Our recent community study in Tanzania has allowed us to trial the HumBug system under real-life conditions and compare it with traditional methods of mosquito survey (CDC Light traps and human baited nets). Preliminary analyses show (as expected) that we do not capture as many flight tone signals as can be physically captured in human baited nets or the huge amount of specimens (mostly non-target species) that are routinely collected in CDC-LTs. Interestingly, however the audio data collected via HumBug demonstrate a clear pattern of the known mosquito activity during the night far more effectively than the other two methods.
Our data also show that our sensors in one house (House 9 in the study area) captured notably more audio data (flight tones) than those in other houses – indicating that is possible to optimise the HumBug system and increase our audio captures to a much closer approximation of those captured by the widely used human baited net. Unfortunately (as is always the way!) the HumBug Nets were dismantled in the houses before we were able to identify what might have been responsible for the better results in House 9. We are therefore running a small follow up trial, again with our collaborators at IHI, to test the theory that perhaps the HumBug net setup in House 9 allowed easier entry and movement through the net and around the HumBug sensor. We are making use of a rigid framed double-net mosquito survey system (DN-mini trap) developed in 2019 by our IHI colleagues (https://rdcu.be/cMc3C).
Watch this space for updates on whether this does the job!