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Using Wolbachia to Control Mosquitoes

Entomologists at the University of Kentucky were recently granted a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency to begin field trials of a new mosquito control method.

Professor Stephen Dobson developed technology that moves the bacterium Wolbachia between mosquito species. The new biological control method releases Wolbachia-infected males in a targeted area. The males then mate with females and render them sterile.

“In laboratory and greenhouse conditions, we can eliminate a population in just over eight weeks,” Dobson said. “Insecticides can still be used for a quick knock down once a mosquito population is already high, but the biological Wolbachia approach started early in the season can serve to keep the population low, prevent a population explosion, or even eliminate a population.”

The following video explains the new method:

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