Introduction: Solar Scare Mosquito

I am pretty sure that there will be people who disagree, but mosquitoes are by far the most irritating insects around. Of course this is the opinion of a person who has to only deal with the itchiness for a few days and then forget about the unpleasant experience. But many are not so lucky.

Every year, over a million people are killed by malaria and there is no effective method to tackle this problem. The only solution is to destroy mosquito breeding grounds and curb the problem at source. As mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, I concluded that surface aeration would the best means of eliminating breeding grounds. It would prevent a mosquito from laying eggs as it can lay eggs only if the water surface is completely still. And even if the mosquito does lay eggs, its larvae would suffocate as they need to remain on the water surface to breath. The device would also reduce the larvae’s source of nutrition as aeration hinders the development of algae, anaerobic bacteria and the surface microlayer. So I built a solar-powered device that creates surface turbulence through aeration and thereby prevents mosquito breeding:

Watch the device in action:Solar Scare Mosquito

This device automatically switches on when it comes in contact with water so that it floats up and starts running when flood-water gets collected. It generates air bubbles that can effectively produce ripples up to a radius of 2 meters. The air pump is timer-based and runs at intervals of 10 minutes to increase the life of the device and maintain a balanced water oxygen level. I have also provided an alarm which alerts if the water body dries up or someone tries to remove the device from the water.

The world is spending billions of dollars for developing vaccines for vector-borne diseases like malaria. However, curbing the problem at source is a much direct and effective solution. At less than $10, this device is not only affordable for developing countries like India, but can be easily implemented at large-scale. At present, there is no such sustainable product to reduce mosquito breeding in water bodies.

If this device is improved upon and ubiquitously installed in villages and cities, then I’m sure the world will soon be free from mosquito borne diseases like malaria and Zika.

Do contact me if you are interested in developing this product or would like to have these installed in your community!

Coming Soon Solar Scare Mosquito 2.0.

For further details, visit:

Step 1: Hypothesis

More than half the world's population is vulnerable to vector-borne diseases. These diseases, namely malaria, largely affect children and poor people and there is no promising solution to eradicate it.

Question: So how can we control malaria using technology?

As mosquitoes transmit malaria and water stagnation is the primary cause of mosquito-breeding, by preventing water stagnation, it should be possible to curb malaria.

Hypothesis: By devising a surface aeration system for small water bodies, it should be possible to control mosquito breeding.

Step 2: Don't Stagnate... Research!

The primary reason why mosquito breeding cannot be easily controlled is that all breeding grounds need to be either regularly emptied or regularly treated with insecticides. Regularly emptying surrounding objects is tedious and often not practical. And employing people to regularly treat water bodies with larvicides and fogging is expensive. Therefore potential breeding grounds are not maintained and stagnant water in common elements of a cityscape like birdbaths, rain barrels, water reservoirs, ponds, swamps and sewage lines become vulnerable to mosquito breeding.

On evaluating the ideal conditions for mosquito breeding, I concluded that surface aeration would be the ideal solution to control this breeding because of the following reasons:

  1. Surface turbulence will prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs on water as mosquitoes can lay eggs only if the water is completely still.

  2. If they do succeed in laying eggs, the eggs may drown or get damaged with the turbulence.

  3. If the eggs hatch, the larvae will not be able to remain on the turbulent surface and get exhausted in the process of diving down and resurfacing.

  4. As the larvae will not be able to remain on the surface and breathe, they will suffocate and ultimately die.

  5. Moreover, surface aeration will reduce anaerobic bacterial development and deplete larval nutrition from the microlayer.

Having concluded that theoretically surface aeration is the key to controlling mosquito breeding, I went on to verify my hypothesis through experiment.

Step 3: Building the Device

Picture of Building the Device

The device comprises of the following parts:

Bubble aeration

I chose bubble aeration to create surface turbulence as it requires less power and maintenance than other methods of aeration, such as the use of an impeller or a fountain. For this prototype, I used a portable aquarium pump as a bubble generator.

Solar Power

As the aerator needs to run perpetually, it is not practical to make it battery-powered as the battery would have to be replaced often. So I made the device solar powered. Here, I’ve used a 6v 3w panel.


