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Trapping of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) vectors using Light Emitting Diode (LED) CDC traps in two arboviral disease hot spots in Kenya

David P Tchouassi12, Rosemary Sang13, Catherine L Sole2, Armanda DS Bastos2, Lee W Cohnstaedt4 and Baldwyn Torto1*

Author Affiliations

1 International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Nairobi, Kenya

2 Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

3 Centre for Virus Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya

4 United States Department of Agriculture, Center for Grain and Animal Health Research, Agricultural Research Service, Manhattan, KS, USA

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Parasites & Vectors 2012, 5:94  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-5-94

Published: 19 May 2012



Mosquitoes’ response to artificial lights including color has been exploited in trap designs for improved sampling of mosquito vectors. Earlier studies suggest that mosquitoes are attracted to specific wavelengths of light and thus the need to refine techniques to increase mosquito captures following the development of super-bright light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which emit narrow wavelengths of light or very specific colors. Therefore, we investigated if LEDs can be effective substitutes for incandescent lamps used in CDC light traps for mosquito surveillance, and if so, determine the best color for attraction of important Rift Valley Fever (RFV) vectors.


The efficiency of selected colored LED CDC light traps (red, green, blue, violet, combination of blue-green-red (BGR)) to sample RVF vectors was evaluated relative to incandescent light (as control) in a CDC light trap in two RVF hotspots (Marigat and Ijara districts) in Kenya. In field experiments, traps were baited with dry ice and captures evaluated for Aedes tricholabis, Ae. mcintoshi, Ae. ochraceus, Mansonia uniformis, Mn. africana and Culex pipiens, following Latin square design with days as replicates. Daily mosquito counts per treatment were analyzed using a generalized linear model with Negative Binomial error structure and log link using R. The incidence rate ratios (IRR) that mosquito species chose other treatments instead of the control, were estimated.


Seasonal preference of Ae.mcintoshi and Ae. ochraceus at Ijara was evident with a bias towards BGR and blue traps respectively in one trapping period but this pattern waned during another period at same site with significantly low numbers recorded in all colored traps except blue relative to the control. Overall results showed that higher captures of all species were recorded in control traps compared to the other LED traps (IRR < 1) although only significantly different from red and violet.


Based on our trapping design and color, none of the LEDs outcompeted the standard incandescent light. The data however provides preliminary evidence that a preference might exist for some of these mosquito species based on observed differential attraction to these light colors requiring future studies to compare reflected versus transmitted light and the incorporation of colored light of varying intensities.

Mosquito surveillance; Rift Valley Fever vectors; Light-emitting diodes; Light trap; Kenya