tiger-mosquito-49141_1280British biotech firm, Oxitec, has developed a technique for genetically modifying batches of male mosquitoes to cause the young of females they mate with to produce infertile offspring. The whole point is to reduce mosquito populations in areas where the modified mosquitoes are released. The problem is that the company has asked the FDA to allow for testing the modified mosquitoes in an area near where people live. If the experiment is approved, Oxitec plans to release millions of the mosquitoes in a part of Key West close to residential areas. They claim the mosquitoes pose no threat to humans or other wildlife, and they apparently said it with a straight face; after all, what could possibly go wrong? Perhaps someone should mention Murphy’s Law? If you’d like more information about this idea, contact Apex Pest Control—our pest control experts in Orlando, Tampa & Brevard County can give you the facts.

At any rate, the reasoning behind the test appears rational. As we move into a warming future, Florida appears to be in the headlights of some nasty diseases: chikungunya anyone? Why not figure out a way to reduce mosquitoes so that we can reduce the number of people infected with the diseases they carry? Oxitec has been in the business of creating genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for over a decade and promises that thus far, no one has been harmed by their efforts. The mosquitoes in this latest effort have DNA fragments of genes taken from other organisms such as the herpes simplex virus, E. coli, cabbage and coral. When the modified male mosquitoes breed with unmodified females in the wild, the synthetic DNA causes the eggs they lay to hatch into young that are impaired with a larvae-killing protein called tTAV. That means they will never be able to reproduce, thus there should be fewer mosquitoes. Oxitec claims the whole thing works. In other places, which were not near population centers, they saw decreases of up to 90 percent of mosquito populations.

For a more realistic and proven approach to solving mosquito and other pest problems, such as applying treatments that repel or kill bugs, both inside and out, contact the professionals at Apex Pest Control—our pest control professionals in Orlando, Tampa and Brevard County can take care of your bug problems without causing you to worry about what it might do to you, your neighbors, or mankind in general.