Love Hertz

January 07, 2016

Scientists at JCU have created a cheap and effective audio lure to collect the species of mosquito that carries dengue and yellow fever.

Love Hertz

James Cook University researchers have found sex sells when it comes to luring male mosquitoes.

Senior Research Officer Brian Johnson and Professor Scott Ritchie set out to make a cheap and effective audio lure for scientists collecting male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes – the species that carries dengue and yellow fever.

They found a tone of precisely 484 Hertz, the frequency of a female Aedes aegypti’s wings, brought 95% of male mosquitoes to the trap.

Johnson says the device cost around $20 and could be run by itself for weeks. “We started with a cheap mobile phone and moved to an even cheaper MP3 player. There are no harmonics, it’s a pure tone and very simple to produce.”

Love Hertz

The effectiveness of the audio lure is easy to see: when it’s switched on, mosquitoes flock to the device, and fly away as soon as it’s turned off, as can be seen in the video.

The invention of the audio trap is timely: male mosquitoes do not bite, but new anti-mosquito strategies involve capturing and sterilising them before releasing them to breed unsuccessfully with females.

“There are a number of projects underway,” says Johnson. “They required capturing and releasing tens of thousands of male mosquitoes, but most traps are aimed at capturing females.”


He says there was no chance of eliminating mosquito populations by trapping males alone, as only a few needed to survive to continue the breeding cycle.

The scientists also found that female mosquitoes were completely oblivious to the sound of male wing beats. “There’s no real need for females to respond to male overtures,” says Johnson.

The team is now optimising the trap for field use and coordinating with trap manufacturers to add the feature to their products.

This article was first published by James Cook University on 6 January 2016. Read the original article here.

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One thought on “Partnering for research impact”

  1. Excellent points Anna. But a trade mission during the Howard era in fact found that the best equivalent nation in terms of tehcnology and transfer was Denmark and that we should adopt some of those polices. Unfortunately Johnnie did not like the fact we did not resemble the UK instead and so refused to take on the recommendations as I undersatnd he perceived these to be too socialist-like…. cest la vie… unless we change our mindset from a simple mediavel market mentality, where bigger market players always win, we are never going to address this problem as a tiny insignificant island nation – now a true banana republic thanks to Paul Keatings measures to try and make us an economic Davo against Goliath – away from all the bigger markets.

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