Science and Tech


Scientists Want To Release 20 Million Male Mosquitoes Here

The bugs don't bite, and they've been treated with a kind of bacteria that makes them sterile.
Posted at 5:16 PM, Jul 16, 2017

Scientists in Fresno, California, have a plan to reduce the mosquito population: by dumping a million of them into the environment — every week.

It may sound outrageous, but there's science behind it. The field study is called Debug Fresno. Fresno County partnered with MosquitoMate and Google sister company Verily to breed millions of male mosquitoes.

Now, male mosquitoes can't bite. And these bugs have been treated with a specific kind of bacteria, Wolbachia, that makes them sterile.

So over time, the population will naturally decrease. That's good news, because the species of mosquito being used — Aedes aegypti — is an invasive species that can carry and transmit Zika and other diseases.

The study will take place over a 20-week period. It will be the largest of its kind, with 25 times more mosquitoes than last year's pilot release in Fresno County.