UK collaboration to test biological control of mosquitoes

The new biological control method is based on releasing Wolbachia-infected males in a targeted area. Unlike their female counterparts, male mosquitoes do not bite or transmit disease. The males mate with females and render the females sterile.Dobson began testing the biological controls effectiveness in small laboratory cages and progressed to greenhouses, releasing more infected male mosquitoes each time.\”In laboratory and greenhouse conditions, we can eliminate a population in just over eight weeks,\” Dobson said.The technology is being field tested through a collaboration between UK and MosquitoMate, a small, start-up company in Lexington. MosquitoMate is led by Jimmy Mains, a former student in Dobsons laboratory whose doctoral research focused on Wolbachias ability to control Asian tiger mosquitoes in laboratory and greenhouse settings.\”Its exciting to participate as this technology progresses from an idea developed at the University of Kentucky, through laboratory trials and now to a real-world application,\” Mains said.Mosquito populations peaked before the researchers received the EPA permit this summer. Therefore their initial work this past summer in Lexington was limited to small-scale trials, examining male mating and flight distance in the field. This information will help guide early work next year, when researchers hope to see significant impacts on Asian tiger mosquito populations in Lexington.

via UK collaboration to test biological control of mosquitoes.


Secrets of insect repellent DEET being uncovered.

“Until now, no one had a clue about which olfactory receptor insects used to avoid DEET. Without the receptors, it is impossible to apply modern technology to design new repellents,” said Professor Anandasankar Ray, an entomologist at the University of California, Riverside, who led the study.

“Ir40a and its related proteins are conserved not only in flies and mosquitoes, but also in many other insects that are human and plant pests. Our findings could lead to a new generation of cheap, affordable repellents that could protect humans, animals and, in the future, our crops as well,” Professor Ray said.

“We could find truly novel repellents that have remarkable properties such as large-scale spatial protection and long-term protection.”

via Secrets of insect repellent DEET could prove decisive in the war on malaria, dengue and West Nile fever – Science – News – The Independent.

Complacent Australian travellers are catching the Chikungunya virus |

The 30-year-old Perth student is one of a record number of Australians who have returned from South East Asia and surrounding countries with Chikungunya virus this year.

It is an unwelcome souvenir more than 100 Australians — almost 10 times as many than previous years — have brought back from their holidays and experts warn the numbers will continue to climb during the wet season.

Ms Merrett, a medical student at the University of Western Australia, contracted Chikungunya during the last week of her travels through PNG in March — and she is still feeling daily pain today.

“I wasn’t overly complacent, I was quite worried about malaria and taking tablets to avoid that,” she said.

“I was sleeping under a mosquito net every night and pretty good about wearing long sleeves in the evening and putting mosquito repellent on my ankles and hands in the evening.

“But maybe because I was there for eight weeks and maybe because there was an outbreak at the time (I was unlucky).”

For the first week Ms Merrett spent 20 hours a day in bed.

She spent four months taking anti-inflammatories daily just to ease the pain in her muscles and joints.

via Complacent Australian travellers are catching the Chikungunya virus |