They need much less water to grow eggs, Attack the lower body of humans quickly in short bursts so they’re harder to swat, and can transfer all the dangerous diseases mosquitoes are known for.
Very scary and very solvable before it gets out of hand.
What is the latest-and-greatest mosquito extermination tech?
What I really want to mature is the photonic fence but that’s been slow going: https://photonicsentry.com/
It exhibits some very desirable attributes. It's incredibly selective, targeting only one species. It is also self-limiting, there is no feedback loop that could run out of control and there are no chemicals that could accumulate in the environment.
For a while the cost of breeding the males was prohibitive but some recent innovation has dropped the cost tremendously.
The Centre for Effective Altruism looks at ranking charities on effectiveness, and the Against Malaria Foundation always ranks very highly.
The true problem is that back when it was first invented, it wasn't practical. They are still improving it and trying to get it field tested.
Still though, lasers take a fair bit of power, and there is a distinct lack of power in places where mosquitoes are the thickest.
Also people get a bit touchy about "AI controlled lasers" in populated areas, even if the laser is low power.
The fact that they are still trying to improve it despite the lack of a huge economic incentive is a good thing IMHO.
The key word is not and, but or. “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling”
I bought a UV bug zapper without realising that mosquitos are apparently not attracted to UV. I later learned that they are attracted to CO2, but discussion of CO2 traps on the web imply that they also work very poorly.
Is there anything that can be usefully done?
This was the result of hours/days of research.
I have seriously considered building a lanai or screen porch because in recent years the mosquitoes render my yard unusable for the duration of the season I want to use it.
This year the torture is very minimal. The trap seems to be incredibly effective, when the co2 tank runs out, I starting getting lots of bites.
It’s not cheap but I think it is far and away the most evidence based option for a homeowner.
Essentially mechanical pest control.
Would you please share the details of your idea?
The purging is a difficult part to get right. You need to be absolutely sure no larvae or eggs survive it.
Also if you purge the water regularly it will be less brackish, so less attractive to many species for egg laying. I include decomposing plant matter in my traps in the hopes it makes it more attractive.
I would say definitely check out the biogents passive trap design, it has some clever ideas in a very very simple design.
My personal preference this year was to walk around like an idiot swatting at mosquitoes with an electric flyswatter in shady grass areas. Though this is painstaking & I keep thinking I need a bigger flyswatter.
I wear a bug shirt as an effective alternative to bug spray.
Some DIY trap/attractant research and ideas:
https://www.bg-sentinel.com/ (see design of device)
-yeast (do not stir), brown sugar, filtered water
-common trap design uses 2L bottle cut near top with top inverted and placed into lower section. mosquitoes fly into funnel-like area and lay eggs. important: opaque cover to block light, black supposedly attracts mosquitoes.
-things to experiment with:
-5 gal bucket design: inverted funnel, insect screen lid, fan to disperse attractant
-other attractants: used clothing / shoes (soles) / octinol lures
-soap to reduce surface tension to drown mosquitoes
-some say bread works instead of yeast
-other types of sugar
-baking soda / citric acid or vinegar CO2 source (quick reaction, need to slow down)
-mason jar (hydroponic) net pot - line with screen and make hole in bottom
-fungus / mushroom CO2 sources
-bt dunks in areas with standing water
-3d print container/components
-build bat house (benefit: guano for compost)
The terrible downside is that it is ridiculously toxic to marine life. Use with care and forethought.
My flat doesn't have mesh screens and I would much rather open a window than turn the AC on at night, but I then get lots of mosquitos.
Get mesh screens! I never understood why they're non-existen in Europe (and probably other places). Or a mosquito net over the bed?
After a couple of weeks of this, I redeveloped my resistance to them and no longer even notice them anymore.
Of course this doesn't apply if there's an ongoing mosquito-borne epidemic in your area, but that doesn't happen often. When they're not carrying a disease (which is most of the time), they're pretty harmless.
