Targeting swarms and mosquito nocturnal behaviours to control outdoor malaria transmission
The main objective of this project is to demonstrate that swarms of adult malaria vectors can be readily identified and targeted with effective area-wide space spraying, to crash the local vector populations and significantly lower vectorial capacities, thereby complementing and accelerating efforts towards malaria elimination in the targeted areas.
Malaria mosquitoes mate in swarms. Males gather over specific and conspicuous landmarks known as swarm markers to attract females, usually at dusk, and repeatedly at the same place over many years. Targeting swarms to deplete mosquito populations offers an unrivalled opportunity to drastically reduce mosquito-borne pathogen transmission. While this approach has proven effective against An. coluzzii on a limited scale in Burkina Faso, it needs to be validated for other vector species in other areas. The approach of targeting swarms with space-praying enables clear identification of the target (in this case swarms or clusters of swarms) for localized control. Besides, mosquito swarms are known to occur perpetually in the same locations at approximately the same time each day, making them easier to target once initially located. Also, while mixed swarms can occur, they are mostly consistent of same species, thus we can use this approach to very specifically target a specific vector. The concentrations of males, predictability and accessibility of the swarming sites and the fact that swarms can be artificially manipulated make them vulnerable and an easy control target. Moreover, the tight clustering of the target provides an opportunity for controlled and reduced dose space spray application over the traditional area-wide or broadcast space spray.