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Synthetic sex pheromone attracts the leishmaniasis vector Lutzomyia longipalpis to experimental chicken sheds treated with insecticide

DOI: 10.1186/1756-3305-3-16

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Addition of synthetic pheromone resulted in greater numbers of male and female sand flies being caught and killed at experimental chicken sheds sprayed with insecticide, compared to pheromone-less controls. Furthermore, a ten-fold increase in the amount of sex pheromone released from test sheds increased the number of females attracted and subsequently killed. Treating sheds with insecticide alone resulted in a significant decrease in numbers of males attracted to sheds (compared to pre-spraying levels), and a near significant decrease in numbers of females. However, this effect was reversed through addition of synthetic pheromone at the time of insecticide spraying, leading to an increase in number of flies attracted post-treatment.In field trials of commercially available different coloured sticky traps, yellow traps caught more males than blue traps when placed in chicken sheds. In addition, yellow traps fitted with 10 pheromone lures caught significantly more males than pheromone-less controls. However, while female sand flies showed a preference for both blue and yellow pheromone traps sticky traps over white traps in the laboratory, neither colour caught significant numbers of females in chicken sheds, either with or without pheromone.We conclude that synthetic pheromone could currently be most effectively deployed for sand fly control through combination with existing insecticide spraying regimes. Development of a standalone pheromone trap remains a possibility, but such devices may require an additional attractive host odour component to be fully effective.The sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis (Diptera: Psychodidae) is the principle vector of Leishmania infantum chagasi (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidiae), the causative agent of American visceral leishmaniasis (AVL) in Brazil and South America. Transmission occurs through bloodfeeding of female L. longipalpis on infected hosts [1], with domestic dogs the primary reservoir in urban and peri-urban areas. Treatmen

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