Soneva Installs Pioneering Anti-Mosquito Technology

PUBLISHED October 17, 2019

Soneva has installed a set of state of the art mosquito traps in the garden of the Peoples Majlis today.  The mosquito traps were received by Hon. President Mohamed Nasheed, MP Speaker of the People's Majlis.This is a technology that kills mosquitoes without the need for fogging or spraying harmful insecticides.

Developed by scientists from the German company Biogents, and pioneered in the Maldives by Dutch mosquito scientist Bart Knols, the traps emit a combination of carbon dioxide and lactic acid, attracting mosquitoes and killing them in an environmentally friendly way.

Knols and Sonevas integrated pest control manager, Akib Jahir, installed five traps in the Peoples Majlis garden this morning, and also briefed Majlis Speaker Mohamed Nasheed and MPs on the new technology.
The Majlis maintenance team was taught how to maintain the traps. Knols will return to the Majlis in February to assess how the traps are working.
Members of Parliament have been complaining for some months that they are frequently bitten by mosquitoes when sitting in the garden.

The mosquito trap technology has recently been rolled out across Soneva Fushi resort in Baa atoll.
Soneva Fushi is a large island, with lots of jungle. Years of spraying the mosquitoes with insecticide have resulted in the islands mosquitoes becoming highly resistant to insecticides.

Four hundred and ninety-five traps have been installed across the island since June (see attached briefing note). The results of the project have been astounding — Soneva Fushi has witnessed a dramatic fall in the numbers of mosquitoes, with large parts of the island now practically mosquito-free.
Moreover, since the project started, Soneva Fushi has stopped spraying with chemical insecticides. This has resulted in a profusion of bumblebees, dragonflies and hawkmoths — at the same time as the mosquito population has collapsed.

Knols predicts that with the arrival of the dry season, Soneva Fushi will become virtually mosquito-free, in an eco-friendly and sustainable manner.

Diseases like Dengue and Chikungunya, mosquitoes pose a serious threat to the people of the Maldives, as well as foreign tourists. For many decades, the response to this problem has been the widespread use of chemical pesticides. However, in many islands, mosquitos have become partially or fully resistant to chemicals, necessitating the need for new, non-chemical, approaches to mosquito control. For instance, the long-term use of insecticides on Kunfunadhoo island has resulted in mosquitoes that are highly resistant to pyrethroid insecticides, commonly used for fogging/misting.

Soneva is currently pioneering the use of a non-chemical approach to mosquito management, based on widescale use of traps. Two kinds of traps, one that will catch female mosquitoes that are looking for blood, the other that traps female mosquitoes ready to lay its eggs, are used -- 495 traps in total. See images of the traps below, along with their placement around Soneva Fushi.

Results since the project started in June 2019 have been spectacular, with a massive reduction in mosquito numbers (parts of the island are now practically free of mosquitoes), Moreover, since last June, the resort has stopped spraying any chemical pesticides. A very welcome effect of this approach is the impact on biodiversity. Species of carpenter and bumble bees, dragonflies, butterflies, etc. are slowly finding their way back to the island. Ultimately this will bring the ecosystem back in balance and result in a reduced human footprint on the unique ecosystem.

The Maldives, as an island nation, lends itself perfectly to the approach taken by Soneva, and Soneva is keen to explore options for public-private partnerships to develop the same system on inhabited islands.


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