When Rats Were Wiped Out On This Island, So Were The Mosquitoes

From Honolulu Civil Beat
March 14, 2018

Sometimes — too rarely — happy things happen by accident.

On the remote island of Palmyra, directly south of Hawaii, the removal of rats also killed off the population of the Asian tiger mosquito.

Nobody planned that, but it turned out that black rats were the main blood source for these mosquitoes, and without them, the pests could not survive.

The unexpected benefit opens the door to new mechanisms in the Hawaiian Islands for controlling mosquitoes by denying them access to their favorite blood sources.

The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is a bad bug. It’s a small, black mosquito with white stripes. It bites in the daytime. It’s common in Hawaii, and it spreads dengue fever, as well as chikungunya, Zika and yellow fever.

In the main Hawaiian Islands, we have eight species of mosquitoes, six of which bite humans. Most of those also carry diseases.

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