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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Mosquito and Fly Research » Research » Research Project #416693


Location: Mosquito and Fly Research

Project Number: 6036-32000-045-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Nov 3, 2009
End Date: Sep 30, 2014

1. Discover and evaluate new toxicants and biological control agents for control of biting Nematocera. 2. Develop new application methods for pesticides to biting Nematocera that minimize environmental exposure and that optimize lethal or repellent effect, including presentation on clothing, aerosol application in or outdoors, residual application, disinsection of aircraft, and delivery of spatially repellent compounds. 3. Conceive and test new methods of managing vector and pest populations through the use of behavior-altering chemicals, including repellents, attractants, and inhibitors. 4. Examine the parameters of behavioral bioassay methods that influence practical comparisons of personal protection products, with a view to determining those elements of commercial testing that influence reliability of results. 5. Determine chemical and other cues associated with regulation and orientation of specific behaviors by Aedes albopictus, Culex pipiens group species/hybrids, and other biting arthropods that can be applied to the solution of operational surveillance and control problems. 6. Discover and characterize environmental predictors of the distribution of mosquitoes in order to assess the risk of invasive species and pathogen transmission. Apply to the development of methods and techniques to accurately assess mosquito population density, to deploy vector surveillance systems, and to detect exotic invasive species.

1. High throughput bioassays will be used to screen toxicants from synthetic compound and natural product libraries. New formulations of bacterial toxins, baculoviruses, and biorationals will be evaluated in standard assays. Molecular methods (RNAi and dsRNA) will be used to identify targets for control and resistance management. Improved formulation and delivery of dsRNA will be developed to penetrate the mosquito cuticle. 2. Factors affecting measurement of bite protection by permethrin-treated clothing will be examined. Alternative repellents applied to military uniforms and improved binding of repellents to fabric will be researched, followed by laboratory validation of factory-treated fabric and semi-field studies. Aerosol application of control compounds, formulations, equipment, application techniques, and strategies will be explored. Existing and novel chemical compounds, formulations, equipment, impregnated materials, application techniques, and strategies for barrier applications will be evaluated under laboratory, semi-field and field conditions. Factors needed to achieve optimal control will be identified. Air curtains will be designed and evaluated in simulated aircraft fuselages. 3. Comparison of pathogen-infected and uninfected mosquito responses to behavior-altering chemicals will be examined. Baited commercial traps will be used as surrogates for human and livestock hosts. The manner in which compounds affect host-seeking behavior will be quantified. Catches in control and attractant-baited traps located near devices releasing spatial repellents or inhibitors will be compared. 4. The effect of mosquito fatigue on repellent protection time will be evaluated with female Aedes aegypti and a study comparing methods for measuring repellent efficacy will be conducted. Laboratory results of repellent efficacy will be compared to products tested in the semi-field environment. 5. Factors that result in positive resting site selection responses by adult mosquitoes, volatile chemical cues associated with mate location, and cues used for location and utilization of sugar and nectar sources will be determined. Plant-derived compounds that attract mosquitoes will be evaluated in the field. Factors that influence host-finding behavior based on host odors and olfactory cues will be used to enhance traps. Novel strategies for mosquito surveillance that utilize oviposition site cues will be devised. New chemical attractants will be identified and evaluated in the field using behavioral and chemical analyses. The response to toxicant exposure on arthropod behavior will be evaluated to improve toxicant impact. 6. Methods and techniques to assess mosquito population density will be developed. Environmental predictors of mosquito distribution will be characterized to provide improved strategies for assessment of mosquito populations. Discover ecologic and climatic factors to assess population densities of vector mosquitoes in the US and, using Rift Valley fever, evaluate the risk of exotic species and disease introduction into the U.S.