The Florida Keys are a hot bed for mosquitoes and aggressive mosquitoes at that. With year round mosquito weather they never get a break from the annoying dangerous pests. The particularly human loving variety called Aedes aegyptus or yellow fever mosquito, have become resistant to most chemical pesticides. The Aedes aegyptus, according to NPR not only “love people” but they happen to be the variety that carries dengue fever and chikungunya (a tropical disease that is now showing up in Florida).
With the year round threat of mosquito-borne diseases and their increased resistance to chemical pesticides, Florida is looking for a new mosquito control solution.
A British company, Oxitec has developed genetically engineered mosquitoes in effort to combat mosquito borne diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and chikungunya. They have already conducted experiments with bio-engineered male mosquitoes of the Aedes aegyptus variety. Conducted in Malaysia, Brazil and the Cayman Islands, the experiments were shown to reduce the population of Aedes aegyptus mosquitoes by 90%.
HOW DO GENETICALLY MODIFIED MOSQUITOES LOWER MOSQUITO POPULATIONS?
The bio-engineered “friendly” male Aedes aegyptus mosquito is released into the wild. The male then mates with the wild female of the same species. She goes off and lays her eggs, but the resulting offspring die off before they reach adulthood. Mosquitoes don’t eat blood or transfer diseases until they become adults.
For 5 years the officials in Florida have been working with Oxitec to get approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) to conduct trials in the Florida Keys. New Scientist reports this month that the USDA has completed their review which will soon be published for public consumption before making a decision.
THE FUTURE OF MOSQUITO CONTROL
While reading up on this fascinating scientific endeavor I discovered petitions to ban the genetic engineering of mosquitoes. I observed multiple articles sharing the same information that refer to the mosquitoes in a variety of less emotional terms: “genetically engineered”, “modified mosquitoes”, “transgenic mosquitoes”. While others capitalized on the current food debate by calling them “GMO Mosquitoes”. Whether the FDA approves this new method of mosquito control or not, it is certainly going to be a controversial issue.
Until bio-engineered mosquitoes become widely available (if they do), eliminate mosquitoes in your yard with help from Mosquito Squad of Leominster. Our traditional barrier spray eliminates mosquitoes on contact and continues to work for up to 21 days. By lowering the populations of mosquitoes in your yard by 85-90% we can help keep you and your family safe from itchy bites and tick-borne diseases this season. Contact us to sign up today