Malaria, dengue, yellow fever, and the Zika and West Nile Viruses are major vector-borne diseases of humans transmitted by mosquitoes. According to the World Health Organization, over 80% of the world’s population is at risk of contacting these diseases. Insecticides are critical for mosquito control and disease prevention, and insect insecticide resistance is on the increase; new alternatives with potentially different modes of action from current chemistry are needed. During laboratory screening of industrial minerals for insecticide activity against Anopheles gambiae (Giles) (Diptera: Culicidae) we discovered a novel mechanical insecticide derived from volcanic rock (MIVR) with potential use as a residual spray. In modified WHO cone tests, the time to 50% mortality was 5 h under high-humidity conditions. MIVR treated surfaces demonstrated no mosquito repellency. In field studies where the mechanical insecticide was applied to wood using standard spray equipment and then placed under stilt homes in New Orleans, LA, the residual activity was >80% after 9 wk against Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae), Aedes albopictus (Skuse) (Diptera: Culicidae) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say) (Diptera: Culicidae) (with similar efficacy to a positive chemical insecticide control). In scanning electron microcopy studies, the MIVR was transferred as particles mostly to the legs of the mosquito. This wettable powder made from volcanic rock is a mechanical insecticide representing a potential new mode of action different from current chemistry for mosquito control and is in commercial development under the trade name Imergard™WP as an indoor and outdoor residual spray.
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