Killer Mosquitoes to the Rescue
MosquitoMate, a biotech company out of Lexington, KY, has discovered a new way to combat mosquito-borne illnesses such as the Zika virus, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. Rather than using genetic engineering, MosquitoMate creates “killer mosquitoes” by infecting lab-grown male mosquitoes with Wolbachia, a common bacterium found in many species of insects. The bacterium does not affect humans or animals and since male mosquitoes do not bite, the killer mosquitoes only pose a threat to other mosquitoes, specifically the female mosquito population carrying infectious diseases.
How Does it Work?
Once infecting the lab-grown mosquitoes with the bacteria, they will be released in hopes of mating with female Asian tiger mosquitoes, which do bite and are known for being most active at dawn and dusk, as well as during daylight hours. The bacterium from the lab-grown male mosquitoes, which the company has named ZAP mosquitoes, affects the eggs of the female mosquito by causing the chromosomes not to form properly and as a result, the eggs don’t hatch. This interrupts the lifecycle of biting mosquitoes and reduces their population. The company’s goal is to eliminate certain populations of mosquitoes that could be carrying harmful diseases, and therefore, reduce the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses to the human population.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved MosquitoMate to release their killer mosquitoes in Washington D.C. and these states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Main, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and West Virginia. The approval lasts five years and MosquitoMate plans to work with homeowners and organizations to release their ZAP mosquitoes. Many southern states were not included in the approval because MosquitoMate did not complete any field trials there, in addition to many densely-populated areas and an overall longer mosquito season. Since it will take millions of killer mosquitoes to suppress the population of mosquitoes in an entire city, the company is starting small and is working to make the process more efficient as they expand.
In the Meantime, Stock Up on NET effect
Since this is still in the early stages of trial, make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from mosquitoes and potentially harmful mosquito-borne illnesses now. NET effect is your solution for long-lasting mosquito protection and comes in a unique roll-on applicator that is not only safer than spray repellents, but it is also easier to carry or travel with. NET effect contains DEET and provides protection from harmful mosquitoes, as well as ticks, biting flies, fleas, chiggers and no-see-ums. To purchase a bottle of NET effect, visit the shop page on our website.