EPA Registers the Wolbachia ZAP Strain in Live Male Asian Tiger Mosquitoes

On November 3, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency registered a new mosquito biopesticide – ZAP Males® – that can reduce local populations of the type of mosquito (Aedes albopictus, or Asian Tiger Mosquitoes) that can spread numerous diseases of significant human health concern, including the Zika virus.

ZAP Males® are live male mosquitoes that are infected with the ZAP strain, a particular strain of the Wolbachia bacterium. Infected males mate with females, which then produce offspring that do not survive. (Male mosquitoes do not bite people.) With continued releases of the ZAP Males®, local Aedes albopictus populations decrease. Wolbachia are naturally occurring bacteria commonly found in most insect species. Continue reading

EPA Requests Comment on the Proposed Registration of New Biopesticide to Help Control Spread of Zika and Other Viruses

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to register ZAP Males®, a new microbial biopesticide that reduces local populations of Aedes albopictus (Asian Tiger) mosquitoes, which have the ability to spread numerous diseases of significant human health concern, including the Zika virus.

The registration would allow MosquitoMate, Inc. to sell the Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes (ZAP Males®) in the District of Columbia (DC) and the following states: California (CA), Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), Illinois (IL), Indiana (IN), Kentucky (KY), Massachusetts (MA), Maine (ME), Maryland (MD), Missouri (MO), New Hampshire (NH), New Jersey (NJ), Nevada (NV), New York (NY), Ohio (OH), Pennsylvania (PA), Rhode Island (RI), Tennessee (TN), Vermont (VT), and West Virginia (WV). Male mosquitoes do not bite people.   Continue reading

Improper mosquito control on livestock can do more harm than good, expert warns

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

In an effort to save their livestock from the torment caused by the plague of mosquitoes in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, some producers are making the mistake of misusing chemicals to control the pests, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

“The results can be potentially disastrous,” said Dr. Sonja Swiger, AgriLife Extension livestock entomologist at Stephenville. “Misuse of potent chemicals can quickly become an example of ‘the cure is worse than the malady,’ not only for the animals being treated but also to the environment. Continue reading

Website offers critical mosquito, disease information post hurricane

by Gabriel Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife

Visitors to the Mosquito Safari website at http://mosquitosafari.tamu.edu will find comprehensive information on common mosquitoes, the diseases they carry and instructions for controlling the pest, said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists.

They said the information is critical in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, whose initial rains forced mosquitoes from their habitats into human areas, and whose residual standing waters have created new environments for mosquito breeding. Continue reading

Harvey brings Texas sized mosquito event

In Insects in the City blog

by Mike Merchant

Remember last week when I warned that mosquitoes would be hurricane Harvey’s final gift?  Well, mosquitoes are here as seen in this Facebook image, taken in Port Lavaca, TX this weekend.

The giant mosquitoes in this picture are probably in the genus Psorophora, (sore ROFF oh ruh) one of our largest, most painful and aggressive biters.  Psorophora mosquitoes have some impressive chops when it comes to survival.  One of the so-called floodwater mosquito species, they lay their eggs on land rather than water like most mosquitoes.  But not just on any land–eggs are laid at the edges of receding floodwaters, where they will re-hydrate and hatch during the next large rain event. Continue reading

Texas flooded with mosquitoes now that Harvey is over

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

Among the inevitable fallout stemming from the ocean of water dumped on South Texas by Hurricane Harvey will be a hoard of bloodsucking mosquitoes, but  state-level entomologists predict the first onslaught won’t be the disease vectors many fear.

“For the past several years we’ve been educating people about disease-transmitting mosquitoes, but we are about to witness a huge emergence of other kinds of mosquitoes,” said Dr. Charles Allen, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist and Texas A&M University department of entomology associate department head at San Angelo. “Due to the big rain event associated with Hurricane Harvey, in a few short days and over the next few weeks we’ll be expecting a large outbreak of what are called floodwater mosquitoes.” Continue reading

Floating fire ants, insect pests among flood hazards

by Gabriel Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife

Fire ants, as their colonies begin to flood, can join feet or tarsi to form water rafts, and they are more aggressive once in the floating formation, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists. But other insect pests can also pose human threats in flood conditions, they said.

Dr. Paul Nester, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Houston, and Dr. Mike Merchant, AgriLife Extension urban entomologist, Dallas, encourage those affected by flooding to stay prepared and aware of pests, especially when it comes to mosquitoes, floating fire ant colonies and bedbugs. Continue reading