We have all suffered the irritation of being the food source for hungry mosquitoes. While it is generally well known that female mosquitoes need a meal of blood before laying their eggs, less has been written about their appetite for sweet snacks between meals.
It is this diet of "sweets" – derived from nectar from flowers and nectaries on plant leaves and stems - that provide mosquitoes with their persistent energy.
Schlein and his co-researcher, Günter Müller, in the Department of Parasitology at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School's Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, decided to exploit the mosquitoes' thirst for sweets to bring about their demise - by spraying acacia trees with a sugar solution that had been spiked with the oral insecticide Spinosad.
The experiment was carried out in an oasis in the southern desert region in Israel where some scattered trees flower most of the year, including during a long, dry and otherwise flowerless season. Schlein assumed that in the absence of other sugar sources nectar-searching mosquitoes would be attracted to these plants.
The oasis was chosen for its isolated mosquito population, so that the experiment could be carried out effectively without influx and exchange of mosquitoes from neighboring areas.
Sucrose solution spiked with the oral insecticide Spinosad was sprayed on acacia trees in the oasis. The spraying of insecticide had the effect of eliminating almost the entire mosquito population in the oasis. The few mosquitoes that were trapped after spraying were thought to be newly emerging adults, and cumulative population growth was prevented by continuous effect of the insecticide. Thus, the oasis was completely depleted of its mosquito population.
Schlein says that in a desert area, in the dry season, the flowers of sparse perennial trees or bushes are key elements in the habitat of adult mosquitoes, since they are the only source of sugar. In dry areas, the shortage of sugar sources may even limit the life span of mosquitoes and thus decrease their ability to transmit diseases. Even when a large variety of flowers is available, the number of sugar sources is limited by the preferences of the mosquitoes. For example, among 77 flowering plants in Wisconsin, mosquitoes concentrated on four dominant ones.
Schlein believes that blossoms that are nectar-feeding centers may be used for efficient mosquito-control, if sprayed with the Spinosad-sugar solution bait. Spinosad is an environmental "reduced-risk" oral insecticide that has little effect on several insect groups, and has low toxicity to birds and mammals.
Places that might be suitable for using floral centers for control of mosquitoes are desert and savannah regions, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where the burden of malaria is increasing due to environmental changes, drug resistance and mosquito resistance to conventional insecticides. These areas include large-scale irrigation projects in arid and semi-arid areas that cover nearly half of the arable land in Africa and similar projects in the desert in Pakistan. In these regions, irrigated crops, such as rice, are not a source of nectar for adult mosquitoes, while sugar meals are scarce in the surrounding arid areas.
Therefore, the planting of mosquito-attracting trees or bushes in suitable habitats, sprayed with oral insecticide, could provide a relatively easy and cheap way to supplement the limited arsenal against mosquitoes – and the fight against malaria.
Jerry Barach | alfa
Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine