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Mosquito Sweet Tooth

September 5, 2017

A sweet tooth may be mosquitoes’ Achilles’ heel.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Sweet revenge against mosquitoes. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

When you feel like you’re being eaten alive by mosquitoes, it’s hard to imagine they might have a taste for anything for blood. But according to Agenor Mafra-Neto of ISCA Technologies, mosquitoes also have a sweet tooth. His team has exploited this weakness to distract them from biting people. They’ve developed a sweet bait that’s laced with an insecticide that kills only mosquitoes. They applied the bait to the eves of 500 houses in Tanzanian villages. As a result, 98% fewer mosquitoes entered people’s homes.

AGENOR MAFRA-NETO (ISCA Technologies):

That allows us to stop the transmission of malaria by taking these mosquitoes out of the population.

HIRSHON:

His team now has plans to test the formulation in more densely populated areas of  Brazil and the United States. He presented the research at a meeting of the American Chemical Society. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard