Posts Tagged Mosquitoes in the news
For such small little things that easily are squash-able, mosquitoes are strong. They have managed to outlive the dinosaurs and come back year after year at full force. Unlike humans, mosquitoes seem to have evolved very little over the millions of years that they’ve been annoying their prey. New fossils from Montana support that theory.
Dale Greenwalt and his team have been discovering and studying fossils found in northeastern Montana for years. They’ve unearthed approximately 20,000 insect fossils, including two new species of mosquitoes recently. The fossils were found in Eocene, or shale, deposits and are believed to be forty six million years old. To the average person, they look just like the bugs Mosquito Squad protects against today. “we can find morphological differences that distinguish specific species,” says Greenwalt, “but overall they are extremely similar.” Source.
The mosquito fossils are very well preserved. While many insect fossils are preserved in amber, these were embedded in rock. Looking at the pictures, seen here, it is just like looking at the common backyard mosquito. Scientists were able to study everything, including wing veins and organs go discern the new species: Culiseta kishenehn and Culiseta lemniscata. They explain that Montana’s subtropical or tropical climate forty six million years ago helped to preserve and protect the quality of the fossils.
We at mosquito squad are always interested in learning more about the bugs we help to fight, but our question is, could these buggers withstand Dread Skeeter and his mosquito control barrier spray?
We don’t think so.
Key West, the most southern tip of the continental U.S., is one step closer to experimenting with genetically modified mosquitoes to reduce the risk of dengue fever. And some residents and tourists don’t like it.
Dengue fever is a disease transmitted by the mosquito specie Aedes aegypti and is more common in tropical locations. Victims of the disease, also known as breakbone fever, display symptoms such as fever, headache, rashes and severe muscle and joint pain. It was thought to be eradicated in the Keys until 93 new cases emerged in 2009 and 2010 (source).
As a result of the influx of new dengue cases, mosquito control officials along with Oxitec, a British company, have filed a trial with the FDA to hopefully help with the problem. In the experiment, genetically modified male Aedes aegypti would be released in Key West to mate with females. The resulting eggs, however, would be unable to reach maturity due to a birth defect the male would pass on. They hope that after a few generations the mosquito specie would die off and eradicate the risk of dengue fever.
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have not only caused illness in Key West, but they are also a huge cost. They are a strong mosquito specie that is harder to kill with pesticides. Instead, Key West inspectors go door-to-door getting rid of standing water where they are known to breed. This process is both time-consuming and expensive, costing the district $1 million a year. “’Unfortunately, control of Aedes aegypti is a never-ending job,’ said Larry Hriber, the mosquito control district’s research director.” Source.
Key West residents and tourists alike are against the use of genetically modified mosquitoes. They worry that there hasn’t been enough background research done and that the modified material may somehow be passed on to humans or the ecosystem. One local real estate agent, Mila de Mier, posted a petition on change.org to fight the test and has received more than 115,000 signatures. “We are dependent here on our tourists, and people from all over the country have been sending the message,” says de Mier (source).
It may be years before the FDA rules on the whether or not Key West will be able to deploy the mosquito control test. At Mosquito Squad, we use effective mosquito control solutions to protect our clients against the annoyance of mosquitoes and the dangerous diseases they may carry. If you have questions about how to protect your property, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.
Recently, a series of most unfortunate natural disasters have plagued the central and southern United States. From the flooding of the Mississippi across several states, to the devastating tornadoes that raged across the Midwest and the south. These natural disasters leave many without homes along with severe economic losses, and in the worst cases without their loved ones.
In many counties across this great land of ours, hope is at an all time low. Researchers predict the trickle down effect from these great disasters will spawn a vast population of mosquitoes. From the receding flood waters, areas with standing water will stagnate and become a breeding ground for the mosquitoes.
Many officials throughout the areas beaten and battered by the recent tornadoes have already began spraying the storm debris for mosquitoes and other bugs. Mosquitoes throughout the devastation are breeding in the rubble and debris and also in the ditches which are holding water.
As with any natural disaster occurrence, it can get the whole ecosystem in that area out of sync, it is the whole cause and effect scenario. It is very unfortunate that these residents in these areas already plagued with lost crops, home and lives, now have to be plagued by mosquitoes and the mosquito-borne illness and disease they harbor. In many counties officials are making every effort to ensure this doesn’t happen. It will take time to recover from these horrible events, but in time we will heal.