A lethal ovitrap-based mass trapping scheme for dengue control in Australia: I. Public acceptability and performance of lethal ovitraps


Scott Ritchie, School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, James Cook University, PO Box 6811, Cairns, QLD 4870, Australia. Tel.: + 61 740503619; fax: + 61 740311440; e-mail: scott.ritchie@jcu.edu.au


We report on the first field evaluation of the public acceptability and performance of two types of lethal ovitrap (LO) in three separate trials in Cairns, Australia. Health workers were able to set standard lethal ovitraps (SLOs) in 75 and 71% of premise yards in the wet and dry season, respectively, and biodegradable lethal ovitraps (BLOs) in 93% of yards. Public acceptance, measured as retention of traps by residents, was high for both trap types, with <9% of traps missing after 4 weeks. Traps retaining water after 4 weeks were 78 and 34% for the two SLO trials and 58% for the BLOs. The ‘failure rate’ in the 535 BLOs set in the field for 4 weeks was 47%, of which 19% were lost, 51% had holes from probable insect chewing, 23% were knocked over, 7% had dried by evaporation and 1% were split. There was no significant difference in the failure rate of BLOs set on porous (grass, soil and mulch) versus solid (tiles, concrete, wood and stone) substrates. The SLOs and the BLOs were readily acceptable to ovipositing Aedes aegypti L. (Diptera: Culicidae); the mean number of eggs/trap was 6 and 15, for the dry season and wet season SLO trial, respectively, and 15 for the BLO wet season trial. Indeed, 84–94% of premise yards had egg positive SLOs or BLOs. A high percentage of both wet and dry season SLOs (29 and 70%, respectively) and BLOs (62%) that were dry after 4 weeks were egg positive, indicating the traps had functioned. Lethal strips from SLOs and BLOs that had been exposed for 4 weeks killed 83 and 74%, respectively, of gravid Ae. aegypti in laboratory assays. These results indicate that mass trapping schemes using SLOs and BLOs are not rejected by the public and effectively target gravid Ae. aegypti. The impact of the interventions on mosquito populations is described in a companion paper.