During World War II, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperated with the Department of Defense to establish a research laboratory in Orlando, Florida to develop technology to protect military personnel from insect vectors of disease agents. In 1951, this laboratory became the Insects Affecting Man and Animals Research Laboratory (IAMARL), and the "Mosquito Research Unit" was formed. IAMARL moved to federal facilities on the University of Florida Gainesville campus in 1961. A consolidation of research programs at IMARL in 1988 resulted in creation of the "Mosquito and Fly Research Unit."
IAMARL was renamed the Medical and Veterinary Entomology Research Laboratory (MAVERL) in 1990, and six years later, both MAVERL and the Mosquito and Fly Research Unit became components of the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE).
Historically, this Unit performed chemical control research with an outstanding record in this regard. These efforts, in the last two decades, have come full-circle to our present focus on the development of biologically based alternative control technology for mosquitoes and flies. More than 1800 publications document the accomplishments of Gainesville scientists engaged in mosquito and fly research over the years. Some products of this research include discovery and/or development of
- DEET and DEET-alternative mosquito repellents
- ultra-low volume (ULV) adulticide application methods for mosquito control
- permethrin clothing treatment
- mosquito genetic sexing strains and the use of SIT for mosquito control
- the Anopheles quadrimaculatus species complex
- mosquito attractants and mosquito attractant inhibitors
- mosquito and fly biological control agents
- trapping systems for detection and control of mosquito vectors
Currently, research in this unit results in new technology that provides the basis for integrated management of mosquitoes and filth flies. Areas of research include:
- Trapping systems for surveillance and control of mosquito vectors and other arthropods
- Biologically based control technology for blood-sucking and filth-inhabiting insects
- Repellents and host protection methods for humans and animals
- Deployed War-Fighter Protection (DWFP) Program