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Florida tests bacteria-infected mosquitoes

Thousands of bacteria-infected mosquitoes were released in the wild Tuesday near Key West, testing a new way to kill mosquitoes that carry Zika and other viruses.

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District released 20,000 male mosquitoes infected by the Kentucky-based company MosquitoMate with naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria. The offspring produced when the lab-bred mosquitoes mate with wild female mosquitoes won’t survive to adulthood. Male mosquitoes don’t bite, and Wolbachia is not harmful to humans. “The eggs never even hatch,” said Stephen Dobson, MosquitoMate’s founder. April 18, 2017 by Jennifer Kay – The infected mosquitoes were flown in cardboard tubes—similar to ones used in paper towel rolls—from Lexington, Kentucky, to Key West on Tuesday morning. At the Stock Island test site, about 25 acres with residential and commercial properties just north of Key West, district staff released them by shaking or blowing into the tubes, said Andrea Leal, the district’s executive director. “They liked the humidity,” Leal said. “They were very happy mosquitoes.” The trial is expected to last about three months, with twice-weekly releases. Seven Wolbachia-infected males should be released for every one wild male in the field to drive down the mosquito population, Dobson said. Read more at:

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