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Mosquito Sweet Tooth

September 5, 2017

A sweet tooth may be mosquitoes’ Achilles’ heel.



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.


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


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