MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Researchers at Kansas State University have found a novel way to take mosquito numbers down a peg.

A group of entomologists with K-State say they have found a breakthrough during their research into reducing mosquito numbers in a recent release on the K-State Research and Extension Office website. The entomologists are tackling the mosquito population by using nanotechnology. This new method involves using a metal and an agricultural waste product to destroy mosquito larvae.

“We found that in mosquito larvae, silver apparently gets into their mid-gut and kills the microbes that are necessary for mosquito larval well-being,” K-State nano-entomologist Amie Norton said.

The entomologists hope the use of nanotechnology will lessen the use of traditional pesticides which are used in far larger quantities, according to K-State. To give you a better idea of the scale of the particles at use, a single nanometer is one-billionth of a meter and is so small it cannot be seen by electronic microscopes.

“If nanotechnology can be employed to control pests, it will greatly reduce the use of pesticides in the environment,” Jeff Whitworth, a field crop entomologist with K-State Research and Extension said. “And if researchers can find the right carriers for these nano insecticides – products that may be considered organic waste – that may also reduce the amount of organic waste.”

The research program was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). To learn more about K-State’s Entomology Department’s work, click here.

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