces some of the most dangerous of the day-biting mosquitoes found in this part of Texas (specifically, mosquitoes in the genus Aedes, which are infamous for spreading West Nile and Zika viruses), to help unwittingly in their own destruction.
The In2Care Mosquito Trap consists of a water pot covered by a funnel-shaped lid. The water is treated with a small amount of baker’s or brewer’s yeast; as the yeast ferments in the water, it emits carbon dioxide and a special mosquito-attractive odor that draws gravid female mosquitoes — i.e., fertile females ready to lay their eggs — into the device to deposit some of their eggs on prepared egg-laying surfaces. The mosquito eggs later drop into the water and hatch, which would be a problem except for one catch: the water is treated with a minuscule amount of Pyriproxyfen insect growth regulator (IGR), which prevents the mosquito larvae that develop in the water from pupating and emerging as adult mosquitoes.
The prepared egg-laying surfaces are an important part of the trap: floating on the water, inside the pot, is a thin plastic ring crowned with a vertical strip of powder-coated gauze. Female mosquitoes attracted to the trap by the fermenting yeast land on the gauze strip and deposit a small portion of their eggs while their legs get coated with the gauze’s powder. They then fly away to deposit more eggs at a new location, taking a small amount of powder from the gauze with them.
Some of that powder intoxicates the mosquito to the point that it stops biting; before long it also kills the mosquito. The rest of the powder contaminates the mosquito’s subsequent oviposits, with disastrous results for the mosquito’s eggs and the larvae that hatch from them. The powder not only contains the same IGR that is in the water (preventing eggs laid by the mosquito anywhere else from progressing to adulthood) but also contains a natural, soil-dwelling fungus with the scientific name Beauveria bassiana; this fungus, which is lethal to mosquitoes, soon gets spread to all the natural mosquito ovipositing locations near the In2Care Mosquito Trap. This process eventually creates a host of mosquito-killing zones in the vicinity of each In2Care Mosquito Trap.
Question: Is the In2Care Mosquito Trap or its Contents Toxic to Humans or our Pets?
The In2Care Mosquito Trap, when freshly deployed per the manufacturer’s instructions, contains about a gallon of water and 0.5 grams of active ingredients. Of these, 74.03% consist of Pyriproxyfen IGR (CAS No. 95737-68-1), 10% consists of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana strain GHA (CAS No. 63428-82-0), and 15.97% consists of other ingredients, including an active yeast presumed to be, or to be closely related to, common baker’s and brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), that ferments in water to produce carbon dioxide and an odor attractive to mosquitoes:
- Pyriproxifen IGR mimics a juvenile hormone found in insects, and is commonly used in California on oranges, almonds, cotton, walnuts, plums and other crops; it is not listed as a PAN (Pesticide Action Network) Bad Actor; has only a slight acute toxicity even at full strength (in the In2Care Mosquito Trap the concentration in the water reservoir is measured in parts per million), is not a likely carcinogen or a cholinesterase inhibitor, and is not known to be a contaminant of ground water, a developmental or reproductive toxin, or an endocrine disruptor.
- Beauveria bassiana strain GHA is commonly used in California on greenhouse flowers, greenhouse plants, tomatoes, spies, strawberries, and other crops; it is not listed as a PAN (Pesticide Action Network) Bad Actor; has no known acute toxicity, is not known to be a carcinogen, is not a cholinesterase inhibitor, and is not known to be a contaminant of ground water, a developmental or reproductive toxin, or an endocrine disruptor.
- Common baker’s and brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is used in household kitchens worldwide as a leavening agent in baking bread and other bakery products which, in its inactive form, is used as a nutritional supplement rich in B-complex vitamins. It is also a single-cell microorganism naturally found in and on the human body. Consumption of active baker’s or brewer’s yeast can cause allergic reactions in people and in pets. The small quantity of yeast in each In2Care Mosquito Trap should not pose a hazard to humans or our companion pets.
