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In the coming weeks, the City of South Miami will be getting some new mosquitos. And, while the words “new” and “mosquitoes” put side-by-side don’t typically elicit excitement, these mosquitoes are different.
The insects being released are all male—which don’t bite—and have been infected with a bacteria called Wolbachia, a naturally occuring microbe that causes the females who mate with infected males to produce dud eggs that aren’t able to hatch. The idea is to reduce the local population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the bugs that spread diseases like zika, dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya.
(Courtesy of MiamiDade TV)
The project is a collaboration between Miami-Dade County and MosquitoMate , a Kentucky-based company, that got its start with help from research conducted at the University of Kentucky. MosquitoMate has conducted a similar mosquito-release trial in Fresno County, California .
The South Miami trial will start small. Mosquitoes will be released within a designated one-half-square-mile treatment area which will then be compared against a similarly sized control area.
Quinn Libson is a Staff Correspondent for Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.