Scientists Race to Kill Mosquitoes Before They Kill Us

From Sierra Magazine
January 9, 2018

Since West Nile virus made its debut in New York City over a decade ago, outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases, especially West Nile virus, have become increasingly commonplace. As temperatures reach new highs as a result of global climate change, mosquitoes that once called the tropics home find the United States just as habitable. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Aedes aegypti—which is capable of transmitting the Zika, dengue, and chikungunya viruses—could find suitable breeding habitats in 75 percent of the contiguous United States. 

Efforts to deal with the unwelcome vectors, however, are already running into trouble. In a poorly executed plan to suppress mosquitoes in South Carolina last year, officials in Dorchester County misted an insecticide called Naled—deadly to both honeybees and mosquitoes—through the air over Summerville without warning local beekeepers. The subsequent deaths of millions of bees served as a wake-up call that weapons beyond pesticides are needed to fight the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.

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