Note that we do not attempt to eliminate mosquitoes from typical yards or grounds, or anywhere that is subject to significant wind-blown influx of fresh mosquitoes from surrounding areas. Instead, we concentrate on limited areas, such as atriums and courtyards enclosed within larger complexes such as nursing homes and restaurants. Though we initially had high hopes that the In2Care mosquito trap would be capable of controlling mosquitoes in typical yards and grounds, our extensive testing — conducted throughout the 2018 mosquito season — did not produce satisfactory results at all the locales where it was deployed. In some yards it clearly reduced mosquito populations to levels that our clients found acceptable, but in others the client reviews were not so complimentary. On the other hand, within captive atriums and courtyards, it performed acceptably wherever it was deployed.
Besides targeting mosquitoes in the genus Aedes, the In2Care Mosquito Trap also helps reduce populations of mosquitoes in the genus Culex, which is another common genus of Texas mosquitoes. In the process, it manages to significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes in captive portions of the venues where it is placed. Though this is an important step in mosquito control, it is not sufficient to bring mosquito populations to zero. To effect broad-spectrum control of mosquitoes, additional treatment methodologies and products are needed. The kinds of additional treatment methodologies and products suitable for a particular yard or grounds area depends on the immediate setting and its surroundings.
In general, the products and methodologies involved belong to a relatively short list. That list includes, for example, garlic extracts, the IGR used in the In2Care Mosquito trap, and chemicals that are non-toxic to humans and our companion pets but that are highly toxic to mosquitoes. We tailor the MCS™ to our commercial client’s specific situation, following a thorough inspection and analysis.
Much of what that system does is invisible, but if one or more of our MCS™ devices is visible at a restaurant, a nursing home, or at another commercial establishment, be aware that that Administrator or proprietor is doing their best to help you avoid mosquito-borne diseases. Today, protecting you and your loved ones — from the dangerous viruses spread by mosquitoes — is an important job. We and our clients take that job seriously.
Just to Recap the Foregoing, YES! We’re continuing to Wage War on Mosquitoes — in 2019 — in Captive Areas of Commercial and Medical Facilities:
When in late 2016 we declared war on mosquitoes mosquito-borne viruses were nothing new, but now the Zika virus was wreaking havoc in South America, and would soon be here in the United States. Children born to mothers infected with that virus often had heart-breaking birth defects, so getting the mosquitoes that spread the disease under control was not optional, it had to be done, and done fast.
We knew going in that this would be the toughest war we’ve ever fought. Yet, after little more than two years of research and field work, we’re winning that war, too — at least in limited environments. We needed a secret weapon, and we found one. We call it the EntomoBiotics Inc. Mosquito Control System (MCS™). Again, keep in mind that it does not use toxic pesticides that lace the air you breathe, but employs a combination of habitat modification in concert with the comprehensive use of biologicals and growth regulators, plus a special mosquito trap (described in detail, earlier in this article) that attracts and kills mosquitoes with green ingredients that target mosquito larvae and adults.
Mosquitoes that enter the trap become contaminated with those green ingredients, then spread them to other mosquito breeding spots, away from the trap, where they kill other mosquitoes. This provides each trap with a force multiplier that makes it a powerful agent for mosquito control. As the mosquitoes become affected by these ingredients, they stop biting, lose their ability to produce eggs, and die prematurely. Soon the areas in which the traps are deployed see a dramatic reduction in mosquito activity, and the ones that are still alive aren’t biting.
The viruses that produce Dengue, Chikungunya, Yellow Fever, and Zika are today proliferating throughout the world’s tropical regions. Their vector is the Aedes mosquito, which is difficult to control because the Aedes female doesn’t lay all her eggs at once, but deposits a few at a time, in multiple small, hard to find breeding sites. The Aedes mosquito has also become resistant to most chemical insecticides, but the EntomoBiotics Inc. Mosquito Control System (MCS™) is the Aedes mosquito’s most powerful enemy.
We’re now deploying the MCS™, including the placement of its associated In2Care mosquito traps at our medical and commercial client locations all over Texas.
More To Come…
Taxonomy: A thorough taxonomical treatment of mosquitoes is provided in a separate article posted on this website entitled Mosquitoes of Texas and the Southeastern United States.
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