Residents in several Maryland neighborhoods reduced populations of invasive Asian tiger mosquitoes by an average 76 percent using canola oil in specialized traps, according to Rutgers University study in the journal Scientific Reports.
They did it in with the help of Rutgers University - New Brunswick scientists in a project called Citizen Action through Science, a Rutgers spokesman said.
The Asian tiger mosquito is native to tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia and has spread to the U.S. and other countries in the past few decades through the movement of people and goods, according to Rutgers. It is identified by the white bands on its legs and body.
The canola oil approach was tested in University Park, Maryland, on about 1,000 residential yards infested with Aedes albopictus.
In temperate climates, this mosquito species is primarily a major nuisance pest. But it's a vector of chikungunya, yellow fever, dengue fever and Zika virus in more southern latitudes.
More than 500 University Town homeowners purchased oviposition traps in early 2017, set them up and maintained them over the summer.
“The Citizen AcTS model rejects the top-down approach that has consistently led to mosquito control failures,” said study senior author Dina M. Fonseca, a professor in the Department of Entomology and director of the Rutgers Center for Vector Biology. “Instead, this model works through respectful exchanges among scientists and residents.”