Screening for insecticide resistance in local mosquitoes

Pyrethroids are the primary insecticides employed against mosquitoes in suburban North Carolina. These insecticides work by disrupting normal nerve cell function, causing a knockdown effect. Resistance to these insecticides is known as “knockdown resistance”, or kdr for short. The main biting pest in our backyards is the tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus.

Researchers first genetically identified kdr in Raleigh Ae. albopictus populations in 2020. This is important not only for the risk to public health the now-resistant species poses, but because kdr in Ae. albopictus is relatively understudied.

During the summer of 2023, I collected nearly 1,000 Ae. albopictus mosquitoes from 31 different residential locations across the city of Raleigh with the goal of determining the present extent of insecticide resistance. DNA extraction and sequencing is underway, with the next step being a statistical analysis to determine predictors of kdr in local mosquitoes.