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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Stewart, Robert
item Kline, Daniel - Dan

Submitted to: Journal of Medical Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/5/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Many blood-feeding insects use floral nectar as a source of sugar before they lay eggs. Daily patterns of sugar feeding in these insects is poorly understood but may have important implications for insect control. Study of sugar feeding behavior in a salt marsh biting midge was made in spring 1995 by scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, FL. Biting midges were collected four times during the day, at sunrise, in the late morning, in the early afternoon, and at sunset, from flowering yaupon holly. A chemical test was used to determine if the insects had fed on nectar sugars. The results of the study showed that both male and female biting midges fed on the yaupon nectar, and that females fed more than males. The timing of nectar feeding by female midges was similar to the timing of blood searching, and was greatest at sunset and in the morning. Attraction of midges to flowers for sugar feeding may be controlled partly by floral chemicals. Identification of these chemical attractants from flowers may be useful for the development of traps to monitor or control these pests.

Technical Abstract: Adult Culicoides mississippiensis were collected four times a day, at sunrise, late morning, early afternoon and sunset, from five flowering yaupon holly plants during the entire flowering season of the holly (March 16-April 15, 1995). Individual insects were tested for nectar sugars by the cold anthrone test. Culicoides mississippiensis sugar feeding was 55.6% (427 of 768), with gravid female positives significantly (p =/< 0.10) higher than male positives. Female feeding rates decreased from morning to evening, while male rates were constant until evening, when they decreased. Comparison of sugar feeding and blood feeding activity is discussed as well as differences between male and female sugar feeding.

Last Modified: 08/15/2017
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