Wolbachia bacterium to slow spread of asian tiger mosquitoes

The Asian tiger mosquitoe has arrived a few years ago to the United States, and they’re now spreading.
The female asian tiger mosquitoe needs blood to support egg-bearing (males do no byte).
A University of Kentucky found that asian tiger mosquitoes were responsible for 90 to 95 % of bites on Lexington test subjects during summer 2013.
Scientists are thus working on a method to stop the spread of these mosquitoes, which are now in every Kentucky county and are flying west — toward California — and north — toward New York and New Jersey. This technology is developed at UK, but licensed to the Kentucky company MosquitoMate.

The idea is to use the bacterium Wolbachia. Releasing males with a different strain of this bacterium from that in the females in a targeted area results in males mating with females and producing nothing. The eggs don’t develop.
The release of the Wolbachia-bearing male mosquitoes puts a substantial dent in the biting Asian mosquito population. A mosquito tends to stay in a fairly small area during its life, usually less than 150-200 meters.

In 2014, the UK researchers will begin studies with the new-strain Wolbachia mosquitoes in neighborhoods around the university.

[source : kentucky.com]

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