As most mosquitoes lay eggs between dusk and dawn, the device would be most effective at night. And so with the help of an LDR, which is a light intensity sensor, the device runs only when it’s dark. During the day, the solar panel charges Li-ion batteries and these batteries run the aerator at night.


A 555 timer circuit switches the pump on and off at intervals of 10 minutes to increase the life of the pump.

Automatic Start

In the case of rainwater, roadwork and construction sites, no arrangements are made to treat such temporary water bodies that are potential breeding grounds.

So to deal with this problem, the aeration device automatically starts when it comes in contact with water so that it can be installed in a catchment area and when water gets collected, it starts running immediately and leaves no room for mosquito breeding.


The device also includes an inbuilt alarm to alert if the water body dries up or someone tries to remove the device from water.

Step 4: Get Your Hands Dirty

Picture of Get Your Hands Dirty

This is the best part of the project...building the circuit! It takes no time to build this circuit which could potentially save you from those nasty mosquito bites. So get tinkering!


  1. 6V 450mA Solar Cell
  2. Portable aquarium aerator
  3. 2 x Lithium Ion Rechargeable Batteries (laptop batteries - 18650A)
  4. Piezo Buzzer
  5. Perfboard
  6. 555 Timer IC
  7. 3 x 2N3904 NPN Transistors
  8. BD135 NPN Transistor
  9. Heat sink
  10. Capacitors - 470 uF, 0.1 uF
  11. Resistors - 220 ohms, 470 ohms, 2 x 10 k, 100k, 1M.
  12. Indicator LED
  13. Toggle switch
  14. Jumpers

Electronic Parts:

  1. 6V 450mA Solar Cell
  2. Portable aquarium aerator
  3. 2 x AA Rechargeable Batteries (I used 2 AA alkaline batteries as I did not have rechargeable ones)
  4. Piezo Buzzer
  5. Perfboard
  6. 555 Timer
  7. 3 x 2N3904 NPN Transistors
  8. BD135 NPN Transistor
  9. Heat sink
  10. Capacitors - 470 uF, 0.1 uF
  11. Resistors - 220 ohms, 470 ohms, 2 x 10 k, 100k, 1M.
  12. Indicator LED
  13. Toggle switch
  14. Jumpers

Other materials:

  1. Casing
  2. 3 x 2" Stainless Steel bolts (that will serve as water probes)
  3. PVC pipe and fittings
  4. Miscellaneous tools

Step 5: Observation, Experimentation and Results

Picture of Observation, Experimentation and Results

To test the device, I installed it in a small pond where rainwater had recently collected.

I waited until mosquito larvae began appearing in the pool to ensure that the pool was suitable for mosquito breeding. About three days after the larvae were born, I installed the aerator in the pond and observed the larval population in the pond. The results of the experiment are tabulated in the image above (I did not provide photos of the experiment as the larval population in the pond was not visible in the photos).

The experiment shows that while the aerator was not sufficiently powerful to suffocate and kill the full-grown larvae, within two hours it wiped out the majority of the young larval population and ensured a mosquito-free water body thereafter.

Step 6: A Mosquito-free Tomorrow

Picture of A Mosquito-free Tomorrow

My observations have shown that, by preventing water stagnation by means of aeration, it is possible to control mosquito breeding and thereby control the proliferation of malaria.

The aeration device that I have built costs less than $ 10. Considering that every year, the global medical expenditure on malaria control amounts to over US$ 6 billion, ubiquitously installing this device in villages and cities would cost only a fraction of that amount.

I hope that, one day this cost effective and sustainable device will save the world valuable money and priceless lives.


weltons2 (author)2017-01-04

I developed the same idea with arduino, but this project is much more viable in terms of cost, I'm doing a study for presentation of course completion in college, I live in Brazil where the case of zika is very high this idea can save many lives , If you can help me how do I contact you?

Sir Learns A Lot (author)2016-11-03

This is an awesome device and I live in Florida where there are already confirmed case cases of Zika so I was wondering if it would be possible to purchase one of these from you.

