UK collaboration to test biological control of mosquitoesPosted: October 18, 2013
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.