There are some doubts to the efficacy of swatting away mosquitoes to stop them from biting people. For those doubting swatting and are looking to buy some Deet free repellent in Australia or wherever they are, they might want to hold off, as a new research has learned that swatting might actually be an effective deterrent for mosquitoes.
The study has learned that mosquitoes are capable of associating a specific odour with unpleasant experience and/or trauma, for example; being swatted, which means that they’ll avoid the source of a particular scent if they associate it with something they want to avoid.
The research was done by team from Seattle’s University of Washington, lead by Jeffrey Riffellatthe, who says that the mosquitoes they tested on remember the training odours associated with shock for days. Additionally, the research learned that mosquitoes don’t randomly select their victims, showing preference for certain targets over others. Notably, mosquitoes also alternate victims based on the season, preferring certain birds and mammals during certain parts of the year, and other mammals and poisons during the other seasons of the year.
The research team wanted to learn as much as they could about mosquito biting habits, in order to learn what people can do to influence them. The first step of the research involved shocking the mosquitoes in order to associate the smell of a certain person or species with the shock. The insects quickly associated the smells to the shock, and then they adjusted their flight paths.
Learning in a lot of animals, humans included, depends on the hormone of dopamine. The research also learned that even mosquitoes were reliant on this hormone. This discovery was made by gluing mosquitoes to a custom holder that allowed for the analysis of the neurons in their brains’ olfactory centres, noting that without dopamine the neurons that mosquitoes needed to learn odour information were less likely to activate.
Riffell says that this research and the data can help scientists understand how mosquitoes choose their targets, in order to influence these behaviours for the development of better and more efficient tools for mosquito controls, especially since people are flocking to Deet free repellent in Australia and across the world and other new methods to avoid mosquitoes.