The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District released 20,000 male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes on Stock Island in the Florida Keys. The field trial involves the release of male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with a naturally-occurring bacterium called Wolbachia.
When a Wolbachia-infected male mates with a wild female Aedes aegypti, the resulting eggs do not hatch. During the 12 week evaluation, a thousand male mosquitoes, which do not bite, will be released from 20 different points in the trial area twice-a-week.
“This is an important time at Mosquito Control,” said Executive Director Andrea Leal. “A successful trial with the Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes could mean the availability of a new tool in the fight against the Aedes aegypti mosquito for not only our District, but for Mosquito Control Districts around the country.”
|Each tube contains 1,000 Wolbachia-infected male mosquitoes. Photo credit: FKMCD|
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are very difficult to control, are the species that are primarily responsible for the spread of the Zika virus. The species can also transmit dengue fever, Chikungunya virus, West Nile virus, and Yellow Fever.
|Research Entomologist Catherine Pruszynski releases Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes. Photo credit: FKMCD|