MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Officials have released bacteria-infected mosquitoes near Key West, testing a new way to kill the insects that carry Zika and other viruses.
The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District released 20,000 male mosquitoes bred by the Kentucky-based company MosquitoMate and infected with naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria.
The offspring produced when the lab-bred mosquitoes mate with wild female mosquitoes don't survive to adulthood. Male mosquitoes don't bite, and Wolbachia is not harmful to humans.
The infected mosquitoes were flown in cardboard tubes to Key West on Tuesday morning. At the test site, district staff released the mosquitoes by shaking or blowing into the tubes.
Mosquito Control District Executive Director Andrea Leal said is exploring new ways to suppress Aedes aegypti mosquito populations because conventional methods are costly and labor-intensive.