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A mosquito trap is a contraption which is designed to trap mosquitoes. Usually, mosquito traps kill their victims, although some are designed for live trapping. These traps are used for pest control around homes, gardens, businesses, and so forth, and they are also sometimes used by public health departments and other agencies for research. The collected mosquitoes can be counted and tested for disease to gather information about the local insect community. Many hardware and garden supply stores sell mosquito traps, and some people like to make their own, using bottles filled with soda or other sweet solutions to attract and trap mosquitoes.
The design of a mosquito trap can work in several ways. Classically, mosquito traps are containers which are difficult to escape. The mosquitoes are lured in with bait or a bright light, and they find themselves unable to get out. Other traps are electrified, killing the mosquitoes with an electric shock when they enter the trap. Some are coated in sticky materials like flypaper, while others have chemicals which poison or disorient the mosquitoes.
Depending on the design, a mosquito trap may be disposable, in which case the user dumps it in the garbage when it fills, or reusable. Reusable traps pull apart so that they can be emptied, cleaned, and then reset to catch more mosquitoes. In addition to mosquitoes, many mosquito traps also snare other insect victims, and they can sometimes provide an interesting cross-section of local insect life, for people who care to examine their contents.
Around homes and gardens, a mosquito trap can be a very useful tool. In households where residents like to entertain outdoors, mosquitoes and other insects can be major pests. By constantly trapping mosquitoes, a mosquito trap keeps the insect population down, requiring less use of pesticides, citronella candles, and other control techniques. Using a mosquito trap also reduces the risk of disease by eliminating insects which can carry disease.
In some communities, scientists and public health department officials may set out mosquito traps for the purpose of studying the local insect population. These traps are often clearly labeled so that people know that they should be left alone, and periodically, an official will collect the contents of the trap for study. The insects will be tested for disease to determine which diseases are endemic in an area, and to test for the spread of insect-borne diseases like West Nile Virus.