By Alexandra Thompson Senior Health Reporter For Mailonline
Published: 12:40 GMT, 8 February 2019 | Updated: 13:08 GMT, 8 February 2019
Although mosquitoes do not need to watch their weight, giving the pests diet pills could combat the spread of malaria, Zika and dengue fever.
Researchers found the insects given drugs containing NPY-like receptors were less likely to suck blood when they were presented with a human arm.
These receptors regulate appetite in everything from roundworms to humans, and are even used in experimental anti-obesity medication to curb our desire for food.
Scientists believe if female mosquitoes could be coaxed into receiving these drugs, it may help control deadly diseases with limited treatment options.
Although mosquitoes do not need to watch their weight, giving the pests diet pills could combat the spread of malaria, Zika and dengue fever, research suggests (stock)
The research was carried out by The Rockefeller University in New York and led by Professor Leslie Vosshall, from the laboratory of neurogenetics and behavior.
Female mosquitoes suck human blood to help their eggs mature, with each insect having several blood-sucking and egg-laying cycles in her life.
This means when a female bites a human with a disease like Zika, she has several opportunities to pass that infection on.
The Zika virus is spread by mosquito bites, between people during unprotected sex, and from pregnant mothers to their children.
It cannot be cured or prevented with medicines. Although most adults do not become seriously ill from the infection, it can cause serious birth defects if pregnant women get it.
Foetuses' brains can be affected by the virus when it is passed on from the mother and it can cause microcephaly.
Microcephaly is a condition in which babies' heads are unusually small, which can lead to seizures, delayed development and other disabilities.
The virus can also