Insectary Under Construction

Our insectary is expanding! The new insectary increases our available workspace and will allow us to expand our mosquito-rearing program and take on new projects. Inside the insectary, we raise species from both the Aedes and Anopheles mosquito genera, and use these mosquitoes in a variety of ways ranging from understanding how they reproduce and carry malaria to what it takes to kill them with a laser.

The Insectary Chamber

The new insectary increases our available workspace and will allow us to expand our mosquito-rearing program and take on new projects. The insectary is currently divided into two main workspaces: a larval rearing room/work room that is kept at ambient temperature and humidity but equipped with a couple of environmentally-controlled incubators to keep growing larvae happy and a room reserved just for adult mosquito colonies that is set and monitored at 75°F/75%RH.

Since we now have a larger space to keep a thriving colony,  we are able to increase our rearing capacity..  This will help expedite experimental work for a variety of projects as well as keep up with the mosquito needs for Photonic Fence.

Does comfort for these pesky mosquitoes really matter?

Surprisingly, yes. In order to maintain the utmost health of our mosquito colonies for projects, we have to give in to their specialized needs. Essentially this falls under the category of controlled temperature, humidity and light cycles. Previously, this required us to have heaters and humidifiers that needed to be filled daily. Now, we have regulating heat and temperature modes inside the insectary that can be easily monitored from outside of the insectary. This system allows us to monitor the consistency of the climate inside the insectary rooms and if the temperature or humidity fluctuates too much, an alarm will sound.

Successfully rearing mosquitoes, or any insect for that matter, is challenging.  In fact, each mosquito species has slightly different environmental requirements and life-cycle characteristics.  Generally speaking, mosquitoes have four stages in their life cycle, three of which are aquatic: eggs to larvae to pupae. The adult stage of the mosquito’s life-cycle requires air, in the aerobic stage the mosquito requires high temperature and high humidity.  We raise both Anopheles freeborni and Anophelse stephensi in our insectary, and although both are within the same family and genus, A. freeborni might as well be the distant cousin of A. stephensi. It takes between 5-7 days for A. freeborni to be matured enough to lay eggs, 4 days for the eggs to be laid, after which 10-14 days for the eggs to go through the different instar stages to pupation and a further two days for the adults to emerge. Altogether, A. freeborni takes almost twice as long to grow as A. stephensi.

A. Stephensi A. Freeborni
Sexual Maturity 3 days 5-7 days
Harvesting Eggs 3 days 4 days
Eggs to Pupae Stage 8-10 days 10-14 days
Pupae Stage to Adult Stage 30 hours 36-48  hours
Total Time 15-17 days  20-27 days

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