Tags: epa | bacteria | mosquitoes

EPA Approves Bacteria-Infected Insects to Kill Mosquitoes

EPA Approves Bacteria-Infected Insects to Kill Mosquitoes
(Felipe Dana/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 08 November 2017 11:41 AM

The Environmental Protection Agency last week approved a plan to use mosquitoes infected with bacteria to kill others in the wild, Nature reports.

The agency informed MosquitoMate, a biotechnology company, that it can proceed with its plan to reduce the mosquito population by releasing lab-reared male mosquitoes, known as "ZAP males," which do not bite, infected with the bacterium Wolbachia pipientis, which has no effect on other animals.

The male mosquitoes would mate with wild females, whose eggs would then fail to hatch as an effect of the bacterium.

"MosquitoMate starts releasing male ZAP mosquitoes weekly in your yard at the beginning of the mosquito season," the company states on its website.

"It's a non-chemical way of dealing with mosquitoes, so from that perspective, you'd think it would have a lot of appeal," David O'Brochta, University of Maryland entomologist, told Nature. "I'm glad to see it pushed forward, as I think it could be potentially really important."

The company plans to sell its mosquitoes in Lexington, Kentucky, where it's located. From there it hopes to expand to cities like Louisville. Trials already have been conducted in California and New York, which "demonstrated a greater than 80% reduction of the biting mosquito populations," according to MosquitoMate.

Mosquitoes carrying the bacterium were previously released by the Eliminate Dengue Program in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Medellín, Colombia, in October of last year.

"This really has the potential to be a game changer in terms of vector control — the biggest thing since DDT," Philip McCall, a medical entomologist at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, told Nature at the time.

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The Environmental Protection Agency last week approved a plan to use mosquitoes infected with bacteria to kill others in the wild, Nature reports.
epa, bacteria, mosquitoes
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2017-41-08
Wednesday, 08 November 2017 11:41 AM
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