Lab-bred mosquitoes to fly near Miami to help combat Zika

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MIAMI — Thousands of bacteria-infected mosquitoes will be flying near Miami to test a new way to suppress insect populations that carry Zika and other viruses.

According to a statement from the Kentucky-based company MosquitoMate, the first mosquitoes will be released in the city of South Miami. The test is in collaboration with the Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control and Habitat Management Division.

MosquitoMate infects male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with the naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria. Any offspring produced when the lab-bred mosquitoes mate with wild female mosquitoes won’t survive to adulthood.

Male mosquitoes don’t bite, and Wolbachia isn’t harmful to humans.

A similar trial began near Key West last spring. Hurricane Irma’s landfall in the Florida Keys interrupted the final weeks of monitoring for that trial. The results are still pending.

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