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May 18, 2016: Grab A Cup, A Paper Towel and Join the Zika Fight

Matt Beam, Mosquito Squad of the Triad in the Carolinas, was featured this week with our second post about the Invasive Mosquito Project.

“The USDA is calling on people to become citizen scientists to help them track the spread of the Zika virus – and all it takes is a brown paper towel and a dark-colored cup.

“It’s called the Invasive Mosquito Project where people will collect mosquito eggs and send them to the USDA.

“From there, scientists will determine which species in our area are carrying which types of diseases.

“North Carolina has dozens of different mosquito types, including two that have also been known to carry Zika.

“’There’s really no way to know if people could possibly get these diseases because there’s no tracking of it,’ explains Matt Beam who is a biologist and the general manager at Mosquito Squad in the Triad, a company that helps people control mosquitos at their homes and businesses. ‘If you don’t have tracking, you can’t really keep track of where these diseases are and the numbers that they are affecting.’

“Beam says Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, which is why this experiment should work.

“In fact, he says the government did the same thing in the 1940’s, which led to the eradication of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.

“The USDA is hoping to bring this to the classroom too, so that kids can learn about the spread of disease, while helping the government identify hotspots.

“’It’s very safe,” explains Beam. "It’s a great way to get the public involved in something that costs a lot of money for municipalities and the state to do themselves.’

“In recent years, a lot of counties have lost funding for mosquito control — this year, Guilford county says it’s re-allocating money – about 10 thousand dollars to mosquito control, all because of the Zika scare.”

Source: WFMY News 2

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