Image showing horse in coat to protect from mosquitos, human finger with mosquito and The Horse Trust logo

Welcome to the UK Equine Mosquito Threat Study

Climate change has resulted in certain types of biting insects, such as midges and mosquitoes, becoming increasingly established in the UK. These are known to play a role in the transmission of diseases such as West Nile, Schmallenberg and African Horse Sickness viruses. There is an ever increasing risk of these diseases either being introduced to the UK for the first time, or becoming established in the UK. This poses a serious threat to the health and welfare, of a large number of animals including horses.

The specific aim of this study, funded by The Horse Trust, is to address the lack of current information on the biology of mosquitoes found on UK horse premises:

  1. Trapping mosquitoes on horse premises in different regions of the UK, and identifying species of mosquito found.
  2. We will confirm whether trapped mosquitoes are feeding on horses.
  3. Effectiveness of methods for protecting horses from mosquito bites will be studied.
  4. The ability of mosquito species commonly found on UK horse premises to spread a chosen arbovirus (in this case mosquito-borne virus) will be investigated.

This information would be essential in helping to control and eradicate a mosquito-borne arboviral disease outbreak in horses, and in minimising the numbers of horses that develop disease. We aim to provide evidence-based advice to the equine community, and our findings will be publicly available to help safeguard the welfare of horses

How you can help

We are looking to recruit owners of equine premises who feel that they have a mosquito problem. In Summer 2015 we will begin trapping mosquitoes. Please contact us now, if you wish to participate.