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Drones will soon release swarms of sterile male mosquitoes to 'fight' Zika and malaria

Published: November 29, 2017
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Source: IB Times

Drones will soon be used in the battle against malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases like Zika. In an experiment to try and crowd out mosquito populations by using sterile male insects that cannot reproduce, researchers are hoping to bring down their reproduction in Latin America.

Large swarms of mosquitoes can be dropped from drones, strategically crowding out the other males. When female mosquitoes mate with them, they will not reproduce, eventually bringing down their population, in the process reducing diseases that they spread, the BBC reports.

Mosquitoes, however, do not always live in easily accessible spots, so specialised drones can be used. The drones will be developed by WeRobotics and the experiment will be conducted in 2018.

"Mosquitoes carry many diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and Zika virus. It makes them one of the biggest animal killers worldwide," Adam Klaptocz, WeRobotics co-founder, told the BBC.

While there are a number of methods like insecticides and pesticides that can be used to cull mosquitoes, they have major downsides. They are not environmentally friendly and have to be sprayed constantly to keep mosquito populations down.

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