I'm not sure about the co2 traps - you may just be attracting mosquitos from nearby, where only some of them go into the trap and the others find different targets.
The co2 system might work well if you can have it on your property but 50'+ away from where humans hang out.
So basically make your place a bit less desirable than your neighbor's backyard.
Reminds me of this joke:
You don’t have to run faster than the bear to get away. You just have to run faster than the guy next to you.
Has anyone else done this and noticed any difference in mozzie numbers? I live in Brisbane Australia.
We had a large number of mosquitoes hanging around our back screen door (which opens into a yard, under a covered concrete area).
We had a gardener trim the trees extensively along our back fence for unrelated reasons. We took a couple of metres from the top and branches from the side. The mosquito problem went away overnight. The level of shade/cooling near the door didn't change appreciably, so I assume they were just living in the lush trees and once that went away so did they.
One thing I was looking into before that was bat boxes, since they eat mosquitoes.
The mosquito is a parasite, not a predator.
When the author of the book mislabels the ecological niche occupied by the mosquito in the title of his book it gives little confidence in his rigour or level of insight.
> A micropredator attacks more than one host, reducing each host's fitness at least a small amount, and is only in contact with any one host intermittently. This makes them suitable as vectors as they can pass smaller parasites from one host to another. Most micropredators are hematophagic, feeding on blood. They include annelids such as leeches, crustaceans such as branchiurans and gnathiid isopods, various dipterans such as mosquitoes and tsetse flies, other arthropods such as fleas and ticks, vertebrates such as lampreys, and mammals such as vampire bats.
> A mosquito is a biological parasite, it is not a medical parasite.
Plus, it's a figure of speech talking about the fact that they kill a lot of us humans.
And the author doesn't use this much more restricted term. He didn't title his book A Human History of Our Deadliest Micropredator. Because he's going for sensationalism, as is more fully demonstrated in quotes from the book given later in the article:
> In total, Winegard estimates that mosquitoes have killed more people than any other single cause—fifty-two billion of us, nearly half of all humans who have ever lived. He calls them “our apex predator,” “the destroyer of worlds,” and “the ultimate agent of historical change.”
To your own assertion that mosquitoes kill a lot of humans - they only do so indirectly as a vector for disease. This is a very important distinction - if we are going to eradicate anything it would be better to eradicate the microbial killer parasites they carry, such as Plasmodium falciparum, not the carriers themselves (which are an important food source for many actual predators).
There are only a few mosquito species that can carry the malaria parasite. If we exterminate them, they will/can be replaced by other, hard to distinguish mosquito species.
We now have the technology to do that, but aren't (yet) doing it, even though it kills over a million people a year.
It doesn't actually. It kills around 400,000 a year, mostly because of poor medical infrastructure. That's roughly the same amount of death than the flue (a little more in average), and it kills really little people who have access to modern medicine.
For a strange reason I don't get, Malaria is way more “popular” in the western world than other diseases like tuberculosis which cause much more deaths each year (4 times more deaths, less than a tenth of the media coverage).
Also "An estimated 300-600 million people suffer from malaria each year."
I'd speculate that malaria seems more fixable than TB.
About our ability to fix the issue: I agree with you, and that's why I really don't like the idea of something as extreme as eradication of a whole specie with gene drive for something that's mainly an infrastructure/underdevelopment issue in Africa.
Unless you're concerned with the survival of the parasite itself?
I'm confused by infrastructure/underdevelopment argument. Malaria wasn't eradicated in the rich world through health care. We mass slaughtered our mosquitos until the problem was gone.
Gene drive is an incredibly powerful tool and we don't know what could go wrong if we tried to use it to wipe-out a specific species.
Actually, the «Species» concept is a scientific model, but we know it's simplistic: inside a given species, not all the individuals have the same genes (I'm not talking about alleles here) and we know that some distinct species can mate together and have fertile offspring , so we can't know for sure that the gene drive won't affect other species as well. It could even wipe out the entire family of mosquitoes.
Using this kind of untested nuclear tool to fight a not-so-big issue that have been successfully fought everywhere but in Africa is not a responsible move, that's my point.
