You and the summertime pest that feeds on your flesh have a lot in common when it comes to feeling sleepy.
Blame (or thank) your internal biological clock. That clock affects your circadian rhythms by controlling your body’s production of a hormone called melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy. The result is an ongoing pattern of sleepiness and alertness.
But did you know that even lowly mosquitoes have circadian rhythms, too?
And as it turns out, scientists such as Ohio State entomologist Megan Meuti, PhD, have been able to tinker with the circadian rhythms in one type of mosquito. By altering those mosquitoes’ circadian rhythms, scientists have learned they can “trick” those mosquitos into getting their seasons mixed up.
They can convince a mosquito that it’s winter — and time to hibernate — when it’s actually summer and time to reproduce.
“The potential for manipulating their seasonal responses may be a very good way of controlling them,” said Meuti, an assistant professor in The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
What that means for you: Researchers have begun to tap into ways to potentially manipulate the mosquito population in the future, reducing the chances that you’ll get bitten as soon as you walk out of your house in the summer.
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