The High-Tech Device That’s Like a Bouncer for Mosquitoes

The new traps, made by Microsoft, overcome one of the most frustrating aspects of insect surveillance: There are 56 species of mosquitoes in this buggy bayou city, and conventional traps suck in nearly all of them.

Entomologists want only a few disease-carrying types, including Aedes aegypti, which carries Zika and dengue, and Culex quinquefasciatus, which spreads West Nile virus.

To find them, scientists must freeze whole batches caught in the usual traps and tediously hand-sort them with tweezers under a microscope.

Making matters worse, most traps suck the insects through a fan and then whirl them around a mesh basket for hours.

“The white scales get rubbed off, so you lose the white lyre on the back that tells you it’s aegypti,” said Pamela Stark, a county entomologist. “June bugs get pulled in and stomp around like cows.”


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