Update on ZAP Mosquitos

February 05, 2018

As urban populations in the U.S. continue to grow, the risk of being bitten by a disease carrying mosquito continues to rise. In some areas of the country, mosquitoes are already a constant nuisance. When those areas experience a higher frequency of hurricanes, torrential rains and flooding, mosquito populations explode, and the threat to human health is dire. In response, the U.S. government is getting more aggressive in its efforts to eradicate mosquitoes. Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency approved Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti, commonly called ZAP mosquitoes, for commercial use.

Specially-bred male ZAP mosquitoes carry powerful bacteria and this bacterium serves as a "poison pill" of sorts for the general mosquito population. When swarms of naturally-altered males get released into targeted areas, they mate with wild female mosquitoes. What happens next is causing a stir in government circles. After mating with a ZAP mosquito, many of the wild females are unable to breed.

The genius of this method is that it pits ZAP mosquito bacteria against regular Wolbachia bacteria, commonly found in wild mosquitoes. Both forms of bacteria are incompatible with each other, and once females become carriers of the altered bacteria, they can no longer pass on Wolbachia to their offspring. Because Wolbachia is an essential breeding chromosome, the lack of it prevents eggs from developing.

California, Kentucky and New York participated in ZAP mosquito testing, and the results show that when ZAP mosquitoes are released in targeted mosquito zones, mosquito populations drop by more than 80 percent. Because mosquitoes are developing a resistance to pesticides, the impact of natural eradication may be huge. Male mosquitos deliver a knockout punch directly to breeding sites. So far, ZAP mosquitoes are approved for use in 20 states and Washington DC. It remains to be seen how much mosquito populations drop in each state, but things look promising.

Innovations like this don't just happen overnight. It turns out, ZAP mosquitoes are a labor of love by medical entomologist, Stephen Dobson. It took Dobson around 20 years to get to this point, and he probably spent many long days working on this project at the University of Kentucky. This breakthrough in mosquito control is certainly welcome by all who fear mosquitoes carrying Zika and West Nile viruses.

Does this mean there's no longer a need for individual mosquito prevention? No. Everyone still needs to help make it as difficult as possible for mosquitoes to breed near homes and businesses. That means getting rid of standing water and using environmentally-friendly treatments that are effective.

MosquitoNix continues to use innovative, state-of-the-art technology to eradicate mosquito breeding near homes, businesses and industrial properties. We too have put a lot of time and effort into research and development of our custom treatment solutions. Our trained professionals are knowledgeable about mosquito breeding and the best ways to eliminate them on a case-by-case basis.

Mosquitoes breed in the millions, and it takes a combination of control methods to achieve the highest level of infestation protection. We offer ongoing and temporary fogging treatments, misting treatments and portable treatments tailored to your needs. Contact us today for a free consultation and estimate.

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