A team of scientists at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania may have discovered a crucial new weapon in the fight against malaria and the mosquitoes that spread the deadly disease. The weapon in question is smelly socks or to be more precise, human foot odour. The team are working on a trap that will use the smell of human feet to lure mosquitoes in to their deaths.
The team developed the idea after noticing that mosquitoes are drawn to smelly socks. They tested their theory by draping socks that had been worn for 12 hours inside boxes that were covered by drapes dowsed in insecticide. As the mosquitoes entered the boxes attracted by the smell, between 74 to 95 per cent of them were killed by the insecticide.
Tests are now ongoing to see if the socks themselves are the best lure or whether a synthetic manufactured version of the odour will be as effective.