Israeli spray-free pest control could be key to controlling Zika-carrying mosquito
Israeli company Biofeed has been producing environmentally friendly pest control solutions since 2005; its technology has proven to be highly effective at targeting fruit flies in Israeli agriculture, and it can be adapted for use against other insects, including the Aedes aegypti mosquito which carries the Zika virus.
Biofeed uses a liquid formula with a smell tailored to attract a specific insect, then when the insect feeds on the liquid, it is eliminated. The fluid is slow-released from a hanging device over the course of a year, meaning its effectiveness remains steady throughout that year. The company is currently working on extending the duration to three years.
Company CEO Dr. Nimrod Israely, a world-reknowned fruit fly ecologist, says Biofeed’s approach can control any mosquito-borne disease by controlling the vector – the mosquito itself. Insects have an elaborate sense of smell which they utilize to find food, mates, egg-laying sites and more; he and his colleagues have recognized the potential in harnessing the world of insect smells for the benefit of humans.
Their patented Slow Fluid Release technology is made only from ingredients safe to use in a home kitchen; in fact that is where the formula first took shape – Israely’s kitchen. After a tractor accident which almost cost him his life, he began experimenting with different mixtures in his own kitchen during the long weeks of recovery.
Israel’s chief scientist and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ international development agency, MASHAV, recently pledged grant money to Biofeed to help develop new methods of no-spray pesticide application for India as part of MASHAV’s Grand Challenges program. This program calls on Israeli entrepreneurs to create technological solutions to health challenges in developing countries; it is a reflection of Israel’s determination to help other countries address their health-related problems.
While the whole world could benefit from Biofeed’s product, it is focusing on helping farmers in developing countries in Africa and Asia. The product is inexpensive and safe and easy to use, and so it can make a dramatic change for millions in those nations.
And if it is successfully applied in controlling disease-carrying mosquito populations, it could save millions of lives.