A Blytheville company has developed a product that it says will kill mosquitoes without hurting the environment.
Alvin Wilbanks, the owner of Environmental Products and Research Inc., said his company had already received nearly 100,000 orders from other countries for his Mosquito Killing System. Wilbanks also had plans to meet with New York officials about the machine. New York has been battling the West Nile virus, which is carried by mosquitoes.
“It’s unbelievable how quickly this product has taken off,” said Wilbanks, who invented the machine.
The MKS, which costs $600, is different from other mosquito-killing devices because of its safety and efficiency, he said. And it kills only mosquitoes, not insects beneficial to the environment.
The MKS attracts mosquitoes by simulating the body temperature of humans and animals. Every six minutes, the machine’s temperature changes from 86 to 120 degrees to mimic a body temperature in order to attract mosquitoes.
“It also simulates breathing by releasing CO2,” Wilbanks said.
A fan in the machine sucks the mosquitoes inside, where they are electrocuted. In two hours, the machine can kill 7,000-15,000 mosquitoes, Wilbanks said.
His company has 70 employees now and, by June, should have more than 100, he said. The company is working on developing a machine to mass-market to residents of mosquito-infested states such as Arkansas.
Blytheville Mayor Barrett Harrison said the company is doing very well and should be expanding soon.
“We are very excited to have them as part of our business community,” he said.
Wilbanks said he came up with the idea for the machine because his newborn daughter would wake up with mosquito bites.
Other repellents left Wilbanks with a warm sensation on his skin, he said, and he didn’t know what the chemicals might be doing to his daughter.
“I knew there had to be a better way to go after mosquitoes,” he said.
After 15 years of trial and error, Wilbanks developed the MKS.
“We have a very credible product,” he said. “This is not another one of those $19.95 or $29.95 mosquito gimmicks.”