Scientists at the University of Notre Dame have found that exposure to just 10 minutes of light at night suppresses biting and manipulates flight behavior in the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, the major vector for transmission of malaria in Africa, according to new research published in the journal Parasites and Vectors.
Critical behaviors exhibited by the species, such as feeding, egg laying and flying, are time-of-day specific, including a greater propensity for nighttime biting. A recent report from the World Health Organization stated an estimated 212 million people worldwide are infected with the disease, resulting in 429,000 deaths – mostly children.
Insecticide-treated bed nets and walls have helped prevent bites and reduce malaria, but researchers say mosquitoes are adapting to preventive conditions, leaving adults and children vulnerable in the early evening and early morning hours – when they are not under the nets or in the house.
“Anopheline mosquitoes are adapting to these current methods by developing resistance to insecticides and by shifting feeding to earlier in the evening or later into the early morning, times of the day when people are not in bed and therefore not protected by a net. So what used to be an efficient method is becoming less effective,” said Giles Duffield, associate professor of biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame and the Eck Institute for Global Health, who specializes in the molecular biology of circadian rhythms and photobiology in mammals and mosquitoes. “We need to discover new methods to address mosquito control and prevention. The systems and tools we currently have including global distribution and usage of insecticide-treated bed nets and spraying are not enough.”
For the study, Duffield and his team tested the mosquitoes’ preference to bite during their active host-seeking period by separating them into multiple control and test batches. Control mosquitoes were kept in the dark, while test batches were exposed to a pulse of white light for 10 minutes. Researchers then tested the propensity of the mosquitoes to bite immediately after the pulse and every two hours throughout the night, holding their arms to a mesh lining that allowed uninfected mosquitoes to feed while remaining contained. Results indicated a significant suppression. In another experiment, mosquitoes were pulsed with light every two hours, and using this multiple pulse approach the team found that biting could be suppressed during a large portion of the 12-hour night.
“Most remarkable is the prolonged effect a short light treatment has on their preference to bite, with suppression lasting as long as four hours after the pulse,” Duffield said. “This may prove to be an effective tool that complements established control methods used to reduce disease transmission.”
Pulses of light would probably be more effective than constant exposure, Duffield said, as the mosquitoes would be less likely to adapt to light presented in periodic doses. The research team is testing the effectiveness of different wavelengths of light, such as red light, that would be less disturbing to adults and children while they sleep, with an aim toward developing field-applicable solutions.
Learn more: Researchers use light to manipulate mosquitoes
The Latest on: Mosquito control
- Mosquito-spreading drone to fight diseases on November 21, 2017 at 7:55 am
"Mosquitoes carry many diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and Zika virus. It makes them one of the biggest animal killers worldwide," Adam Klaptocz, WeRobotics co-founder, told the BBC. "There are lots of methods to control mosquito populations ... […]
- Inter-departmental meeting discusses anti-mosquito measures (with photos) on November 21, 2017 at 5:49 am
Dr Chui said, “To enhance inter-departmental communication and cooperation for more effective implementation of respective mosquito control measures, the Inter-departmental Coordination Committee on Mosquito-Borne Diseases chaired by the Centre for ... […]
- Rentokil buys mosquito control company on November 17, 2017 at 8:01 pm
Rentokil North America announced the acquisition of Vector Disease Control International LLC, a holding company with the largest mosquito control and lake management service divisions in the U.S. Wyomissing-based Rentokil says the acquisition expands the ... […]
- EPA OKs first living pest-control mosquito for use in United States on November 16, 2017 at 4:49 pm
In a big step toward catching up with the rest of the world, the United States cleared the way for using mosquitoes as a commercial pest control for the first time. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved using a strain of male Asian tiger ... […]
- Lanesborough to Join Mosquito Control Project on November 16, 2017 at 12:00 am
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A mosquito control program will start in the spring following an affirmative vote at Tuesday's special town meeting. Lanesborough becomes the ninth town the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project will operate in. The state-backed ... […]
- Mosquito control purchase of Pine Island airport moves forward, no need for rezoning on November 14, 2017 at 12:29 pm
PINE ISLAND Fla. The Lee County Mosquito Control recently got the OK to purchase the Woodstock Airport on Pine Island. Resident Mel Williamson enjoys the rural island, “nice quiet laid back neighborhood which is why we all live here, we all came here for ... […]
- Use Fish for Natural Mosquito Control on November 13, 2017 at 9:55 am
Your fish pond or container can be as elaborate or as simple as suits you. Many sources suggest combating mosquitoes that lay their eggs in ornamental ponds by introducing a few predator fish, usually gambusia. It certainly works, but around here we have ... […]
- County budget cuts 'nuisance' mosquito control on November 8, 2017 at 3:39 pm
La Crosse County is nationally known for the success of its battle against mosquito-borne disease, especially the mosquito that carries the virus that causes the strain of encephalitis named after the city. Dave Geske, the vector control manager largely ... […]
- Effects of faulty mosquito control come to light amid allegations on November 8, 2017 at 2:57 pm
Operations have resumed at the Collier Mosquito Control District after allegations into potentially faulty aerial spray equipment temporarily grounded the fleet. An internal whistleblower accused the district of having improperly secured mosquito chemicals ... […]
- EPA approves bacteria-infected mosquitoes to fight Zika on November 8, 2017 at 9:24 am
MosquitoMate, a biotechnology start-up company that specializes in mosquito control, has been given the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency to release mosquitoes that will prevent the spread of Zika, dengue and yellow fever, and other diseases ... […]
via Google News and Bing News