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Spring is here, and with it comes warmer temperatures — unfortunately, mosquitoes enjoy this nice weather just as much as we do. These blood-sucking pests detract from our enjoyment of the outdoors, whether we’re sitting on the porch or camping in the backcountry. They also spread serious illnesses, such as malaria, Zika, and dengue fever. There are many ways to deter mosquitoes, from purpose-built chemical repellent dispensers to improvised tools like the smudge pot. However, we recently saw a video from the YouTube channel GreenPowerScience that’s capable of trapping massive quantities of these bugs so they can’t return to bite you.
This technique uses a high-flow metal fan — the type that can be purchased at hardware stores — plus some ordinary screen door mesh and a handful of rare earth magnets. The screen is simply placed over the intake side of the fan and held in place with the magnets. Mosquitoes are weak fliers, so when the fan is turned on, nearby mosquitoes will be pulled in by the airflow and trapped against the screen.
Once the mosquitoes are trapped, a quick spray of 50/50 isopropyl alcohol and water will kill them. Then clean off the screen and repeat.
Obviously, the biggest drawback to this technique is that it relies on electricity and a heavy fan, so it’s not very portable. In the video, Rojas shows an alternate design with a bilge pump, car battery, and a solar panel. This can be used outdoors for car camping, fishing, or other activities away from the power grid.
Other YouTubers have come up with their own modified versions — NightHawkInLight posted the following video using a cheap plastic box fan and some zip ties to achieve a similar effect. He also shows that this can easily be powered by a car battery with an inverter, offering a portable design that maintains a large trap surface area.
Next time you’re doing battle with mosquitoes and don’t want to douse yourself in DEET, keep this fan trap method in mind. For more considerations for avoiding these flying bloodsuckers, check out our previous article, Infographics for Mosquito Season.