Here’s an early look at the Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech, the newest device made by the makers of the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator, which I reviewed in 2019.
What is the Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech?
Aside from differences in label design, the Pro Tech looks just like the Eradicator — a plastic tube fitted with a cap that has several ~5/32″ holes and a hook for hanging. And it’s filled with essentially the same ingredients (water, sugar, yeast). The only difference appears to be that the active ingredient is now boric acid instead of sodium chloride.
Per the labelling, the major differences are that the Pro Tech (1) works for 30 days instead of 90 and (2) “kills mosquitoes” instead of killing 95% of them.
The name, “Pro Tech”, is presumably to signify to consumers that the device is “professional technology”. This name is line with company’s description of the Pro Tech as “next-generation” and “most advanced“.
How does the Pro Tech kill mosquitoes?
The company asserts the following occur:
- mosquitoes are attracted to the tubes
- mosquitoes land on the tubes
- mosquitoes crawl around until they find the 5/32″ holes in the cap
- mosquitoes squeeze though the holes
- mosquitoes walk down sides of tube toward liquid
- mosquitoes ingest some of the liquid
- mosquitoes walk back up sides of tube
- mosquitoes find holes
- mosquitoes squeeze through holes
- mosquitoes fly away
- mosquitoes die from boric acid poisoning
A typical yard might have thousands of mosquitoes, so at any one time there might be a cloud of mosquitoes gathered around the devices, at least according to the company’s advertising. I have not been able to find a photograph that shows a cloud of mosquitoes around a Pro Tech.
Do Pro Techs kill mosquitoes?
The more important question is, “Does the Pro Tech kill mosquitoes in a yard?” The rephrasing of the question is important because a loophole in the EPA guidelines allows a company to claim a device kills an outdoor pest even if the efficacy experiment was done indoors. I’m not sure whether this is the case with the Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech, but it’s a concern. Laboratory experiments of attractive toxic sugar bait (ATSB) devices could easily overestimate actual efficacy for several reasons.
One worry is that boric acid can enter the vapor state. This means that mosquitoes trapped inside net cages with Pro Techs would be expected to die at a faster rate simply because boric acid is present in the air inside the cage, not because any of the mosquitoes actually squeezed through holes in the caps and ingested the liquid. Another huge problem is that when ATSB devices are tested inside cages, mosquitoes have no choice but to seek out the sugar inside the devices. So one might see mosquitoes entering the small holes of a Pro Tech inside cages even though mosquitoes in the real world would rarely do so. Under no circumstances would I recommend the EPA accept data from laboratory tests of ATSBs.
I’m not aware of any third-party evaluations of the Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech, but given that the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator does not work, it seems unlikely that the Pro Tech would work. I’ll update this page when peer-reviewed data are published.
UPDATE 1: the Pro Tech doesn’t attract mosquitoes
I used a security camera to test whether the Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech even attracts mosquitoes. It does not. Details.
UPDATE 2: the Pro Tech could generate mosquitoes
The cap of the Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech accumulates stagnant water and organic matter, so the device could easily attract mosquitoes looking for a place to oviposit. The device could thus end up generating mosquitoes instead of killing them.
UPDATE 3: the Pro Tech is being tested in Africa
Here’s a 10-min interview with Omar Arouna, CEO of Innovative Mosquito Control, Inc., in which he describes the field test of the Spartan Mosquito Pro Tech in Togo. He implies that the mosquitoes that transmit malaria can be eliminated from Africa with these tubes.