Well, turns out you can pack in a lot of mosquitoes without killing them

Mailing mosquitoes doesn't seem wise on the surface.

Nevertheless, researchers from New Mexico State University have been looking into it, as part of an effort to help control the spread of disease.

SEE ALSO: The air quality in India is horrendously bad right now. Here's why.

Sending out sterilised male mosquitoes from the lab back into the wild is one way to help reduce numbers, as they mate with females but don't produce any offspring.

But there's the issue of figuring out how to send thousands, or even millions of mosquitoes into a chosen wilderness area. Would they survive a 24-hour shipping process? And how many would you be able to fit in a package?

The answer is yes, and you can fit in quite a lot of the insects, as per a study published in the Journal of Insect Science on Wednesday.

Enter your email to receive weekly pet deals and more By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use(opens in a new tab) and Privacy Policy(opens in a new tab). Thanks for signing up!

NMSU's Hae-Na Chung and her team of researchers discovered you can fit in 240 live mosquitoes per cubic centimetre, which equates to 1,200 mosquitoes to a teaspoon.

"We started our experiments in 50 milliliter tubes and quickly learned that you have to raise a lot of mosquitoes to fill such a tube — 10,000 males fit in one. We then switched to 10 millilitre syringes and were astonished how many mosquitoes you can fit into one, up to 2,500," Immo Hansen, an associate professor at NMSU, said in a statement online.

For a shipping test, a precise number of the mosquitoes were packed into 10-millilitre syringes, of which the plungers were then compressed to the 1-millilitre mark (1 cubic centimetre).

They were then packed into a styrofoam container with a cooling element, then shipped from Las Cruces, New Mexico, to Davis, California. Upon delivery, the mosquitoes were inspected for survival rate and damage.

At 240 mosquitoes per cubic centimetre, the highest density tested, there were missing scales, and some of the insects had slightly damaged wings. But the tightness of the packing seemed to be more of a benefit.

"The high mortality of the not-so-densely packed mosquitoes in our real-world shipping assay was unexpected," Hansen added. "We hypothesize that the vibrations during transport, especially during the flight, affected the loosely packed mosquitoes more than the densely packed ones."

The next step for researchers is to discover how fit the mosquitoes are following shipment, which they aim to discover through semi-field experiments next year. Feeling itchy?


Featured Video For You
Take a look inside an eerie abandoned school near Chernobyl — Sharp Science

ARCHIVES