Novel ‘honeytrap’ to attract and sterilise male mosquitoes

Sydney, Jan 8 (IANS) Sex, it seems, works just as fine in luring male mosquitoes as it does with men! Researchers have found that playing the sound similar to what female mosquitoes make in their flight can attract 95 percent of their male partners.

The device was found effective in attracting male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — the species that carries dengue and yellow fever.

Researchers at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia found a tone of precisely 484 Hertz, the frequency of a female Aedes aegypti’s wings, brought 95 percent of male mosquitoes to the trap.

The device cost around $20 and could be run by itself for weeks, said one of the researchers Brian Johnson.

“We started with a cheap mobile phone and moved to an even cheaper MP3 player. There are no harmonics, it is a pure tone and very simple to produce,” Johnson noted.

The effectiveness of the audio lure is easy to see — when it is switched on, mosquitoes flock to the device, and fly away as soon as it is turned off, the researchers explained.

Although male mosquitoes do not bite, the invention of the audio trap could be useful as new anti-mosquito strategies involve capturing and sterilising them before releasing them to breed unsuccessfully with females.

The study appeared in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

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