20 million mosquitoes to invade California in bug fight

Henrietta Brewer
July 17, 2017

You see, the Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito is prevalent in the area. Reared by machines, the male mosquitoes are infected with a bacteria that, while harmless to humans, creates non-hatching dead eggs when they mate with wild females - hopefully cutting the mosquito population and the transmission of the diseases they carry. Verily's Debug Project is the only plausible method to get rid of the potential threat by combating Zika-carrying mosquitos.

Verily plans to release about 1 million mosquitoes a week over a 20-week period in two 300-acre neighborhoods in the Fresno area - the largest US release to date of mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacteria.

"If we can show that this technique can work, I'm confident we can make it a sustainable business because the burden of these mosquitoes is enormous", said Verily engineering chief Linus Upson.

The invasive mosquito species first surfaced in Fresno in 2013, but no cases of the diseases mentioned have yet been reported.

Mosquitoes are infected with a natural bacteria called Wolbachia they aren't genetically modified. Aimed at reducing the global impact of the disease-carrying insect, this is the Alphabet company's first US field study. The study would be conducted by Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District, MosquitoMate, and Verily, and this video is meant to inform residents of the possible activities of this study. And Fresno residents need not worry about the 20-million male mosquitos because male mosquitos don't bite!

Biologists planning to release over a 20-week period 1 million mosquitoes a week across two 300-acre neighborhoods.

Previously known as Google Life Sciences, Verily is essentially using the male mosquitoes to fight the current harmful mosquito population. The company's bug-releasing van will start traveling the streets of Fancher Creek, a neighborhood in Fresno County, on Friday.

Other reports by iNewsToday