Scientists in Perth have revealed an incredible research project to track the movements of metropolitan mosquitoes - by letting them loose covered in fluorescent pink and orange paint.
WA's Department of Health are embarking on the amazing project to study the flight activity of mosquitoes in central Perth, and hopefully provide valuable information on mosquito-borne disease risk.
To do it, they intend to let loose hundreds of fluorescent insects into Perth's atmosphere, and then recapture them in specially baited traps to find out where they flew to and how long it took.
The mosquitoes will first be captured at their breeding ground on Heirisson Island, in the Swan River, where they will be dusted with the highly identifiable fluoro-coloured powders, before being released back into Perth's atmosphere.
Another 50 recapture traps, which will use carbon dioxide to entice the insects from up to 100m away, will be set up in a grid pattern around Perth.
When these traps recapture the coloured mosquitoes, this will allow researchers to work out how far the mosquitoes have travelled, how long they took to cover the distance and the direction they took to get there.
Ryan Janes, a scientific officer with the mosquito-borne disease control unit at the health department, said the more that can be discovered about the behaviour patterns of metropolitan mosquitoes, the more can be done to learn how to repel them.
"We'll also compare this information with environmental data such as rainfall patterns and wind direction to see if there is any correlation between these conditions and mosquito flight activity," Mr Janes explained.
"The more we learn about the dispersal patterns of these metropolitan mosquitoes, the more accurately we can target them with timely measures to minimise their impact on residents."Some homeowners and local councils might even be asked for permission to allow traps to be set in their gardens to assist in the project.
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