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Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes Resist Insecticide


Researchers have found that two breeds of mosquitoes common in Florida have become resistant to pyrethroids,a class of insecticide commonly used against them.

Dr. Keira Lucas, Director of Research for the participated in published studies showing the resistance.

“We have over 40 kinds of mosquitoes here in Collier County. The only two that we have identified resistance in is aedes aegypti and culex quinquefasciatus. The problem is that they are the disease vectors,” Lucas said.

The aedes aegypti mosquito is known to transmit such diseases as dengue fever and Zika while culex quinquefasciatus transmits West Nile virus, among others.

Losing a previously dependable weapon against these transmitters of disease is worrying. But having come up against this for two types of mosquito now, mosquito control experts are ready with alternatives.

“Pyrethroids aren’t going to work with this mosquito; we are going to have to use a larvicide to target the juvenile form of this mosquito, or a different type of adulticide. Which would be an organophosphate,” said Lucas.

With an outbreak of dengue fever currently ongoing in the Keys and West Nile reported this week in Lee and Collier counties, experts will stay vigilant.

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Cary Barbor is the local host of All Things Considered and a reporter for WGCU. She was a producer for Martha Stewart Radio on Sirius XM, where she hosted a live interview show with authors of new books called Books and Authors. She was a producer for The Leonard Lopate Show, a live, daily show that covered arts, culture, politics, and food on New York City’s public radio station WNYC. She also worked as a producer on Studio 360, a weekly culture magazine; and The Sunday Long Read, a show that features in-depth conversations with journalists and other writers. She has filed stories for The Pulse and Here & Now. In addition to radio, she has a career writing for magazines, including Salon, Teen Vogue, New York, Health, and More. She has published short stories and personal essays and is always working on a novel. She was a Knight Journalism Fellow, where she studied health reporting at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and followed epidemiologists around Kenya and Alaska. She has a B.A. in English from Lafayette College and an M.A. in Literature from the University of Massachusetts.