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DEET Resistant Mosquitoes Bred in Captivity

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May 05, 2010

DEET Resistant Mosquitoes Bred in Captivity

By Chad Love

A half-century after its discovery, DEET is still the unquestioned king of mosquito repellants. But researchers have discovered that under the right circumstances the mosquitoes can fight back...
 
From this story on Wired.com
More than half a century after DEET’s invention, scientists still don’t know how the popular mosquito repellent works. Now, using a combination of artificially accelerated evolution and painstaking anatomical observation, researchers have answered a fundamental question about DEET’s mechanisms – and in the process showed that mosquitoes may become resistant to it. “It’s a fundamental piece of research. It will give us a lot more knowledge, rather than just going out and spraying something,” said study co-author Linda Field, a molecular biologist at England’s Rothamsted Research institute.

Field and Nina Stanczyk, a University of Nottingham biochemist, started their study by resting a DEET-sprayed arm on a mesh cage, just out of reach of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. (Only female mosquitoes bite; like males, they typically feed on flower nectar, but require nutrients from blood in order to lay eggs). Those that tried to feed were removed and bred separately. Within a few generations, more than half were DEET-resistant. Field cautioned that laboratory results shouldn’t be automatically extrapolated to the natural world, but a similar dynamic could well exist, especially in heavily populated areas where humans are the predominant source of blood. “If a small percentage are insensitive, they have a much better chance of getting a blood meal, and are much more likely to pass on their genes. You’d likely see a buildup of the trait,” said Field.

Comments (9)

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from Judd McCullum wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Next thing you know they'll be engineering over sized subsonic horseflies with stainless steel mouth parts.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Why would anyone deliberately selctively breed mosquitoes against whom repellent doesn't work? I am a wholesale supporter of science but sometimes people need to ask whether an experiment could be done SHOULD be done. "Nope. Nothing could go wrong here!"

Damb! What's next? Field Trials?

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from cdavis1887 wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

next thing you know they'll be saying "opps some of them escaped"

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from YooperJack wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

While DEET is effective, I use it very sparingly. That stuff really eats plastic! My compasses, eyeglasses, tools are all in danger of being eaten by that chemical. I bought some OFF last summer with a very low concentation of DEET. It seemed to work better than the higher concentrations. I go through several cans in June and July.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Judd McCullum wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Can't remember who makes it, but that Permanone stuff really works too. Can't just spray it on your skin though. Put it on your gear the night before and let it dry.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

mike they are testing why deet is effective and if they can do it in the labs it is possible that over time the misquotes will become immune to DEET in the wild. It is important research as if it happens sooner than later and they also carry a disease we will need a better replant. It also may help with removing DEET from the market as it does have dangerous properties.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bella wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

I dislike both Mozzies and DEET intensely, but anyone breeding DEET resistant mozzies is a traitor to humankind!
Personally, I prefer products using natural essential oils to repel the skeeters. I find geraniol, lemongrass and citronella oils do work (in our woods if not in the arctic!)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

DDT was great against mosquitoes initially. By the time it was banned the best way to kill mosquitoes with DDT was to drop a 5lb bag on one. Breeding DDT Mosquitoes was easy, we did a great job of it by the 1970's.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SeanWayne wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

There is a natural bug repellent that works as well or even better than any DEET product. It has hot pepper extract, lemon eucalyptus, geranium, cedar and witch hazel. I've tried it in the Adirondaks fishing and it works better than deet and does not get on your hands or food. It's a roll-on called ThermaSkin Bug Blocker. While gnats and horseflies still bother me with deet on, this Thermaskin bug blocker stops them all.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Judd McCullum wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Next thing you know they'll be engineering over sized subsonic horseflies with stainless steel mouth parts.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Why would anyone deliberately selctively breed mosquitoes against whom repellent doesn't work? I am a wholesale supporter of science but sometimes people need to ask whether an experiment could be done SHOULD be done. "Nope. Nothing could go wrong here!"

Damb! What's next? Field Trials?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from cdavis1887 wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

next thing you know they'll be saying "opps some of them escaped"

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from YooperJack wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

While DEET is effective, I use it very sparingly. That stuff really eats plastic! My compasses, eyeglasses, tools are all in danger of being eaten by that chemical. I bought some OFF last summer with a very low concentation of DEET. It seemed to work better than the higher concentrations. I go through several cans in June and July.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Judd McCullum wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Can't remember who makes it, but that Permanone stuff really works too. Can't just spray it on your skin though. Put it on your gear the night before and let it dry.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

mike they are testing why deet is effective and if they can do it in the labs it is possible that over time the misquotes will become immune to DEET in the wild. It is important research as if it happens sooner than later and they also carry a disease we will need a better replant. It also may help with removing DEET from the market as it does have dangerous properties.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bella wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

I dislike both Mozzies and DEET intensely, but anyone breeding DEET resistant mozzies is a traitor to humankind!
Personally, I prefer products using natural essential oils to repel the skeeters. I find geraniol, lemongrass and citronella oils do work (in our woods if not in the arctic!)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

DDT was great against mosquitoes initially. By the time it was banned the best way to kill mosquitoes with DDT was to drop a 5lb bag on one. Breeding DDT Mosquitoes was easy, we did a great job of it by the 1970's.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SeanWayne wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

There is a natural bug repellent that works as well or even better than any DEET product. It has hot pepper extract, lemon eucalyptus, geranium, cedar and witch hazel. I've tried it in the Adirondaks fishing and it works better than deet and does not get on your hands or food. It's a roll-on called ThermaSkin Bug Blocker. While gnats and horseflies still bother me with deet on, this Thermaskin bug blocker stops them all.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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