World’s most invasive mosquito nearly eradicated from two islands in China

Researchers combined sterilization with a bacterium in an attempt to stamp out the Asian tiger mosquito.

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Sep 11, 2019

Researchers have all but obliterated populations of the world’s most invasive mosquito species — the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) — on two islands in the Chinese city of Guangzhou.

They reduced A. albopictus populations by up to 94% using a combination of two promising control techniques in a field trial for the first time. The two-pronged approach1, published in Nature on 17 July, integrates the sterilization of female Asian tiger mosquitoes with the infection of males using Wolbachia pipientis, a bacterium that hinders the insects’ ability to reproduce and transmit disease-causing viruses such as dengue and Zika.

This resulted in one of the most successful eradication trials of A. albopictus to date, says Peter Armbruster, a mosquito ecologist at Georgetown University in Washington DC, who wrote a commentary to accompany the study. Used in tandem with other control methods such as pesticides, the dual approach could be a very powerful tool, he says.

By: Giorgia Guglielmi/Nature News

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