Mosquitos are not just a nuisance - they carry and transmit a variety of dangerous and deadly diseases. Here in Michigan there are dozens of reports of West Nile virus each year. In 2015 and 2016, an outbreak of Zika virus in South America, Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and even a few U.S. states resulted in serious illness and birth defects in babies born to mothers who had contracted the virus while pregnant. According to the World Health Organization, “Of all disease-transmitting insects, the mosquito is the greatest menace, spreading malaria, dengue and yellow fever, which together are responsible for several million deaths and hundreds of millions of cases every year.” Bill Gates has even ranked mosquitos as the largest human predator, noting that mosquitos kill more people each year than any other animal, including humans.
A recent press release I received addresses this issue and discusses two technologies available to help eradicate it. The first technology was developed by French entomologist, Dr. Francois Martin, who is passionate about the global mosquito problem. The technology, called Kyzox, repels and kills mosquitos, and can be incorporated into products that people use in their daily lives, such as laundry detergent, fabric softeners, soaps, lotions, sunblock, floor cleaners and house paint. The all-natural anti-mosquito biocide additive uses leaf extract from trees called Vitex Negundo and Vitex Trifolia. When used in paint, direct contact with the wall kills mosquitos, and the smell keeps them away. The product is EU certified, and is safe for children, pregnant women and pets.
The second technology uses a pyrethroid insecticide called deltamethrin, which dates back to 1974. This technology kills mosquitos on contact. A 2015 online article from the Borneo Post discusses tests performed by the Institute for Medical Research in Malaysia of anti-mosquito paint mixed with deltamethrin. Malaysian Health Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Subramaniam, confirmed the effectiveness of the anti-mosquito paint, and held discussions with the company seeking to develop the paint to get it on the market within a few months.
According to Dr. Martin, both technologies claim high repellency results between 87-95% during the first year of application, and decrease 15-20% each year after coating. They are also a good value for families in risk zones, who spend on average U.S. $185 per year on anti-mosquito products. Anti-mosquito paint is only used during the final coating layer, and can be imagined as a giant anti-mosquito patch protecting the inside and outside of a home for years, without the inconvenience of repetitive daily spraying or burning traditional anti-mosquito products.
Dr. Martin believes that paint manufacturers can help stop the mosquito crisis. He states that consumers in risk areas are ready to buy, but the paint industry is moving too slowly on developing anti-mosquito paint technology. In fact, he says it is almost impossible to find, especially in tropical and subtropical countries where 92% of mosquito cases are reported. Even in the world’s top three largest anti-mosquito markets, Brazil, Indonesia and the Philippines, the technology is only available in large Indonesian cities, and in the Philippines is only offered as a paint additive.
According to Dr. Martin, of the world’s top 10 players in the paint industry, Kansai entered this market in 2015 and, overwhelmed by the demand in Malaysia and Indonesia, postponed its entry into the Philippine market until 2018. Nippon launched Mozzie Guard in 2016, and in 2017 Pacific Paint announced the launch of its anti-mosquito paint in the near future. The first North American paint company to launch anti-mosquito paint (this spring) will be Loop Paint in Ontario, Canada.
Dr. Martin is urging painting campaigns to replace fogging campaigns, which only postpone the problems and dangerously increase the mosquito population in urban areas, since in addition to killing mosquitoes, fogging also kills their natural predators. Mosquitos also reproduce seven times faster than any of their predators.
This sounds like a market with huge potential – not just in demand, but in the opportunity to help a global health crisis. If you are interested in learning more, contact Dr. Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.