Miami mosquito war: Thousands of infected bugs to be released this week to battle virus | Science | News

The mosquitos have been infected with the bacteria in labs – the plan aims for males to mate with females carrying the deadly diseases such as Zika, dengue and yellow fever.

The sterilising Wolbachia will cause eggs from the females to die before they are able to hatch.

The first round of males will be released in Miami, USA, this week.

The Miami-Dade County Mosquito Reduction Test Program is the combination of work between the University of Kentucky and MosquitoMate.

The latter stated: “Wolbachia is special because it can prevent an insect from reproducing.

“This phenomenon is known as cytoplasmic incompatibility.

“If a male mosquito that has Wolbachia mates with a female that doesn’t, the eggs laid by that female will die.

“They will not hatch, they will not become larvae, and they will not turn into adults.

“So what we need for cytoplasmic incompatibility to occur is for males that have Wolbachia to mate with females that don’t.”

Aedes aegypti are the type of mosquito in the initiative’s line of fire.

The aim of the project is to not only reduce the spread of deadly viruses but to decrease the number of mosquitos in the area completely.

While Wolbachia will have an adverse effect on mosquito eggs, it is not harmful to humans.

The bacteria is found in roughly 60 per cent of insects that include butterflies and dragonflies.

Only female Aedes aegypti spread diseases, therefore only males are being released to wage the mosquito war.

The scheme has already launched Florida’s Key West area but was interrupted by the arrival of Hurricane Irma.

Trials have successfully been conducted in Kentucky, California and New York – these have resulted in “significant” reductions in the female Aedes aegypti populations, according to the Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control and Habitat Management Division.

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