September 25, 2006

Mosquito larvae destruction

The resonant frequency idea is apparently more than half-baked.
At least one company, New Mountain Innovations, claims to be able to destroy mosquito larvae up to a five foot radius by sending audio signals at the resonant frequency of the mosquito larvae air bladder. Go Michael! The story is good - now does it really work?

The concept is simple: Use acoustic energy to kill mosquito larvae before they can become biting adults. All mosquito larvae, regardless of species, have internal air bladders that help them breathe and move up and down in the water where they feed and grow. Send sound waves through the water and those bladders start to vibrate like a tuning fork. Eventually the bladder tissue ruptures, killing the larvae.
There is at least one scientific paper on this giving 1 MHz as the frequency of choice.

I'm still hopeful on getting adult mosquitoes in mid-flight. Suppose you were able to send back ultrasound at the frequency the mosquitoes are flapping their tiny wings. Could you (a) cause them to fall to the ground via destructive interference, or (b) cause their wings to rip off via constructive interference? That would a cool demo. The device would need to listen and then replay using large volume the correct frequency. Of course, since you could hear mosquitoes buzzing, perhaps this may not be such a good idea. The frequency here is 250-1000 Hz. Here's some more serious analysis.

Posted by torque at September 25, 2006 1:49 AM | TrackBack