• Smell of success

    Smell of success

    Traps made from a concoction of human scents, including stinky feet and beer, could help stop the spread of malaria.

    A study published in the Lancet shows how a team of scientists developed a blend of five chemicals that mimic smells – from what humans eat, to how much beer they drink, to their sweat and the bacteria between their toes – has proven to be irresistible to malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

    The research found that the traps reduced the population size of the most significant malaria mosquito in Africa, the Anopheles gambiae – which is one of two types of mosquitoes carrying the parasite on the continent – by nearly 70% between June 2013 and May 2015. Meanwhile, the proportion of people with malaria was 30% lower among those living in houses with traps than those who did not have the traps.

    According to a Bhekisisa report, the bait – set up on Rusinga Island in Lake Victoria in western Kenya – is combined with solar-powered fans that suck the blood-hunters into nets where they are killed by dehydration.

    14 February 2017
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images