Oxford Long-Term Ecology Lab

Long-Term Ecology, Biodiversity Conservation, and Environmental Stewardship Technologies


There are around 3500 mosquito species in the world but only around 40 of them are capable of transmitting malaria to any significant degree. As few as seven species are responsible for the death of nearly 750 children under the age of five every day in sub Saharan Africa. Non-targeted use of broad-spectrum insecticides has resulted in wide-spread insecticide resistance amongst these primary vectors. However, targeted control require mosquito surveys which are expensive to run and require time, expertise and equipment which can limit their use by the vector control programmes that most need them.

In a new paper published this week in Methods in Ecology and Evolution Sinka et al describe a new acoustic technology that may revolutionise how future mosquito surveys are conducted. The HumBug system detects and identifies mosquito species using their very distinct flight tone. Using an intuitive App on locally available budget smartphones and an adapted bednet, the HumBug system passively captures the mosquito’s flight tone in people’s homes, uploads the recordings over the mobile network and identifies the mosquito.  The next iteration will also be able to send the results back to the phone providing a standardised, real-time method to locate, identify and count these dangerous insects.

More details about the HumBug project can be found at the following site

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