Odour baited traps have potential use in population surveillance of insect vectors of disease, and in some cases for vector population reduction. Established attractants for human host-seeking mosquitoes include a combination of CO2 with L-lactic acid and ammonia, on top of which additional candidate compounds are being tested. In this field study in rural Gambia, using Latin square experiments with thorough randomization and replication, we tested nine different leading candidate combinations of chemical odorants for attractiveness to wild mosquitoes including anthropophilic malaria vectors, using modified Mosquito Magnet-X (MM-X) counterflow traps outside experimental huts containing male human sleepers. Highest catches of female mosquitoes, particularly of An. gambiae s.l. and Mansonia species, were obtained by incorporation of tetradecanoic acid. As additional carboxylic acids did not increase the trap catches further, this ‘reference blend’ (tetradecanoic acid with L-lactic acid, ammonia and CO2) was used in subsequent experiments. MM-X traps with this blend caught similar numbers of An. gambiae s.l. and slightly more Mansonia and Culex mosquitoes than a standard CDC light trap, and these numbers were not significantly affected by the presence or absence of human sleepers in the huts. Experiments with CO2 produced from overnight yeast cultures showed that this organic source was effective in enabling trap attractiveness for all mosquito species, although at a slightly lower efficiency than obtained with use of CO2 gas cylinders. Although further studies are needed to discover additional chemicals that increase attractiveness, as well as to optimise trap design and CO2 source for broader practical use, the odour-baited traps described here are safe and effective for sampling host-seeking mosquitoes outdoors and can be incorporated into studies of malaria vector ecology.
- vector anopheles-gambiae
- malaria mosquito