Authors – Anu Surya Ramasamy & Khoushik Senthil
An incessant problem faced by all people across India is the mosquito menace. It has become a serious health crisis not only in our country but also in other tropical countries. The bite of a mosquito causes serious diseases such as malaria, dengue, chikungunya and many more. Apart from these diseases, it also causes nuisance by thwarting outdoor activities in the evening and prevents sound sleep.
To avoid mosquitoes, people use various preventive measures like mosquito coil, electric mosquito zapper bats, net covered beds, mosquito repellant liquids, creams, sprays, cards etc. These products are efficient to some extent, but they come with some side effects. Burning mosquito coils produce smoke, which cause breathing problems, while body creams and sprays have toxic chemicals that can create skin problems.
Hermo – Herbal Mosquito Repellant
To address this incessant problem, S Prabakaran, a young innovator from Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu has introduced ‘Hermo’, a herbal mosquito repellant spray. Hermo is an eco friendly water-based natural formulation, consisting of herbal extracts. It has been found effective, completely safe and certified as non-allergic and not-toxic. This herbal spray is a good alternative to chemical-based products for saving people from mosquito bites.
This idea came across to Prabakaran when he was studying B.Tech in Biotechnology from Periyar Maniammai University in Thanjavur. His department head sought project ideas from his college team for an upcoming science fair. However, Prabakaran was involved in a conversation with his classmate. When his professor shouted at him and asked for ideas, he panicked and and I blurted out, “Sir, I plan to make a herbal mosquito repellant”, since he saw a girl swatting a mosquito in the classroom.
His professor took it serious and made him work on the idea from that very day and in the science fair, their product was sold at Rs.50 each packet. After his pilot product sold well in the science festival in Coimbatore, Prabakaran realized the demand for such herbal products and began to develop it further. He was incubated at Periyar Technology Business Incubator, which helped him with lab facilities and technical guidance to improve on his innovation.
Since Hermo has herbal extracts that are free from chemicals, it has received good response from the market. Each 100 ml of Hermo contains 6ml of lemon grass extract (cymbopogon citrate), 1.5ml of Indian geranium or rosha grass (cymbopogon martini), 2ml of neem (azadirachta indica) and 0.5ml of Tulsi (ocimum sanctum). Hermo is tested by Sigma Test & Research Centre in New Delhi and is also certified by doctors as non-allergic and non-toxic.
Consumers can simply spray Hermo on different parts of their body and rub gently. It is safe enough to be applied on face as well. It also is a multipurpose spray that can be sprayed on dresses and inside rooms. Hermo is gaining demand everyday and Prabakaran’s enterprise BioCline is now providing jobs for many people in his hometown Thanjavur.
Hawker – The Mocker of Mosquitoes
There are various mosquito repellant ideas but there are few that eliminate mosquitoes from our surroundings. Kerala-based innovator Mathew K Mathews proposes that with his invention, Hawker, these tiny jeopardizing insects can be it trapped and killed in a contained environment.
Mathew came up with his idea of a solar-based mosquito trapper in 2000. The concept of Hawker originated from Mathew’s experience on a quiet day in his college, when he saw a mosquito trying to escape from his room through a transparent glass in the roof. The phototropic behavior this tiny insect inspired Mathew to work on his invention by using a transparent glass to trap.
The most important benefit in this device is that it is eco-friendly and works on biogas extracted from household septic tanks. Since mosquitoes are attracted to biogas, an inlet tube is provided in the device which contains biogas coming from a septic tank to which the device is connected. A transparent tube is provided which uses sunlight acts to misguide the mosquitoes to enter into a dome-shaped transparent glass tube. These tiny insects then get trapped inside the container before being killed due to dehydration.
With the implementation of Hawker a minimum of 100 mosquitoes can be exterminated in a day. The Hawker weighs less than 2Kg and is priced at a reasonable cost of INR1400. Although Mathew has patented his product, unfortunately he has sold only 500 units till 2010 due to lack of funds and lack of interest by government officials.