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Consumers cautioned on fire risk vulnerability of mosquito traps - CHOICE # 329

  • 2004.03.15

Mosquito traps that exterminate the insects to prevent the spread of dengue fever, could in some instances be vulnerable to fire risk.  Mosquito traps should therefore be used carefully, especially when they are left unattended.

A Consumer Council test has showed that the plastic materials of 6 models of mosquito traps did not have adequate fire resistance to "needle flame", requiring improvement of the products concerned.

For the "needle flame" test, it was applied to the 7 models using electrified grid to kill insects. The purpose is to ensure plastic materials enclosing or supporting the grid, and the catch tray have certain level of flammability resistance, so as to prevent the mosquito trap from being ignited when excessive sparks are generated during electrocution of mosquitoes.

The safety test was conducted in view of two recent fire accidents in which mosquito traps were suspected to have been involved in July and September last year respectively.

The Council has forwarded the test finding to both the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) and the manufacturers concerned. The EMSD has taken appropriate follow-up actions. Some of the manufacturers have responded positively, undertaking to improve the products, or to upgrade the safety of the plastic materials (to FV-0 class which has a better flammability resistance).

Other test findings of non-compliance with reference to the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) safety standard included: protection against access to live parts, construction, creepage distance and stability. Though the deficiencies are marginal, consumers are advised to follow necessary precautions in using the mosquito traps.

The 9 mosquito trap models, priced from $115 to $1,680, comprised 6 models using electrified grid to kill insects, 2 models using fan to suck insects into the catch tray, and 1 model combining both devices.

All models mostly applied ultra-violet light to attract mosquitoes and other insects; one of them also applied Octenol which mimics the odours of animals to lure mosquitoes.

The performance test showed that some models were clearly more effective in trapping mosquitoes than the others and in particular, the 2 fan-type models were deemed better; the use of Octenol was also showed to be effective in increasing the performance.

Consumers using mosquito traps are advised to pay heed to the following:

  • Always read the instruction carefully before use.
  • Regularly empty the receptacle or catch tray, and use a dry brush to remove dead insects from the grid.
  • Always unplug first when emptying the device, or replacing the light tube.
  • Always leave the repair to the supplier. Don't attempt to repair it yourself.

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