Chinese scientists have developed a new method to control the population of mosquitoes, the Science and Technology Daily reported Monday.
Scientists from the Sun Yat-Sen University have conducted a four-year field test in controlling the population of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), one of the world’s most invasive mosquito species that carries dengue, the Zika virus and many other devastating diseases.
Through microinjection and radiation, scientists sterilized male mosquitoes and released them into the environment to mate with wild female mosquitoes, resulting in no offspring and a declining population over time. They also exposed male mosquitoes to a strain of Wolbachia bacteria, which rendered the females sterile.
With this method, the mosquito population has been almost eliminated in the field test, with the annual number of wild mosquito species decreasing by about 83 to 94 percent. No mosquitoes were detected for up to six weeks.
The research was published in the journal Nature.
This successful field trial demonstrated that the technique could be used to establish a protected area free of mosquito-borne disease and mosquito harassment, the report cited Xi Zhiyong, the leading researcher as saying.