Environmental influences on mosquito foraging and integrated vector management can delay the evolution of behavioral resistance

Chris Stone, Nakul Chitnis, Kevin Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Along with the scaled-up distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets for malaria control has become concern about insecticide resistance. A related concern regards the evolution of host-seeking periodicity from the nocturnal to the crepuscular periods of the day. Why we observe such shifts in some areas but not others and which methods could prove useful in managing such behavioral resistance remain open questions. We developed a foraging model to explore whether environmental conditions affect the evolution of behavioral resistance. We looked at the role of the abundance of blood hosts and nectar sources and investigated the potential of attractive toxic sugar baits for integrated control. Higher encounter rates with hosts and nectar sources allowed behaviorally resistant populations to persist at higher levels of bed net coverage. Whereas higher encounter rates with nectar increased the threshold where resistance emerged, higher encounter rates of hosts lowered this threshold. Adding sugar baits lowered the coverage level of bed nets required to eliminate the vector population. In certain environments, using lower bed net coverage levels together with toxic sugar baits may delay or prevent the evolution of behavioral resistance. Designing sustainable control strategies will depend on an understanding of vector behavior expressed in local environmental conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-517
Number of pages16
JournalEvolutionary Applications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Anopheles
  • Attractive toxic sugar baits
  • Behavioral resistance
  • Foraging behavior
  • Integrated vector management
  • Long-lasting insecticidal bed nets
  • Malaria
  • Model
  • Mosquito

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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