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From May 30, 2001

Powdered Starch Controls Mosquito Larvae

A May 18, 2001 article in Nature, "Starch collars dangerous pests," by Corie Lok, cites the potential for applying xanthan gum, powdered starch, on pond mosquito breeding grounds as a way of controlling mosquito populations. The starch forms a temporary film on the surface of the pond that smothers the mosquito larvae without harming other pond life.

Barry Pittendrigh of Purdue University and scientists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware, field tested xanthan gum, a thickening agent found in many processed foods, for its potential in controlling mosquito populations. Pittendrigh, et al, stated that its use is as effective as conventional insecticides.

Pittendrigh's study, "Carbohyrate-based mosquito control: A field test of the concept," was published in Environmental Entomology volume 30, pages 388-393 (2001).

For information on alternative mosquito controls, toxicity of conventional mosquito insecticides, or a community organizing packet, please contact Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP at info@beyondpesticides.org or 202-543-5450.