The use of the controlled-release passive device on a military tent to protect the area from mosquitoes is illustrated in the following image by the University of Florida.
A mosquito repellent device developed by the University of Florida for the US military provides extended protection from mosquitos and requires no heat, electricity, or skin contact.
Nagarajan Rajagopal, a PhD candidate in UF's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Dr. Christopher Batich from the USDA's Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, designed the controlled-release passive device.
Transfluthrin, a repellent, was found to be effective in preventing many species of mosquitos from entering the testing area. Transfluthrin is a natural insecticide that is certified safe for humans and animals.
Rajagopal explained that his invention eliminates the need for topical repellents and insecticides that are sprayed across an open area, which can pollinate nearby plants or bodies of water and have a detrimental effect on beneficial pollinators, such as bees and butterflies.
Mosquitos are more than an inconvenience for military personnel; they can also be a vector of serious diseases and viruses, such as malaria, dengue virus, Zika, and the West Nile virus. The Department of Defense is continually looking for strategies to protect soldiers in the field from mosquito bites.
The controlled-release passive device is composed of a 2.5 centimeter-long polypropylene plastic that holds two smaller tubes and cotton that repels the mosquitoes, which were then attached to the opening of a large military tent using fishing string, while nothing to a similar control tent, according to Rajagopal.
According to his team, the prototype, which will be manufactured using a 3D-printing technique, might last for four weeks.
“It allows for a long-term release of insecticide rather than a spike at the start,” he added.
Rajagopal said the government is considering a patent application for the device, so that it may be commercialized for the civilian market. USDA researchers believe there are more opportunities for outdoor recreation.
"The personal protection device in various shapes and configurations has potential for other uses, including for hiking and fishing," said Kline, a research entomologist with the USDA.
Kline said that they will investigate other active ingredients as well as transfluthrin to expand its potential.
"It doesn't stop with mosquitos," Rajagopal said. "We want to demonstrate that it will work with other insects, especially ticks, who pose a threat by causing Lyme disease."
Nagarajan R. Rajagopal, Adam R. Bowman, Christopher D. Batich, Jerome A. Hogsette, and Daniel L.Kline, Current Research in Parasitology & Vector-Borne Diseases, 13 January 2023. DOI: 10.1016/j.crpvbd.2023.100113