Simon Lillamand and Pierre Bellagambi’s box emits a mixture of carbon dioxide and pheromones which attract mosquitoes because to them the combination smells like a slightly sweaty human.
As the mosquitoes approach, they are sucked into the machine and die.
When tested in the village of Sambuc, in the notoriously mosquito infested Camargue region, the Techno-BAM mosquito traps caught up to 24,000 insects a day, 99.7% of them mosquitoes of one sort or another. The machines do not attract other insects such as bees or dragonflies, the emissions are entirely non-toxic and the boxes do not contain anything which could be dangerous to the public.
“Compared to techniques such as spraying large areas with insecticides, Techno-BAM traps are not only cheaper and more effective,” Bellagambi told the Connexion, “but better for the environment as there is no impact on flora or fauna except for mosquitoes.”
In tests, 10 traps were set up around Sambuc and every day for two months volunteer researchers sat in areas protected by the machines and counted the number of mosquitoes which landed on them compared to the numbers which landed on them when they were in unprotected areas.
The results were spectacular. Techno-BAM machines reduced attacks by 88% – from 15.2 attacks in 10 minutes to 1.7 attacks in 10 minutes. The machines are effective up to 60m away, and the CO² emitted is a recycled gas harvested from farms where grain in storage gives off CO² as it ferments.
“Simon and I have been friends since primary school,” says Bellagambi. “We both live in the same village, Maillane, and we share a passion for green tech.
“We started this project because we were concerned by the findings into the harmful effects of larvicide use in the Camargue. So we started looking at ways of killing insects around humans and leaving them alone in areas where they are an important part of the food chain.”
Techno-BAM machines are now on sale to local authorities, businesses and private individuals. One machine can control mosquitoes in a garden of up to 500m² and costs about €750. The CO² and pheromone refills cost around €70 a month, depending on usage.