Why Can’t We Just Kill All Mosquitoes?

Despite the fact that mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on the planet, there’s no easy way to eliminate them from the planet. Mosquitoes carry dozens of diseases, including malaria, yellow fever, dengue and Zika. These diseases kill millions of people each year, with nearly half of the global population affected.

Mosquitoes are a major source of food for insects, which makes them an important part of ecosystems. But they also affect predators and pollinators, as well as plant life.

Mosquitoes have been around for about 100 million years. They have evolved resistance to pesticides, making them a problem in many countries. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the main vector for yellow fever and Zika.

Mosquitoes are also responsible for spreading the mosquito-borne West Nile virus. While there is no known way to eradicate them, there are some measures being taken to reduce their population. One of these measures involves genetically engineering Aedes aegypti and other mosquitoes to make them incapable of transmitting malaria.

While genetically engineering mosquitoes might seem like the answer, it’s not as simple as it seems. The process is costly, and there are unknown consequences to the changes made.

Another option would be to replace Aedes aegypti with a different species. The Culex pipiens species complex is known to thrive when Aedes is absent. This could be achieved by breeding mosquitoes with the same traits as the Culex, but not carrying the virus.

Austin Burt, a professor at Imperial College, is developing mosquitoes that are designed to kill until there are no females left. The process could eliminate the entire species of mosquito, but there’s no way to know if it’s the right move.