Do you prefer dry heat to heat that is accompanied by humidity? Most people prefer to avoid hot and humid conditions in favor of drier climates. This is due to the fact that it is more difficult for the human body to expel heat when living in humid conditions. Therefore, in humid conditions we feel hotter since we are retaining more heat. Insects, on the other hand, prefer different climates depending on the species, but most bugs seem to prefer the more humid climates.
It has been known to science for quite some time that insects possess a sensory organ that allows them to detect even the subtlest changes in the degree of water vapor present in a particular environment. This is crucial for insects since they must know where to find open sources of water in order to survive. For example, many insects lay their eggs in open sources of water.
All insects possess the ability to detect the level of water vapor in the air, but all insects do so in a different way. For example, the fruit fly has a specific neural system that tells them about the humidity levels in a particular environment. While other insects may rely on organs located on their exoskeleton to determine humidity levels in the air.
Researchers are focusing primarily on how mosquitoes process humidity levels in the air. Hopefully scientists will be able to manipulate the mosquito’s perception of humidity in such a way that we can steer mosquito populations away from us and into dangerous environments where they could die. Researchers are already working on a method to scramble the olfactory system of mosquitoes, which is the system skeeters rely on to find the best sources of blood. Hopefully the researchers involved will make progress towards keeping mosquitoes away from humans, everyone can get behind that.
Do you think that the researcher’s desire to manipulate mosquito migration in order to prevent mosquito-borne disease in humans is the best method of containing Zika and other bug-borne diseases?