Small Fixes – Poisoned Nectar Is a Double-Edged Delicacy for Mosquitoes – NYTimes.com   Leave a comment

 

 

Brewing Up Double-Edged Delicacies for Mosquitoes

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.

Published: September 26, 2011

“On what food do mosquitoes live? Orgiastic gouts of human blood that distend their abdomens and render them almost unable to move — right?

Well, actually, no.

To lay eggs, females do need blood for its iron and protein. But usually mosquitoes subsist on modest sips of nectar from flowers or from ripe or rotting fruit.

And that, according to scientists from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is an Achilles’ heel — or Achilles’ proboscis — through which the pests can also be poisoned.

“You can’t move flowering trees around,” said Yosef Schlein, a parasitologist at the university’s medical school. “So you have to use movable bait. That’s how we came up with fruit juice.”

Supported by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Schlein and his research partner Günter C. Müller concocted an array of nectar poisons known as Attractive Toxic Sugar Baits that are easy to make, environmentally friendly and inexpensive……

More than one scientist noted that the idea of toxic nectar seemed so simple that it was surprising it hadn’t been thought of before.

“If you’re a university person, you get credit for sophisticated publications,” Dr. Schlein said. “You don’t get much credit for simple ideas.” ”

 

via Small Fixes – Poisoned Nectar Is a Double-Edged Delicacy for Mosquitoes – NYTimes.com.

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Posted October 2, 2011 by arnoneumann in Health Care

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