JunezRiyaz (author)2016-10-07

Great job

nj_hou (author)2016-08-09

What a great idea! Thank you. As a person living in Texas constantly under threat of yellow fever, west nile virus, dengue fever, all sorts of encephalitis, and now zika WE in the non-developed world appreciate your work . When west nile first hit, the blue jays were hit very hard so it's not always people who may be vaccinated, the fauna are also effected . Thanks again !

gallactronics (author)nj_hou2016-08-09

You're most welcome! I hope this device is available in your area soon

Guilherme_23 (author)2016-04-28

How did you make it to work only when in contact with water?

Technovation (author)2016-04-04

amazing project,will try it soon...

Guilherme_23 (author)2016-03-17

Hi! I am from Brazil and I loved your project! I was wondering if you could help me build smth similar for my school project! Very good initiative!


Mustafa Moussa (author)2015-08-17

It is slightly confusing, that the fact that Africa is a hot continent with little water in some countries, yet it is the best known for cases of Malaria, do Mosquitos breed any other places than water ponds, rivers and lakes?

The forests, swallows geological formations and plants design becomes tiny ponds during dew or rain and this is the most moquito breending places, like bromeliae species per example.

TechPaul (author)Mustafa Moussa2016-01-21

Mosquitos will breed in any body of "fresh" water. Any old car tyres, cups, tree hollows etc. There has been some recent research into mosquito attractors and it has found the male is attracted to a 484Hz signal. Obviously if the males are trapped and killed it also makes it harder for the breeding cycle to continue.

Even a little rain would cause water to get collected in small quantities here and there, which is all that mosquitoes need to breed in abundance. Also poor hygiene, living conditions and healthcare result in more deaths than in a more developed country.

NINUMAIJ (author)2015-12-29

nice.. keep up with good work

Epicbubblegunner (author)2015-09-22


Aman Singh Chawla (author)2015-02-20


haha thanks man

smandal13 (author)2015-08-16

excellent job

gallactronics (author)smandal132015-08-18


SiegHolle (author)2015-08-16

great idea will build and share results -thanks

gallactronics (author)SiegHolle2015-08-18

looking forward to it!

AMFerg (author)2015-08-17

Nice, job. It is really simple and effective.

ewlance (author)2015-08-16

Great device! How long does the battery last?

gallactronics (author)ewlance2015-08-17

i haven't tested this thoroughly but I think it is enough to run the device through the night

hal1 (author)2015-08-16

Very very impressive

BambiB (author)2015-08-16

So if the device is effective to a radius of 2 meters, a 1 acre pond (64 meters on a side) would require 322 of these devices?

graham641 (author)BambiB2015-08-16

I am guessing that he has arranged the bubble output to cause the device to move a bit. He did not say but it would not be difficult until the bubbler device was stopped by...oh, I dont know... perhaps when it clogs with algae or is stopped by a stick.?

graham641 (author)2015-08-16

What would happen if you added a little surfactant to the stagnant water?

graham641 (author)graham6412015-08-16

What are the environmental effects of oxygenating a stagnent pool instead of adding a little harmless surfactant?

DanM37 (author)2015-08-16

Love this project!!!

HazelL2 (author)2015-08-16

What an ingenious, economic and CHEMICAL-FREE way to control mosquitoes.

diy_bloke (author)2015-02-03

Very interesting project but still a bit rough around the edges. I concur with some of the remarks made below about the transistor being able to turn on.
I was wondering which of the two circuits you actually made. the one with 'glitches' or th eone with 'more features'.
It is a bit unclear to me why in the circuit at the bottom you need two pair of probes. also from yr construction it isnt quite clear where you lead those probes to. Are they just sort of hanging out of the box?.
also wonder what exactly is happening in the pvc pipe. you just lead the tube in there.
As said, i great project, but the ibble could use some updating

gallactronics (author)diy_bloke2015-02-19

Thanks! Actually I made the video using the first circuit but later improved the circuit and retested it. The probes are fixed to the float made of PVC pipe. There is a piece of thermocol fixed just before the bend of the PVC pipe such that only the thin tube from the pump protrudes from it. This way the air from the pump accumulates in the section after the thermocol to create bigger bubbles, therefore bigger ripples.

tedsavior (author)2014-09-16

I am really intrigued on how many minutes it would take for the larvae to be suffocated...Does anyone have a study pertaining the breathing capabilities of mosquito larvae under water?

smooney2 (author)2014-08-01

@ djow Dengue and Chikgunya are from container breeding Mosquitos ( Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus ) . And malaria is from the Anophlese .

tedsavior (author)2014-07-13

May I ask how you conducted your observation? How were you able to determine the larval population?

gallactronics (author)tedsavior2014-07-14

Well the pool in which I conducted the experiment was fairly small. So it wasn't hard to make an approximation of the larval population in there. This is far from a scientifically sound experiment, but serves the purpose.

