The AFRIMS Insectary is a unique resource within the Department of Entomology which provides laboratory-reared insects required for vector-borne disease and vector control studies. The Insectary is designed to be a closed environment with strictly controlled temperature, humidity and feeding patterns to ensure the optimal formation and development of insect colonies.
Currently, the Insectary rears over 100,00 mosquitos monthly, including five species of Anopheles (An. dirus, An. cracens, An. minimus, An. belenrae, An. pullus), two of species of Aedes (Ae. aegypti, Ae. albopictus) and the species Toxorhynchites splendens. Additionally, the AFRIMS Insectary is the first in Thailand to successfully colonize the Phlebotomus papatasi sand fly, including the local genus of Sergentomyia. Maintaining live colonies of these insects allows researchers to study both vectors and the diseases they carry including malaria (Anopheles species), dengue and Zika (Aedes species) and leishmaniasis (sand flies).
The AFRIMS Insectary has pioneered several techniques to ensure that its mosquito and sand fly colonies successfully transition to and thrive within a laboratory environment:

  • Membrane Feeding: AFRIMS entomologists developed an artificial membrane to ensure insects receive the blood they require to reproduce.
  • Mating Techniques: as Anopheles mosquitoes are not well adapted to mating in laboratory environments, AFRIMS entomologists developed a novel technique of artificially inducing mating to ensure that colonies can be maintained a sufficient levels required for research.
  • AFRIMS Spoon: to facilitate feeding mosquito larvae, entomologists developed the AFRIMS Spoon (currently pending trademark) to provide a regular, controlled amount of food during each meal. Use of these spoons on a regular feeding schedule has lowered mortality rates and produced larger females.

AFRIMS-produced insects are used to test countermeasures developed internally or by external partners including bed nets, vaccines, drugs, insecticides and more.

Partnerships and Collaborations:
The Insectary works with partners across Southeast Asia and around the world including partner militaries, U.S. government and DOD agencies, non- and intergovernmental organizations, academic universities and industry laboratories. 
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