with insects and mites of veterinary relevance which may act as haematophagous ectoparasites or vectors of disease as well as
with economically important arthropods which may be parasitized and infected themselves.
Among the haematophagous ectopaparasites and vectors, the focus is on biting midges (Diptera, Ceratopogonidae) and mosquitoes (Diptera, Culicidae) which transmit the aetiological agents of important animal and zoonotic diseases, such as bluetongue disease, African horse sickness, West Nile fever and Rift Valley fever. The group of economically important arthropods dealt with contains honey bees (Apis mellifera) the colonies of which are increasingly damaged through infestation by the mite Varroa destructor and infections by several viruses, bacteria and protozoa on a world-wide scale. Until the end of 2010, the German national reference laboratory for notifiable bee diseases will be established and incorporated in the working group.
Research activities include ecoepidemiological, infectiological and molecular biological approaches and combine classical entomological field work and modern laboratory methodologies. For example, studies on the distribution, seasonal dynamics, host preference and feeding behaviour of potential vectors and the defence of the attacked hosts are carried out in the field. In the laboratory, infectiological and molecular biological examinations are performed on the pathology, transmission mechanisms, vector competence, transmission dynamics and the interactions between pathogens and vectors/hosts.