Dave Kruschke (author)2014-05-20

Your Step 4, above, admonished me to "Get my Hands Dirty" so I took you up on it. I didn't believe that the resistance of the water would be low enough to turn on your middle transistor to supply 200 ma of current that I think is needed for your pump motor. I used four resistors in parallel to simulate the load of the pump at 6 volts, drawing 200 ma of current. Where my 100 ohm resistor is, I had put in a variable resistor and adjusted it lower and lower to get the maximum current. The highest current I could get with new batteries was 123 ma, less than 200 ma. I measured the resistance of the variable resistor and got about 100 ohms. I then replaced the variable resistor with a 100 ohm resistor. So..., IF the resistance of the water between the pond probes was 100 ohms, there would be 5.2 volts at 123 ma to power your pump. Please review the attached schematic.

But now the problem: When I measured the resistance between probes put in tap water, I got 1 megohm, way, way too high to turn on your transistor. Next, I mixed up a very salty batch of salt water and measured 100,000 ohm - still way, way too high to turn on your transistor! Moreover, I don't know if the mosquito would even deposit larvae in salt water.

So I'm convinced there is no way that your water probes are going to turn on your transistor that supplies power from the solar cells to the pump motor. You might need one or more additional transistors to your turn on circuit for your pump. Since your turn on circuit for the piezo buzzer uses a lower turn on current and has two transistors, it may behave better for you but I didn't check this out...

Try using a FET instead of a bipolar. They run on voltage and the impedance is really really high. You will probably have to put a resistor (megohms) shunting G-S just to get it to shut off when you take it out of the water.

Yeah, the FET suggestion above might be part of the solution to the motor turn on problem. However, I read that the famous MPF102 FET can only carry a max. current of 20 ma, enough to turn on a LED but not the pump motor. So this FET might still need a bipolar transistor.

I think that this project has more than a couple of rough edges to be worked out before any kind of "victory" can be declared. Of course, I'm assuming that it is expected that this project actually work and cost as advertised for some kind of specified time...

The MPF102 is a small signal UHF amplifier junction FET. What you need is a power MOSFET. They have replaced bipolars almost everywhere. You can control dozens of watts with a few volts of gate voltage. E.g. the "famous" IRF510, 5 amps, blocks 100V, costs under a buck.

Well, Jim; did you actually try this or is this just something "off the top of your head?" I paid well over "a buck" for the famous IRF510 from Radio Shack and hooked it up to a 6 volt supply and a 6 volt bulb that draws 150 ma. Since the bulb dimly lit with nothing applied to the gate, I grounded the gate with a 10 megohm resistor, following your earlier suggestion about doing this when using a FET. Using high ohm resistors, connected between 6 volts and the FET gate, I had to work my way down as far as 100,000 ohms to get the bulb to turn on (but only partially). But LESS than 100,000 ohms wouldn't be good here because of the higher ohms inherent in a water probe connection.

I suppose you could accuse me of having a "bad attitude" but in my case, this is caused by published suggestions that are untested and don't work....

I suggest you do some reading on MOSFETs in general, and switching and driver circuits in particular. This might be a good start:

As I said, one of the tricks of the MOSFET vs. the bipolar is that at low switching speeds you only need enough energy to charge up the gate capacitance to a few volts, whereas the bipolar needs a constant feed of current to stay on. I liked to use them as relay or lamp drivers (back in the incandescent days) fed by 5 volt logic, which sees a minimal load. I've stacked them to make 1200 volt pulses, driven by a pulse transformer. I've used them as circuit breakers that react in a microsecond.

Since you've got an IRF510, get a data sheet and look at the curve of drain voltage vs. current at different gate voltages. They don't start to work until you get to the gate threshold voltage of up to 4 volts, but at 6 volts they should be able to pull a couple amps.

