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Scientists build trap for Zika-transmitting mosquitos

By Brooks Hays
A new type of mosquito trap, not pictured, releases larvicide when filled with water. File photo by A.J. Sisco/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/4f829ea17c650d929026b7a63db53f02/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
A new type of mosquito trap, not pictured, releases larvicide when filled with water. File photo by A.J. Sisco/UPI | License Photo

VILLA MARTELLI, Argentina, April 6 (UPI) -- A team of researchers in Argentina have developed a trap that targets Aedes aegypti, the species of mosquito most responsible for the spread of Zika.

The trap consists of a plastic cup infused with the larvicide pyriproxyfen. When filled with water, the cup's low-density polyethylene material released the larva-killing chemicals.

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Like standing water, the cup offers mosquitos an attractive -- but deadly -- egg-laying location.

Researchers described their invention in a new paper published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

Pyriproxyfen is already used to control mosquito populations in the tropics, but the latest development promises a more targeted delivery method. The larvicide prevents the mosquitos' offspring from developing into adults.

"This is a great idea," Grayson Brown, a University of Kentucky entomologist who was not involved in the research, said in a news release. "Pyriproxyfen likes to move around in the environment. Molding it into the plastic like that keeps it where you put it."

Previous studies have raised concerns about a possible relationship between pyriproxyfen and microcephaly, the stunted development of the fetal head and brain linked to Zika. But scientists with the Entomological Society of America say the link is unfounded.

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Researchers say the trap isn't a silver bullet, but will help curtail the growth of Aedes aegypti populations.

"This is another potential tool [to control mosquitoes], and we need all the tools we can get," Brown said.

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