Scientists to Unleash 20 Million Mosquitoes in Fresno County

Verily is planning for the project to release one million insects per week

If you hate mosquitoes stay away from Fresno County.

Scientists with Verily are periodically releasing 20 million mosquitoes in Fresno County as part of Debug Fresno, a project to reduce the mosquito population in the area, NPR reports.

The mosquitoes being released are only sterile males, NPR reports. This will ultimately end up in a smaller population of mosquitoes in the county, as the eggs females lay after mating will not hatch.

The mosquitoes being released were made sterile by bacteria known as Wolbachia. This is found in many other insects like dragon flies and butterflies, reports the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District. Debug Fresno also highlighted that no genetic modification takes place within the insects infected with Wolbachia.

Debug Fresno has already begun unleashing their mass of mosquitoes into the area. Verily is planning for the project to run for 20 weeks total, releasing 1 million insects per week.

The hope of the organization is to cut down specifically on yellow fever mosquitoes, a breed known to spread the Zika virus. Yellow fever mosquitoes first were seen in the Central Valley in 2013 and Verily has pointed out that the population has only increased since then.

While male mosquitoes do not bite and spread disease, the release of the bugs can been tacked on to a list of other reasons not to take a summer trip to Fresno.

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