No Evidence That Salt Water Ingestion Kills Adult Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae).


Various products and insecticides are available that purport to reduce wild populations of adult mosquitoes. Recently, several manufacturers and general public comments on the internet have promoted devices that claim that ingestion of salt will significantly reduce populations of wild mosquitoes to near zero; there are no known scientific efficacy data that support these claims. We tested the survival of nine mosquito species of pest and public health importance across four adult diets: Water Only, Sugar Water Only (8.00%), Salt Water Only (1.03%), and Sugar + Salt Water. Species included the following: Aedes aegypti (L.), Aedes albopictus (Skuse), Aedes dorsalis (Meigen), Aedes notoscriptus (Skuse), Aedes vigilax (Skuse), Anopheles quadrimaculatus (Say), Culex pipiens (L.), Culex quinquefasciatus (Say), and Culex tarsalis (Coquillett). Male and female mosquitoes were placed in cages and allowed to feed on liquid diets under controlled environmental conditions for 1 wk. For seven of the nine species, adult survival was significantly higher in the presence (Sugar Water, Sugar + Salt Water) versus the absence (Water Only, Salt Only) of sugar, with no indication that salt had any effect on survival. Anopheles quadrimaculatus showed intermediate survival in Sugar + Salt to either Sugar Only or no sugar diets, whereas Aedes dorsalis showed low survival in Salt Only versus other diets. Based on our data and coupled with the fact that mosquitoes have physiological and behavioral adaptations that allow them to avoid or process excess salt (as found in blood meals), we conclude that there is no scientific foundation for salt-based control methods of mosquitoes.

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