> Malaria wasn't eradicated in the rich world through health care. We mass slaughtered our mosquitos until the problem was gone.
Anopheles Atroparvus (Western Europe), Anopheles Messae (North-eastern Europe), Anopheles Quadrimaculatus (Eastern-US), and Anopheles Freeborni (West coast) are still here, but you don't have malaria there anymore. We killed a lot of mosquitoes to get rid of malaria, but we didn't have to kill them all to eradicate the epidemics.
The thing is: malaria doesn't come from the mosquitoes only. To get a malaria epidemics, you need a pool of sick people the mosquitoes bite and get infected. Once you fixed the epidemics, the mosquitoes aren't an issue anymore.
To me that's a huge humanitarian disaster, and you do whatever it takes to save those lives.
> Gene drive is an incredibly powerful tool and we don't know what could go wrong if we tried to use it to wipe-out a specific species.
1. We've wiped out thousands of species before. We know pretty well what happens.
2. You start by wiping it out in a few areas, and learn what happens before you move on to do it everywhere.
I don't think you understand what gene drive is. It's exactly like building a virus to destroy the target (and hopefully only the target) species, except it's more like a computer virus: it's some pathology that spreads through the genotype of the target population until the population in question goes extinct. If it unfortunately jumps from one species to another related species, it can have a disastrous effect on a scale that's hard to imagine.
> To me that's a huge humanitarian disaster, and you do whatever it takes to save those lives.
Philip Morris alone kills more people than this, shouldn't we do whatever it takes to save those people too? Is burning Mc Donalds moral because obesity kills millions of people? How about a nation-scale spoliation of all diesel car owners, because these also kills more than Malaria?
“Whatever it takes” doesn't make any sense, you have to weight the cost versus benefits of the actions, and in the case of gene drive, the cost is totally unknown and could be a total disaster.
1- The malaria issue is depicted as bigger than it is nowadays, as if the western world has some kind of weird fetish about it.
2- Maybe using world-changing genetic engineering is not really worth it, as we already made huge progress toward the solution without using such a extreme solution.
Gene drive enthusiasts say: “this is a dramatic issue which need extreme bio-engineering to solve it because we have no other solutions”.
Whereas in reality, it's a concerning health issue (but much less concerning at a global scale than cigarettes or mere junk food) that's almost fixed worldwide with conventional means (health infrastructures, local mosquitoes elimination, bug nets, and there's even a pilot program for a vaccine with promising results) and would have been solved if Africa wasn't in such a poor shape in term of development.
For the record, the whole western Europe is infested with Anopheles Atroparvus which is a vector for malaria (and have been a source of many malaria epidemics in Europe in the past) yet there is no more malaria there nowadays, and in some places with high levels of water pollution it has even been considered an endangered specie and is slowly recovering.
They eat nectar, so something else would have to take their place in pollinisation (probably no problem).
Increased population of mosquito prey - livestock, humans.
Overall, sounds like a risk worth taking.
If so, in the bin they go.
People do a lot to solve annoying.
Here's Winnipeg Canada's Nuisance Mosquito Fogging Program:
The general way meddling in ecologies goes is that humans remove or add something and the entire ecology becomes grossly distorted. (Eg. Driving Sea Otters to near extinction creates a bloom of Sea Urchins, which devastate ocean habitat of so many other species etc etc)
Many mosquitoes do not suck blood; they eat plant products and / or suck plant juices. They could take over the ecological niche of the blood-sucking varieties, and can even be cultivated a little bit to support the local mosquito-eating populations of birds, bats, dragonflies, etc.
Of course, Earth in the end will be fine (it will reach some other equilibrium), but tons of us might be wiped out in the process.
If they are creatures that live all around the environment and play into special roles, then no. E.g. http://sos-bees.org/situation/
The costs are so low that even a developing country could afford to do it, at a cost way lower than mosquito control by other methods.