Radio Shack is handy, but you can get them on Ebay for around 50 cents. Be careful with the gate, because you can zap them with static a lot easier than bipolars because of the super high impedance.

Thanks, Jim. I think that your suggestions are good since actually using MOSFETs is new to me. But after further thought, I can now see that it would be more appropriate if YOU were the one that carried water for Pranav (a.k.a. Gallactronics) by providing a schematic here that could be deployed to control his pump according to the presence of water. Of course, the above assumes that Pranav is still interested in this project...

In my own case, my Instructabe time lately has been centered on Instructables related to the "Joule Thief" along with touching on RFID.

Well, I'm busy saving the world in other ways, and I think that Pranav has a pretty good working model. His circuit seems to work pretty well, and the 2N3904 or 2N2222 sells for 2 cents in bulk and there are billions of them out there, vs. a 25 cent MOSFET that can be hard to find. We don't know how much current his pump draws, or the bulk resistivity of scummy pond water in India, or what he used for probes to get enough drive current.

Of course his water bubbler is only going to work on a certain size body of water, and looking around my neck of the woods I find it would be completely useless to me. So I'm going to build some bat houses and maybe a guppy pond instead.

Pranav should be quite happy with your post above as it reveals much Trust but little Verification. Fifteen years of experience in the Engineering Quality field has maybe pushed me to being more critical than others here. Trust but Verify is what I'm thinking here.

For instance, you say "we don't know how much current his pump draws." But actually, we do have some idea of a minimum. Going online, I was only able to find pumps powered by 3 volts, 12 volts or line voltage. The lowest (and cheapest) was rated at 1.5 watts. So...o, at 6 volts, we have 250 ma, sort of what I've been using as an estimate. Do you think I'm wrong to think this? And another Trust issue is Pranav's image where a Duracell Alkaline battery is shown but it is tagged as a rechargeable. Additionally, Pranav's scummy pond water that you mentioned probably has a higher resistance than the batch of salt water I made for a test.

Even though Pranav has written what is supposed to be an Instructable here, he has left out details needed for Replicating his device. I've always thought that Instructables were about Replication not just about Publicity. Moreover, notice how Pranav avoids providing Input that would easily clear up some of our endless questions. However, Pranav does respond to Praise but I don't think that this will qualify him for any kind of financial grant.

Lastly, do be cautious with Bats as about 2 to 3 people a year die a horrible death in the US due to Rabies. Before and When I was growing up, Bears, Wolves and Rabid Bats were to be feared but now this has all changed as the current generation seems to think that these creatures are "cute"...

Sir, I respect your "Fifteen years of experience in the Engineering Quality field" and I appreciate your in depth analysis of this Instructable. But to let you know, I am a college student with a modest knowledge of electronics and little free time.

I agree that this device is far from being an engineering marvel. But the difference between engineering and innovation lies in the fact that the focus is on perfection of design in the former, whereas in the latter, the focus is on the idea and the underlying concept.

And in the case of the Solar Scare Mosquito, more than the device itself, it is the underlying concept which is being appreciated globally.

I agree that there are some glitches in the circuit but I don't have the time nor the knowledge to perfect it.

It is up to old hands like you to resolve these issues!

My experience in Engineering Quality was not mentioned to claim any Authority. I only mentioned my Engineering Quality experience to possibly explain my being picky about certain details that seem to be needed. You didn't mention WHAT you were studying in College but I do suggest that you don't over emphasize what you call "the difference between engineering and innovation." Was Thomas Edison, who invented the practical light bulb, record player and movie camera an Innovator? An Inventor? An Engineer? A Businessman? Maybe all four? The important thing is that Thomas Edison took Ownership of the problems he worked on and badly wanted to see them work. Some of your readers might or might not help resolve your issues but it is very unlikely that they will take ownership of your project. That said, I do respect the fact that you are short of time but I suspect that your knowledge about your project isn't that far from what is needed to make it practical...

smooney2 (author)Dave Kruschke2014-05-21

As to your not knowing about Mosquitos and salt water .. Yes some do ,and will only lay there eggs in water with 1-12% salt content .. Anopheles Atropos is one species . Aedes Taeniorhynchus (Salt Marsh Mosquito) is another

Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2014-06-20

Congratulations!!! for winning double contests :). Great job done :)

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