Scented Sugar Baits Enhance Detection of St. Louis Encephalitis and West Nile Viruses in Mosquitoes in Suburban California

Cody D. Steiner, Kasen K. Riemersma, Jackson B. Stuart, Anil Singapuri, Hugh D. Lothrop, Lark L Schneider Coffey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Scented sugar baits deployed in California deserts detected early West Nile virus (WNV) transmission by mosquitoes, representing a potential improvement to conventional arbovirus surveillance that relies heavily on infection rates in mosquito pools. In this study, we expanded deployment of scented sugar baits into suburban Sacramento and Yolo (2015, 2016) and Riverside Counties (2016), California. The goal of the study was to determine whether scented sugar baits detect WNV and St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) concurrent with mosquito infections in trapped pools in areas of high human density. Between 8 and 10% of sugar baits were WNV RNA positive in both study years across the three counties. In Riverside County, where SLEV re-emerged in 2015, 1% of sugar baits were SLEV positive in 2016. Rates of sugar bait positives were at least 100 times higher than infection rates in trapped mosquitoes in the same districts. The prevalence of sugar bait positives varied temporally and did not coincide with infections in mosquitoes collected at the same sites each week. WNV RNA positive sugar baits were detected up to 2 wk before and after concurrent surveillance detected infection in mosquito pools at the same sites. Sugar baits also detected WNV in Riverside County at locations where no WNV activity was detected in mosquito pools. Sugar baits generated between 0.8 and 1.2 WNV positives per $1,000 and can be more economical than carbon dioxide baited traps that produce 0.8 positives per $1,000. These results indicate that the sugar bait approach enhances conventional arbovirus surveillance in mosquitoes in suburban California.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1307-1318
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of medical entomology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 29 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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