The results of a new study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology show that products claiming to reduce mosquito populations with salt-water solutions are not effective.
Investigators conducted a series of laboratory tests in 5 locations using 9 species of mosquito, finding no evidence that adult mosquitoes are killed by salt ingested at concentrations used in several popular mosquito-control products.
The team assembled feeding trials during which caged mosquitoes were offered 1 of 4 diets for a week: salt water only, sugar water only, water only, or a salt-and-sugar-water mixture. The concentrations in the diets were based on the product description of the most widely available salt-based mosquito-control device on the market.
“The consistency in the findings was a bit of a surprise given that nature is messy,” study coordinator Donald Yee, PhD, BCE, said in a statement. “We’d expect there to be a lot of variation in responses to the diets we offered, but broadly speaking, adding salt to plain water or sugar water didn’t lead to increased mosquito death. Adult mosquitoes just don’t die faster because they drink salt water.”
The investigators recommended that the public turn to local mosquito-control agencies for proper guidance or use traditional practices and products to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne disease.