Swiss scientists release 10.000 sterile mosquitos into Ticino to slow infestation
To combat an infestation of disease-carrying Tiger mosquitos, a Swiss researcher has released 10.000 sterile mosquitos in Canton Ticino in an attempt to reduce their overall population. The method is already used by other countries in Europe with great success.
Tiger mosquitos spread to Swiss cantons and cities
According to 20 minuten, Ticino biologist Eleonora Flacio has “declared war” on the Asian Tiger mosquito. The invasive species has already made its home in a large number of Swiss cities and cantons, with officials in Swiss healthcare worried that, alongside being able to suck people’s blood, Tiger mosquitos are able to more effectively carry and transmit diseases like Dengue fever.
To combat the spread of the species, and with the approval of the Swiss government, Flacio has released 10.000 male mosquitoes in the town of Morcote, Canton Ticino - the difference being that these mosquitoes have been irradiated, meaning they cannot fertilise the female during mating.
Sterile mosquitos already used to reduce population numbers in Spain
It is hoped that the introduction of sterile mosquitos into the ecosystem will reduce the birth rate of new fertile mosquitoes. If the pilot scheme goes well, Flacio hopes to introduce 10.000 sterile mosquitoes a week between May and September in 2023.
The technology is already in regular use in Spain, and many cantons - including Basel-Stadt - have announced that they will be running similar experiments in the future. Authorities say the experiment in Ticino will allow them to analyse whether the technology will work in the Swiss climate and whether the scheme's 200.000 Swiss franc price tag is worth the money.