Genetically Modified Mosquitos

Author: Mosquito Squad of Rhode Island

You have heard of GMOs. What about GMMs?

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┬ánot 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 resistance to pesticides, Florida began looking for a new mosquito control solution in 2015.

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%.

Timeline for Potential GM Mosquito Release

In May 2020, the EPA approved the release of these mosquitoes in Florida, followed by approval for release in Texas in August 2020. Oxitec subsequently received approval from the state of Florida for the pilot release, which is expected to take place in June 2021. Oxitec did not receive local approval in Texas. Future appeals to states for the same approval are likely to be met with equal contention as Texas.

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 of these modified mosquitoes die before they reach adulthood. Mosquitoes don’t require blood meals or transfer diseases until they become adults.

The Future of Pawtucket Mosquito Control

Effective, professional Pawtucket mosquito control is essential – and will be for the foreseeable future! There are petitions to ban the genetic engineering of mosquitoes. Multiple articles sharing the same information refer to the mosquitoes in a variety of less emotional terms: “genetically engineered”, “modified mosquitoes”, “transgenic mosquitoes.” Others capitalized on the current food debate by calling them “GMO Mosquitoes”. No matter what you call them, the idea of genetically engineering mosquitoes presents fear of the unknown – especially the long-term effects of potentially eradicating an entire population of mosquitoes.

Until bio-engineered mosquitoes become widely available (if they ever do), eliminate up to 90% of the mosquitoes in your yard with help from Mosquito Squad of Rhode Island. Our traditional mosquito barrier protection spray starts working on contact, and continues work for up to 21 days. By lowering the populations of mosquitoes in your yard, we can help protect you and your family from itchy bites and potentially harmful mosquito-borne illnesses. Call us today at (401) 825-0110.