Many of you may have seen some of the news articles about West Nile virus in Dallas, TX. Although the virus is not prevalent in every state, I thought it might be worth sharing part of an article from the NC Pest News from Dr. Mike Waldvogel about ways you can minimize mosquitoes around your yard. Some of the information later in the article (particularly the contact information for NC Department of Agriculture) may not be relevant, but you can probably get the same information from your state’s department of agriculture.
In the November 2011 issue of Scientific American, two scientists discuss the pros and cons of using genetically modified mosquitoes to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses. In the article, biologist Mark Q. Benedict and Helen Wallace, the director of GeneWatch UK, illuminate the issues surrounding the release of genetically modified insects into the wild.
Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Could Be an Important Tool in the Fight against Disease
By Mark Q. Benedict
Current technologies we use against mosquitoes simply are not adequate: existing measures are losing the war. The choice of implementing GM mosquitoes is not a choice of no risk versus risk, it is a matter of choosing the least risky among all existing choices in a war against very real continuing disease risk. Read more.
The Danger of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes
By Helen Wallace
The release of genetically modified (GM) insects should follow a precautionary approach, because what appears well understood in the lab can have unintended consequences when released on a large scale into the environment. On release, GM mosquitoes become part of a complex system involving predators and prey, other mosquito species, four types of dengue virus, other tropical diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, and the humans—including children—who are being bitten and infected. Read more.
For those of us who have ever visited a country where the risk of dengue fever was fairly high, the news on National Public Radio a few weeks ago was good news indeed. A group of scientists have discovered a virus that will render a mosquito incapable of transmitting dengue fever. After several years of testing, scientist Scott O’Neill of Monash University is planning to release the virus—which is typically carried by fruit flies—in several countries where dengue fever is prevalent.
Filed under: Insects | Tagged: biocontrol, biocontrol agents, biological control, dengue fever, Monash University, mosquito control, mosquitoes, National Public Radio, Scott O'Neill | Leave a Comment »
Ah, summer! Vacations have started, pools are already crowded and the mosquitoes are biting. The intense heat that has plagued the east coast seems to have made this year’s mosquitoes more plentiful and vicious. For anyone who wants to know how to reduce the number of mosquitoes in his or her yard (although it’s virtually impossible), the Web has hundreds of suggestions on mosquitoes control. If you’re in the South, go to the list at the bottom of the page to find a fact sheet on mosquitoes for your state.
Bats have had a long-standing reputation as villainous, equated with vampires and fingered for rabies. But, as an article in the Raleigh city newspaper explains, bats have a place in pest management.