This Zika-Killing Billboard Lures Mosquitos With the Essence of Human Sweat and Breath

By expelling lactic acid and CO2

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Out-of-home advertising continues its recent quest to make the outdoors a better place to live—not just a place to sell stuff—with interesting billboards in Brazil that kill mosquitos, and hope to make a dent in the spread of the Zika virus.

The boards were designed by Brazilian advertising agency NBS and OOH agency Posterscope, both part of Dentsu Aegis Network. Their panels are equipped with technology that attracts and kills the Aedes Aegypti mosquito—by mimicking the essence of human sweat and breath.

The boards emit a solution into the air containing lactic acid, which reproduces the smell of human sweat, and also carbon dioxide, which replicates human breathing. The combination of these substances attracts mosquitos at a distance of up to 2.5 miles, the agencies say. 

The headline on the ads reads, "This billboard kills hundreds of Zika mosquitos every day."

Here's a video explaining more about how it works:

Once trapped inside the billboards, the mosquitos die of dehydration. The ads were placed in specific areas based on where Zika and dengue outbreaks were happening.

The technology used here is available for free online at under a Creative Commons NonCommercial-Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license, meaning anyone can download and reproduce the boards anywhere in the world.

Billboards in general have been getting more socially conscious in recent years, some of them through pioneering tech that helps ease environmental problems around them. The most famous example is FCB Mayo's billboard that drew moisture out of humid air and turned it into potable drinking water. 

Billboards that attract insects also have something of a history, including this 2010 board from England that used queen-bee pheromones to draw a giant swarm of bees and raise awareness of the declining honey-bee populations. 

Project Name: The Mosquito Killer Billboard
Advertising Agency: NBS
Creative VP: André Lima
Chief Creative Officer: Carlos André Eyer
Creative Director: Marcello Noronha
Creative: Augusto Correia, Bob Ferraz, Hagall Muniz
RTVC: Andrea Metzker
Account Managers: Antonino Brandão, Camilo Coelho.
Business Intelligence: Rafael Bica
Media:  Poliana Tonelli
PR: Camilo Coelho, Karina Okabatake, Caroline Lessa, Máquina Cohn & Wolfe
Film Producer: Cinerama
Director:  Daniel Vargas
Account Managers: Evelyn Oliveira
Executive Producer: Mario Nakamura
Coordinator of Post- Production: Luiz Meliga
Editor: Cris Sampaio
Coordinator of Production: Taís Quadros
CG: Ricardo Brizio
Colorist: Ari Marins
Production: Nina Riviello
Cinematography: Silvia Gangemi
Additional Cinematography: Thiago Lima, Bernardo Richter and Alexandre Rosa
Camera Assistant: Edmar Rosa
Electrician: Paulinho Et
Sound Production: Sonido
Direction and Music Production: João Miguel
Art Directors: Angelo Henrique, Rodrigo Santos
Planning Supervisor: Paulo Farias
Out of home agency: Posterscope
Posterscope lead: Otto Frossard
Production: Julio Pires
Development/Media: Clear Channel

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.