Cannibal Mosquitoes Turn on Their Own Kind

Author: Mosquito Squad of SC Texas

It sounds a bit like a late night B movie on the Syfy channel, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s an interesting turn on mosquito control that scientists in Harris County Texas are working intensely to perfect.

Mosquito Larvae Eating Mosquito Larvae

Maybe it sounds a little gross too, but imagine if the good mosquitoes could get rid of the bad mosquitoes for us. There is a specific species of mosquito in existence, Toxorhynchites rutilusseptentrionalis, that prey on other types of mosquitoes and specifically the Aedes species. 

The Aedes mosquitoes are the types we most hear of spreading the major diseases: Zika, chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever. The Toxorhynchites don’t feed on blood at all. They are large mosquitoes that feed on the nectar of flowers. It is sugar and not blood that they use to produce eggs. However, when this species is young it actually will eat other mosquitoes. They tend to hatch in tree holes and other shallow water containers just like the blood-sucking mosquitoes and if given the opportunity can eat up to 5,000 other mosquitoes before they become adults. Mosquito control by mosquito. Sounds awfully efficient!

This isn’t really a new discovery, but in the past, they actually weren’t efficient at all. When raising the predatory mosquitoes in batches they simply turned on and ate their own kind, making it impossible to create enough to let loose in the environment which could have reduced the number of disease-spreading mosquitoes.

Anita Schiller, director of mosquito bio-control development at Harris County’s Biological Control Initiative and a group of Texas researchers have gone to great lengths to change this by raising the predatory mosquitoes individually. While it’s a very tedious task, they feel that they have perfected it and it makes a definite difference in the viability of this type of mosquito control.

There have been setbacks. Hurricane Harvey wrecked the facility the researchers were working in, but the mosquito colony was saved and the research has now resumed. “With so many places where biting mosquitoes can breed, it is easy to see how a single control measure is at best complicated and in reality is unlikely to be developed,” says Schiller, but she is hopeful and is working towards combining this type of control with others in efforts toward reducing the population of harmful disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Professional Backyard Mosquito Control Is Still Your Best Defense

Science is amazing. The idea that we can use what is already in practice in nature as a way to control the mosquito population in the future is absolutely intriguing, but we live in the here and now and in the here and now we need to protect ourselves from the Aedes species of mosquito. Our professional mosquito control treatment does that and it does it very well. We take away the annoyance of the pests in your yard and the worry of what they may be carrying by removing the source and you can just relax and enjoy the summer. Pest free.