Entrepreneur

How This M'sian Startup Is Tricking Aedes Mosquitoes Into Killing Their Own Eggs

We Malaysians should already be familiar with the mosquito. We all know that high pitched buzz and those itchy bumps that annoy us to no end.

Then there are the dreaded Aedes species that can leave us in hospital beds with dengue fever.

We have tried all sorts of methods in our war against this menace, but one company, MN Empire, plans to conquer our bloodsucking foe by attacking the mosquito’s life cycle directly.

To find out more, Vulcan Post talked to Nursarah Susanna (Sarah), Personal Assistant to the Director of MN Empire.

A Liquid Solution

Founded by Dato’ Sri Marcus Lee Andrew in 2016, MN Empire is a tech company that aims to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever.

The team consists of a group of entrepreneurs experienced in developing and designing high quality solar powered mosquito eliminators.

“We focus on the underlying issue of dengue. It is clear that not many entrepreneurs have touched the subject, and among those who have, not many are very effective at diminishing the viral issue,” said Sarah.

Image Credit: MN Empire

She also claimed that prevention techniques such as fogging and larviciding are not sustainable.

“Instead of breathing in chemical substances, we want to see dengue cases sustainably lessen with a solution that does not pollute the environment and our health,” she said.

So MN Empire came up with its own solution, literally.

Their Aedes Aid (AA) Solution is a special liquid that directly targets mosquito eggs, ensuring they never hatch thus destroying the mosquitos’ reproductive cycle.

In a field test conducted by the Institute For Medical Research, this liquid successfully reduced the number of dengue cases at a Sunway condominium (53 confirmed cases prior to the test) over the course of a year.

But how exactly does the solution work?

It is delivered via three devices, the Insecto (for indoors), the Ultron and Voltron (for outdoors).

The Voltrons guarding a pool / Image Credit: MN Empire

The device attracts mosquitos to lay their eggs inside the containers filled with AA solution, first preventing those eggs from hatching.

These same female mosquitos will then fly off, carrying the solution to other sources of stagnant water, thus contaminating the entire breeding grounds and the eggs there.

Essentially, this makes the mosquitos the harbingers of their own demise.

And don’t worry, we asked about the safety of the solution to humans. The AA solution is organic, odourless and completely safe towards us.

“Rest assured that when touched, no harm will come to the skin, and if drank, it takes 90 bottles to cause diarrhoea in children,” Sarah said.

Killing In Style

If you’re feeling particularly hateful, then you’ll be happy to know that these devices can also kill the little buggers.

They’re not your standard bug zapper either. They are not only more energy-efficient, but they also look really stylish.

Image Credit: MN Empire

“Mosquito prevention is not the most attractive device to have in a well-furnished home as it is often associated with dead bugs and insects. This is why we decided to end that stigma and design a well-rounded device that is not only functional for its purpose but also pleasing to the eyes,” explained Sarah.

The Insecto uses a 395nm UV light to draw in mosquitos and other insects within an area of 500 sq ft. Instead of a zapper, it uses a strong suction fan to suck in and trap the mosquitos inside the device, where they will die of dehydration.

And because it is not equipped with a zapper it only needs 5 watts of electricity to run, fed by a USB cable.

The Ultron and Voltron, on the other hand, do have zappers, and more powerful UV lights with a coverage area of 3,000 and 10,000 sq ft respectively.

Besides being designed to blend in with modern landscapes to minimise visual pollution, they’re solar powered too, which means users bear no additional electricity cost for the zappers.

The Ultron in the day and at night / Image Credit: MN Empire

Specifically, after a charging period of 4 hours under direct sunlight, the Ultron can run for 12 hours while the Voltron can go for 8 to 9 hours.

You can find these products at HomePro stores, or get them directly from MN Empire’s head office in Puchong.

But these mosquito killing machines don’t come cheap:

  • Insecto: RM289 per unit, including one bottle of AA solution
  • Ultron: RM1950, including installation
  • Voltron: RM2200, including installation
  • AA solution bottle: RM90

Do note that there is an extra fee for installation and deliveries for customers outside the Klang Valley too.

However, there are people willing to pay the prices.

MN Empire already sold almost 26,000 units in 2018, via online sales alone. That year, they earned RM4 million in revenue.

Knowing Is Half The Battle

You would think that finding ways to eliminate mosquitos was the hard part, but you would be wrong, as Sarah revealed to us:

The main challenge we faced is the mindset and support from the public. It seems that only people who have had close family members and friends affected are the only ones who understand the importance of prevention. Many are not aware that it could be deadly and to make matters worse, it has no cure.

Nursarah Susanna, MN Empire

MN Empire is trying to address this by relying on social media to spread awareness via news clippings, educational videos and photos, and testimonies. They are also involved in relevant events and exhibitions. 

“In 2 years, we would like to see MN Empire’s indoor and outdoor dengue prevention technology as an essential in society,” Sarah said.

“So far, we have exported our products to Singapore and India, so we plan to introduce our technology to all the local hotspots and export to more countries with similar issues.”

  • You can read more about what we’ve written on other Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: MN Empire Facebook

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