The 1 million mosquitoes maybe for joint research on mosquito control
What do a million mosquitoes look like? The Lee County Mosquito Control District (LCMCD) in Florida, USA provided a glimpse into that sight when it released a picture of the 1 million mosquitoes it caught over the summer of 2021.
LCMDC staff with the 1 million mosquitoes (Credit: @LeeCoMosquito)
“Ever wonder what 1 million mosquitoes looks like??”, read the caption on the pictures shared on Twitter. “Check out the results of an LCMCD trapping project that took place in one section of one neighborhood on Sanibel Island over the summer of 2021. #FighttheBite”
Deputy director at Lee County Mosquito Control, Erik Jackson told WINK that people often call in to complain about a million mosquitoes in their environment, so they thought “people really need to see what a million mosquitoes looks like people.”
The unusual images of the mosquitoes were shared on social media in February. One image showed a mound of mosquitoes on a table between LCMCD staff, while another showed the mosquitoes in an orange bucket filled to the brim.
According to the report, the 1 million mosquitoes are for more than just a spectacle. The mosquitoes are collected as part of joint research with the US Department of Agriculture to see if they could be useful for better mosquito control methods than trapping.
The revelations came nearly a year after a US biotech company, Oxitec, released genetically modified mosquitoes into the open air in Florida, in a field trial to test methods for reducing the population of wild Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
The Ae. aegypti mosquitoes are vectors for viral diseases such as chikungunya, dengue, Zika, and yellow fever. They can be modified to control other Ae. mosquitoes and prevent outbreaks of Ae. borne diseases.
Oxitec released the mosquitoes in April 2021 despite massive push backs from the public.
Researchers from the company had placed boxes of mosquito eggs across the six locations across Florida Keys, with the expectation that about 20 million mosquitoes will result over four months.
It is unclear what the fates of the 1 million mosquitoes are, but Mr. Jackson says they hold a promise.
“You look at this and think it’s promising, but we’ll see.”