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Keys Plan Field Trial For Bacteria-Infected Mosquitoes

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Officials plan to release lab-reared, bacteria-infected mosquitoes in the Florida Keys in March.

The Citizen reports that the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District and the privately owned, Kentucky-based company MosquitoMate are still reviewing locations for the field trial of Wolbachia-treated Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

MosquitoMate founder Stephen Dobson says the Wolbachia inhibits the mosquitoes' ability to breed. In the field trial, male mosquitoes would be released to pass on the bacteria to wild female mosquitoes during mating.

The district has been exploring new ways to suppress Aedes aegypti populations. The mosquito species lives among people in urban environments and can spread diseases such as Zika and dengue fever.

Officials also are considering locations for a separate test of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes genetically modified to produce offspring that die outside a lab.