Keith Hautala

By

College: Agriculture, Food and Environment

UK Collaboration to Test Biological Control of Mosquitoes

Published: Oct 14, 2013

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2013) — Entomologists in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment have developed a new control method for mosquitoes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently granted a permit to begin field trials.

 

The biological control method targets the Asian tiger mosquito; it is the first of its kind in the nation.

 

“The mosquito has been labeled as one of the most important invasive species in the world,” said Stephen Dobson, professor in the UK Department of Entomology. “The traditional ways that we control mosquitoes don’t work against this mosquito.”

 

A native of Southeast Asia, the Asian tiger mosquito now exists throughout the United States, with particularly heavy populations in the Southeast. Kentucky has had the mosquito since the 1990s, and it is currently in every county in the state. In a separate, unrelated study conducted by fellow UK entomologist Grayson Brown, Asian tiger mosquitoes were responsible for 90 to 95 percent of the bites on test subjects in Lexington during the 2013 summer.

 

Asian tiger mosquitoes are an important vector of canine heartworm and transmit the virus Chikungunya, which produces similar symptoms as dengue fever. While there has not been a Chikungunya epidemic in the United States, introductions have caused epidemics in Europe, India and elsewhere. Scientists are concerned about it invading the United States, similar to the West Nile virus invasion in 1999.

 

Dobson developed the technology to move the bacterium Wolbachia between mosquito species. Wolbachia is a naturally occurring bacterium found in the majority of insects.

 

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 control’s 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 Dobson’s laboratory whose doctoral research focused on Wolbachia’s ability to control Asian tiger mosquitoes in laboratory and greenhouse settings.

 

“It’s 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.

 

While the biological control method may help cut down on the number of insecticide applications, it won’t completely replace insecticides.

 

“Insecticides can still be used for a quick knock down once a mosquito population is already high, but the biological Wolbachia approach started early in the season can serve to keep the population low, prevent a population explosion or even eliminate a population,” Dobson said.

 
 
MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200; carl.nathe@uky.edu.
 
mosquito.jpg
September
 
 
1
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Receive 80% Refund
Suicide Prevention: Raising Awareness & Sharing Our Stories
Welcome Coffee
Game Show
Tue
2
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wed
3
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Rosemary's Baby
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Pitch Perfect 2
Adjusting to College
Adjusting to College
Kickoff Football Season Grill Out
Thu
4
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Akira
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Whiplash
To Live in the Borderlands: A Household Perspective on Frontier Politics from the Middle Jequetepeque Valley, Peru
Fri
5
Go Swing Dancing!
Sat
6
 
Sun
7
Labor Day
Mon
8
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Ivory Tower
Tue
9
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wed
10
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Selena
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Jurassic World
Adjusting to College
Terrace Time Out
Thu
11
The Late Night Film Series Presents - The Great Beauty
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Predator
Friday Swing Dance Lessons - Free!
Friday Swing Dance Lessons - Free!
Accounting Internship & Career Fair
Fri
12
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Sculptors On Paper
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Sat
13
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Sun
14
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Superhero
Mon
15
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Women's Forum Board Meeting
Southern Sirens Concert
Tue
16
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Wed
17
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Adjusting to College
Thu
18
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Dark Girls
The Late Night Film Series Presents - The Pokémon Movie
LexPhil Pre-Concert Buffet
Curator Tour with Stuart Horodner
Fri
19
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Sat
20
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
LexHop
Sun
21
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Finger Painting
Mon
22
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Tue
23
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Last Day to Receive 50% Refund
Thank-A-Donor Day
2 Day Business Internship & Career Fair
Pinterest Party I
Wed
24
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
2 Day Business Internship & Career Fair
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Wild Tales
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Mad Max: Fury Road
Adjusting to College
Thu
25
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
The Late Night Film Series Presents - All.I.Can
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Nightcrawler
Fri
26
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Arts Writing Workshop
Sat
27
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Sun
28
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Mandala
Mon
29
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Kitty Karnival
Tue
30
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wed
 
 
 

Thu, 09/03/2015

Repeats every week until Fri Sep 11 2015 .
Fri, 09/04/2015

Reset Page