The work of the Pest Behaviour Group ranges from laboratory-based research, using cutting-edge technologies, to analyse the basic physiology and behaviour of pests and vectors through field-based studies of pest behaviour and ecology to translational research where knowledge of pest behaviour is used to develop innovative control technologies. This continuum of basic-applied research is applied to insect and mammalian pests impacting on humans, livestock, crops and stored products in the developed and developing world.
Vectors of medical and veterinary importance. We work on the mosquitoes which spread malaria (Anopheles spp.), filariasis (Anopheles and Culex spp.), Zika, dengue (Aedes spp.), the vectors of river blindness (blackfly, Simulium spp.), sleeping sickness (tsetse, Glossina spp.) and species of rat (Rattus, Mastomys) which spread plague, lassa fever and leptospirosis. Research on veterinary pests includes analysis of the behaviour of the species of tsetse which spread African animal trypanosomiasis and biting midges (Culicoides spp.) which transmit blue tongue virus.
Crop Pests. Much of our work on crop pests, conducted in close collaboration with the Chemical Ecology group, is concerned with analysing the behaviour of pests responding to semiochemicals (sex pheromones, attractants, repellents) used to monitor and/or control insects which attack crops directly or spread plant diseases that destroy the crop.
Pests of stored products. The protection of stored grain and pulses with repellent and pesticidal plants is an important part of African farming systems. Our research focusses on analysing how these plants protect stored products with the aim of improving their efficacy and/or developing synthetic protectants that have anti-feedant, repellent or anti-oviposition effects