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UC Riverside researchers have identified new strategies for insect control

Malaria is spread through mosquitoes that have been infiltrated by the <em>Plasmodium</em> parasite.
Associated Press
Mosquitoes under a microscope.

The researchers found potential in insect control through repellents that could be applied on surfaces like windowsills, entryways, backyards and even near crops.

The study focused on ammonia, which is a basic volatile compound found in insect environments. Low concentrations of ammonia, like that found in human sweat, attract insects like mosquitoes.

But at higher concentrations, insects are no longer attracted to ammonia. Researchers looked at what happens to the olfactory and gustatory system of fruit flies and mosquitoes in the presence of ammonia.

The ammonia was found to block the insect’s sense of smell so they could not find human skin odor. This research could be used to make new insect repellants in the future.