Dynamic Solutions Worldwide
Innovation: DynaTrap mosquito trap
It is part of summer in Wisconsin: At some point, a stretch of wet weather will be followed by a few hot and humid days. Before long, peaceful evenings on the back patio are routinely interrupted by the need to swat mosquitoes away.
That is, unless you are in the backyard of James Hunter, chairman of Milwaukee-based Dynamic Solutions Worldwide LLC. Hunter joked that with the four DynaTrap mosquito traps he has, his neighbor probably doesn’t have any mosquitoes either.
DynaTrap is Dynamic Solutions’ flagship product. It is a mosquito trap that uses ultraviolet light at a specific spectrum, titanium dioxide-coated materials and naturally occurring carbon. The combination creates carbon dioxide through a photocatalytic reaction and, along with heat and moisture, mimics the factors that attract female mosquitoes to humans. Instead of landing on your arm and drawing blood, a fan sucks the mosquitoes into a basket, where they dehydrate and die.
It’s a product Hunter and Dynamic Solutions acquired from Racine-based manufacturer Dynaseal Inc. in 2010. Dynaseal owner Juan Rocha had found the technology behind DynaTrap in South Korea and has since joined Dynamic Solutions as president and a partner in the business, Hunter said.
The initial DynaTrap model could cover a roughly half-acre area. An updated model now covers a 1-acre area.
“We found that we could increase the size of the trap and increase the reach,” Hunter said.
The bigger trap has a higher wattage bulb that generates more light and heat, a larger fan and, of course, a big basket to hold more mosquitoes.
“The basic technology has stayed the same,” Hunter said.
The 1-acre model has become the company’s most popular and sells for $209. There are also smaller outdoor and indoor models. DynaTrap is sold online, at mass retailers like Ace Hardware, Sam’s Club, Costco and Menards, and also through QVC.
The devices are manufactured in China and then shipped directly to retailers or a third-party logistics firm in Menomonee Falls. Hunter said the goal is for Dynamic Solutions to have its own warehouse and possibly manufacturing capability, too. Selling mosquito traps is an admittedly seasonal business and that has created a roadblock to Dynamic Solutions expanding its own facilities.
“If we got to the point where we would have more uniform sales throughout the year, it would probably be more economical for us to have our own distribution warehouse and possibly our own manufacturing,” Hunter said.
Flattening the seasonality would require finding products to counter the peak sales season of DynaTrap or expanding sales of the flagship product into the southern hemisphere, Hunter said.
In the meantime, the company is looking to grow DynaTrap sales, investing in marketing, including social media, search and radio, especially in the lead up to recently being featured on QVC. Hunter said the majority of new customers are attracted through word-of-mouth.
“If people buy the product or somehow acquire the product and use it, a very, very high percentage are pleased,” he said.
But Hunter also acknowledged the company has discovered a need to educate consumers about how to use the traps.
“There are some people that no matter what we do, we can’t please them because they expect to put the trap up today and all the mosquitoes will be gone tomorrow; that isn’t the way it works,” he said.
The trap works by killing female mosquitoes before they can lay eggs, thinning out the population in the area over time. Some users only turn the trap on at night, Hunter said, meaning mosquitoes born during the day could easily be missed. He also recommends users set traps up at least 20 feet from where they’ll be sitting to avoid attracting mosquitoes and having it off the ground to prevent other animals from interfering.
“There’s some technique in how you abate the mosquito population,” he said.
Even with his four traps, Hunter can still occasionally have problems with mosquitoes. He once was walking to his garden hose when he was bit. He looked down and saw a small amount of standing water in a tray on the hose reel, just enough for a mosquito to lay eggs in.
“It may even just take a bottle cap turned upside down,” he said, noting users have to deal with standing water for traps to work their best.