Mosquitoes are annoying. Really annoying. It's even been suggested that unlike many so-called "pest" animals, such as rats or flies, they don't even have any redeeming qualities.
But for most people who live in places like Canada and the United States, mosquitoes are only that: annoying. In tropical parts of the world, though, mosquitoes can be deadly. While the bite itself isn't any more painful, it's what comes with the bite that causes the real problems. From malaria and the Zika virus to dengue fever, mosquitoes carry all sorts of dangerous, even deadly diseases that are placed in a human's blood through the bite.
This means that finding a way to kill or control mosquito populations is a big deal in these parts of the world. People have used everything from chemicals to nets to handle the problem.
And now a Canadian design is suggesting that we use… old tires?
Lay your eggs here
It's no joke. And the method is both creative and cheap. The tire traps, called ovillanta, don't actually trap adult mosquitoes. Instead, they attract egg-laying females by creating an ideal "nursery" for their young. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in still freshwater. In warm places with a dry season (a time of year with little rain), that can be tough to find. The tire is cut into a shape that looks like a macaroni noodle and filled with water.
The mosquitoes find this egg-laying paradise and go to work. Except every three days, the ovillanta is drained and its water passed through a filter. The filter traps all of the tiny mosquito eggs, which are then burned. Meanwhile the water is returned to the trap and whole process starts again.
Say it with me: No hatched eggs = no new mosquitoes!
So far where the ovillanta has been tested in places like Mexico, the rates for diseases have dropped by large numbers. Though, it's a huge job to get something like this everywhere that it's needed, I can't think of a better use for a bunch of old tires than a disease-stopping mosquito egg trap.
Check out how it all works below (just don't try making one by yourself at home!).