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Maximising mosquito collections from barrier screens: the impacts of physical design and operation parameters

Pollard, Edgar J. M., Russell, Tanya L., Burkot, Thomas R.
Parasites & vectors 2019 v.12 no.1 pp. 31
Culicidae, blood meal, color, construction materials, eggs, monitoring, odor compounds, oviposition sites, physiological state, sampling, shade, Queensland
BACKGROUND: Traditional methods for collecting outdoor resting mosquitoes are generally inefficient with relatively low numbers caught per unit effort. The barrier screen, designed to intercept mosquitoes as they fly between areas where blood meals are obtained and oviposition sites where eggs are laid, was developed in 2013 as a novel method of sampling outdoor mosquito populations. Barrier screens do not use an odorant lure and are thus a non-mechanical, simple, low maintenance and passive sampling method for use, even in isolated locations. METHODS: To maximise mosquito collections from barrier screens, multiple Latin square 3 × 3 experiments were conducted in Smithfield, Queensland, Australia. Parameters of barrier screens were varied including the effects of construction materials (net weight and colour), screen design and frequency of inspections. RESULTS: Significantly more mosquitoes were collected on simple dark coloured screens of 50% or 70% shading weight with collections every 30 min. Sixty percent of mosquitoes were found on barrier screens within 60 cm of the ground. CONCLUSIONS: The barrier screen is a relatively new adaptable tool that can answer a number of behavioural, ecological and epidemiological questions relevant for the surveillance and basic understanding of the movement and resting habits of mosquitoes by sex or physiological status. This method has demonstrated robustness in collecting a wide range of mosquito species as well as flexibility in where barrier screens can be deployed to explore mosquito movements within rural and peri-domestic environments.