Research in mosquito control: current challenges for a brighter future

Abstract

Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) are a key threat for millions of people worldwide, since they act as vectors for devastating pathogens and parasites. In this scenario, vector control is crucial. Mosquito larvae are usually targeted using organophosphates, insect growth regulators, and microbial agents. Indoor residual spraying and insecticide-treated bed nets are also employed. However, these chemicals have negative effects on human health and the environment and induce resistance in a number of vectors. Newer and safer tools have been recently implemented to enhance control of mosquitoes. Here, I focus on some crucial challenges about eco-friendly control of mosquito vectors, mainly the improvement of behavior-based control strategies (sterile insect technique (“SIT”) and “boosted SIT”) and plant-borne mosquitocidals, including green-synthesized nanoparticles. A number of hot areas that need further research and cooperation among parasitologists, entomologists, and behavioral ecologists are highlighted.

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Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Heinz Mehlhorn and the anonymous reviewers for improving the earlier version of the manuscript. I am grateful to Annalisa Lo Iacono, my colleagues and lab members for the helpful discussions on the topic.

Conflict of interest

The author declares no competing interests. Giovanni Benelli is currently an Editorial Board Member of Parasitology Research, but this does not alter the author’s adherence to all the Parasitology Research policies on sharing data and materials.

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Correspondence to Giovanni Benelli.

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Benelli, G. Research in mosquito control: current challenges for a brighter future. Parasitol Res 114, 2801–2805 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-015-4586-9

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Keywords

  • Behavior-based control tools
  • Botanical insecticides
  • Culicidae
  • Mosquito-borne diseases
  • Mosquitocidal nanoparticles
  • Sterile insect technique