Sure there are unknown consequences, but that probably won't stop them if their fellow countrymen are dying.
Another approach is to try to genetically engineer mosquitoes resistant to infection and have them replace the unmodified carrier versions, but that's essentially just a variant of the idea to eradicate the carrier-type mosquitoes: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/enginee...
What if we figured out how to repurpose mosquitos to deliver useful viruses instead of harmful ones? Just think about it: no more scheduling appointments for vaccines or flu shots, simply wait outside for 20 minutes in the summer, and before you know it you’re immunized against malaria, measles, etc.
Not being a biologist, I have no idea if this is a plausible scenario, but I hope that somebody investigates it! It might be a very cost-effective and democratic method of delivering care.
At the very least it’d make for a good black mirror episode :)
Yeah, what could go wrong with this? It's not like those "useful viruses" could ever evolve out in the wild to something more threatening!
But to be clear, some vaccines are "useful viruses" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attenuated_vaccine
Also gene therapy often uses viruses as a vector for delivery: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/therapy/procedures
So, it's not too crazy an idea.
TL;DR: By spraying DDT everywhere, and coercing troops to take Atabrine (that often had nasty side effects), they reduced malaria incidence by about 70%. The Japanese, by contrast had little protection - nearly all Japanese soldiers had malaria at some time.
One of the huge advantages of DDT over later pesticides is that it stopped them from biting, the other ones keep them biting until they're dead.
I'm of the mindset that DDT should have remained legal as a residential application to the house (screens, nets, walls). The quantities applied here were much smaller than for agricultural use, and there has never been a study that convincingly showed harm to mammals. (Even the bird egg shell thinning theory was tenuous at best, TEL in leaded fuel could have had the same effect in the targeted time period)
The international anti-DDT treaty allows countries to take this route, and as a result DDT is still legal for residential use in some countries where malaria is endemic. The US opted for a total ban, though.
I can easily protect myself against mosquitoes. It is much - much! - harder to get rid of bed bugs. The last time I had only one or two and it was a nightmare. I spare you the details, there are plenty of anecdotes out there. The net did not help at all. I was lucky to notice that one night when I accidentally had the blanket reversed - the part wehre the feet were, usually, was where my head was for that one night - I got bitten on the upper part of my body instead of the lower one. I immediately put the entire blanket including sheets into a plastic bag and threw it away. I had actually examined the sheet as well as the blanket very carefully and had found nothing. No idea where exactly those tiny critters were hiding, but afterwards I had no more bites. Seriously, with bed bugs you have to take extreme measures. In comparison, all you need against mosquitoes is a net! I learned to like mosquitoes now, given that nightmarish alternative experience with bed bugs. Mosquito bites are much more "friendly" and easier to live with too!
The strategy then is divide and conquer. Choose one room and seal it off with masking tape and then steam every little crevice you can find. Keep that room sealed and sleep in there. Once you're not getting bitten you know that room is fine. Then move on to the next room. Rinse and repeat.
Some older homes have just too many cracks and crevices for this process to work. There are companies that will enclose an entire house in a big plastic bag and then heat up the entire thing to be rid of bed bugs. In any case heat and steam is the best weapon. I believe 50C for 24 hours is effective. Any kind of chemical attack would be hit and miss at best.
But bedbugs -- I don't think that fog works on them. A friend of mine had to throw out a brand new bed couch to get rid of them. They really suck.
Yeah, no. Bed bugs don't kill you. Mosquitoes do.
Even though it's built on a swamp, pouring concrete all over it helps a lot.
Some cities in Canada do the same. As do some Caribbean resorts.
I have no idea what all the tvtropes links are doing in this comment. Some weird kind of spam maybe?
Some believe the CO2 traps are just used as a guide for when they need to spray/fog, which makes sense.
They got rid of the mosquitoes using pretty standard methods - insecticides, CO2 traps, population monitoring... Chickens as disease-canaries (if they get a disease, focus on eliminating mosquitoes in that area)
Has it worked? Prob not, but I feel like I’m doing something new at least.