Mosquito Deleto' taken off shelves

By Marc Dadigan staff writer
July 19, 2002

A $199 trap that is supposed to decimate mosquitoes for homeowners might be more of a danger to the humans who buy them.

In an agreement with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Coleman Co. decided Monday to recall 136,000 of its Mosquito Deleto traps because the machines can leak propane gas and catch fire.

The company has received 28 reports of the traps melting or becoming engulfed in flames as a result of the leakage. No injuries have been reported.

"I would hate to see these people buy these contraptions, spend the money on refueling them and only to get hurt," said Indian River County Extension Director Dan Culbert.

The traps lure the mosquitoes from the carbon dioxide that is released from the burning of the propane, and the mosquitoes are then caught in a fine, mesh screen coated with oil. The carbon dioxide exhaled by humans with each breath is what attracts mosquitoes to their prospective hosts.

The traps, which were selling at the Home Depot and Wal-Mart in Vero Beach for $199 and $179 respectively, have been pulled off the shelves since the recall, store officials said.

The Coleman Co. could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The Mosquito Deletos are considered to be one of the less sophisticated mosquito traps, which can vary in price from $200 to $1,300, Culbert said.

While none of the other traps are potentially dangerous, Culbert said that these traps have no scientific research to back up their claims of drastically reducing mosquito populations in neighborhoods.

Testing of one of the mosquito traps is being conducted in Vero Beach by Assistant Professor Roxanne Rutledge of the Florida Medical Entomology Lab. Rutledge is counting the population of mosquitoes at one home with the trap and one without it by measuring the number of times mosquitoes land on a bare arm over a minute.

"The science of the traps makes sense, but we don't have any data that they do what they advertise," Rutledge said. "It's possible that the traps are attracting mosquitoes that would never be in the area in the first place."

Culbert added that only certain types of mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, and it might be more cost effective to use insect repellents and dump out water containers every three to four days.



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