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Wolbachia Mosquito Release

In January 2018, the Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control & Habitat Management Division, in collaboration with MosquitoMate, Inc., introduced the Wolbachia Innovative Mosquito Control Program, to test the effectiveness of a new method in the reduction of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Wolbachia is a naturally-occurring bacterium present in up to 60 percent of all the different species of insects around us, including some mosquitoes. It is not infectious and cannot be transmitted to warm-blooded animals or humans. MosquitoMate male mosquitoes are not genetically modified and do not harm the environment. The male mosquitoes that were used in the project were reviewed and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Wolbachia Innovative Mosquito Control Program
The program designated a one-half-square-mile treatment area and a similarly-sized control area within the City of South Miami. The mosquito population was first monitored using standard mosquito surveillance equipment (BG-Sentinel Traps and ovitraps). Next MosquitoMate released non-biting male mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia into the treatment area every week for several months. Male mosquitoes cannot bite and because they do not bite or blood feed, male mosquitoes are incapable of transmitting diseases. The released male mosquitoes mate with the female mosquitoes and the resulting eggs do not hatch, which can reduce the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that can transmit mosquito-borne viruses. Surveys of the baseline Aedes aegypti populations were taken before and after weekly or twice-weekly treatments.

Results from the Wolbachia Innovative Mosquito Control Program
The results released in May 2019 show the program was a success with a 75 percent reduction in the overall population of mosquitoes, due to the resultant egg hatch failure. Read the full press release.

MosquitoMate has completed successful trials in Kentucky, California, and New York. Trials have shown significant reduction in the female Aedes aegypti mosquito population. The released male mosquitoes only mate with the females of the same species (Aedes aegypti) so there is no effect on other mosquito species.