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EPA Greenlights Experimental Mosquito Control
12 November 2017, 01:50 | Darnell Patrick
EPA approves 'Weaponized Mosquitoes' for Indiana, 19 other states
Individual property owners, from hotels to homeowners, would be able to purchase the ZAP bugs, but it may take a while for the company to spread across all 20 states - the company will have to produce millions of mosquitoes and they are now separating the male from the female ZAP mosquitoes by hand.
Male mosquitoes infected with a certain bacteria can mate with female, potentially disease carrying mosquitoes, and render them infertile, lowering the mosquito population.
On their website, MosquitoMate claims that the release of their modified males reduces biting mosquito populations by 80 percent, and now, they market their line of lab-grown mosquitoes as a method of pest control, helping towns and their citizens see fewer itchy bites in the warm months.
Scientists with the company hope the new mosquito biopesticide, which is being marketed under the name ZAP Males, can reduce populations of mosquitoes that carry yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika virus.
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The EPA approval is good for five years, and applies to Washington, D.C., California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and West Virginia. Other mosquito species and insects will not be affected, said Stephen Dobson, the company's founder.
Company officials say the sale of the insects could begin by summer for mosquito control for homeowner associations, municipalities or individual homeowners.
The states where MosquitoMate will release the infected mosquitoes are majority areas where the threat of these diseases could be felt.
Before the ZAP Males can be used, it they must be registered in those state or the district.
If successful, this kind of biotechnology would be a big step forward towards solving the huge global health issue of mosquito-borne diseases.
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