Mosquito Killing System Development History

Trap mosquitoes with our MKS-1022 C02 mosquito trap, mosquito control product. A complete mosquito trap and mosquito killing system.

The Mosquito Killing System resulted from 16 years of research and testing by Mr. Alvin Wilbanks. This project evolved from nightly rituals of having to free the house of mosquitoes upon returning home from work in order to ensure his newborn daughter, Tiffany, could receive a good nights rest without being eaten up by a mosquito in the house. Mr. Wilbanks was concerned about applying repellents to his child because of the effects that he experienced from his personal use. A warming sensation was experienced when he applied the repellants on himself. He was also concerned about the dangers if his child ingested the repellant and repellant possibly getting into the eyes of his daughter.

Mr. Wilbanks began researching the alternative products available on the market for protection or repelling the pests that contained no pesticides. To his amazement, he discovered that there were no such products available. He knew there had to be a better way to control mosquitoes without the use of chemicals so he asked himself the questions, "what attracts the mosquito to us?" His first conclusion was that the mosquito was seeking blood so he placed some blood on a slide as an experiment to view the mosquito's behavior. To his surprise, the mosquitoes were not attracted to the blood. He then tried to determine what other factors attract them to us? Was it heat, moisture, body scents/pheromones, motion, or breathing? He then began to test other items that might attract the mosquito such as chicken or beef livers and even catfish type baits. All these experiments had poor results. There was no increase in the capture/kill ratio thus eliminating the fact that blood products alone did not attract the insect. Mr. Wilbanks then purchased a bug light with the misperception that they attracted mosquitoes. After examining the contents of the dead insects, he realized that the bug lights did not attract mosquitoes either.

He then began his studies to determine why the mosquito bites and the breeding, behavior, and habits of the insect. The research into certain behavioral patterns of the insect was conducted at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR. Mr. Wilbanks was able to locate books and documents covering Entomology and more specifically the study of mosquitoes at the university library. Mr. Wilbanks then started experimenting with the bug light he purchased to modify it to attract mosquitoes. He removed the lights from the unit and replaced them with a heating element, which seemed to have attractant features initially.

The next 2 to 4 years of research and testing revealed that mosquitoes preferred cattle, chicken, pets, and other animals over humans. He then began to determine that highest and lowest temperatures in which mosquitoes were attracted to his device. He then modified his test unit to cycle in the temperature ranges previously identified in order to mimic these various animals. The test revealed that more species of mosquitoes were attracted to the unit but not captured. Mr. Wilbanks then spent the next 3 years determining what temperature was most effective and the correct size of the unit in order to achieve the most efficient product. He developed various units ranging in size from Coke can to a 55-gallon drum and determined the optimal elevation necessary to attract the largest number of mosquitoes. Hundreds of tests were performed in order to determine the best performance to Mr. Wilbanks satisfaction.

He then started working with the air flow or wind design of the unit, which aided in attracting mosquitoes to the unit. He observed that the majority were curious about the device and the majority were females. Adding the wind design to the unit increased the attractiveness and kill rate by up to 90 percent. This increase in the capture and kill ratios was at an acceptable level to justify more experiments in order to perfect the wind design elements of the unit. Other tests were performed to determine the effectiveness of the unit under other conditions. One test included adding moisture to the design. Since mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, it made sense to incorporate moisture as a test to determine the attractancy of the unit under these conditions. No significant difference was observed during this study. He then added motion to the test unit to determine if the mosquitoes wee attracted more to his testing devices in a fixed position versus a linear movement. He then determined from the motion studies that more mosquitoes were attracted to the unit that moved in comparison to the fixed unit. He found that the best results were obtained when the test unit moved twelve inches, paused for a period of 5 seconds then returned to it's original position. Mr. Wilbanks had now concluded from his studies that heat, size, motion, and elevation were all determining factors. Armed with these facts, his testing and experiments moved to a second level to perfect the operation of the device.

He then determined that the mosquitoes were detecting the electrical fields (Corona), which acted as a warning to the insect and deterred the pest from investigating further. He tried glue boards, sticky paper, and other attractants to try to overcome this obstacle but found nothing that actually worked. Mr. Wilbanks then decided to alter the unit in order to conceal the electrical fields but yet attract the mosquito and process the insect through a system that would kill them inside the unit. This added other variables such as correct voltage, wind flow, and other factors that had to be perfected in the design of the Mosquito Killing system.

Research began to find the availability of these features that needed to be incorporated into the design. It was at this point when Mr. Wilbanks submitted a request for technology assistance to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The NASA engineers suggested a number of improvements to cut costs and improve the efficiency that was subsequently adopted. The specific areas of assistance included the difficulties identified with the electrical fields, and other issues pertaining to the heat source. NASA then referred Wilbanks to a non-profit agency that assisted him in the developing the prototype as well as producing the molds used to manufacture the base and top structure of the new product. Mr. Wilbanks hen submitted a request for approval of the use of the NASA name and the statement "Developed with Technical Assistance from NASA". The request was granted by the NASA/MSFC Legal Office on November 19, 1996. Mr. Wilbanks' experiments and tests resulted in forty different versions that had been developed in order to perfect the device. Once perfected to his satisfaction, he then applied for a patent and subsequently was granted the patent on January 21, 1997. Once the patent was granted, the information concerning the design and operation of the unit became public knowledge. He received a large amount of interest both locally and internationally, which was all positive. The next 2 years were spent on seeking the components to produce the unit as well as obtain UL Approval and in order to manufacture and market the Mosquito Killing System. He was granted UL Approval in April 1999, which brings us to where we are today.





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