On this Fresh Take episode we welcome Dr. Ram Balasubramanian and Dr. Stephen Forbes. Tune in to listen to our experts share about genetically modified mosquitoes scheduled to be released in Florida and Texas.
Dr. Forbes, an expert in microbiology and genetics, holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences (Immunology and Infectious diseases track), while Dr. Balasubramanian holds degrees in Crop Sciences, Agricultural Engineering, and Ecological Agriculture. Learn what is a GMO mosquito and it's potential implication for Floridians.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the agency supervising the release of GMO mosquitoes into the Florida environment. The mosquitoes to be released by a third party are to be male mosquitoes, being female mosquitoes the ones needing blood to survive.
The male GMO mosquitoes are to breed with female Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes (disease carrying mosquitoes) and produce nonviable offspring.
Ideally, the female disease carrying mosquito population will be reduced. The environmental implications are still unknown. Dr. Balasubramanian shares his concern on the development of a drug resistant "super mosquito," and also touches the lack of information available to the general public.
The panel of experts share natural and organic ways of controlling mosquito population. These tips and suggestions are non toxic and can be easily followed:
- Get rid of standing water: puddles, ponds, etc. mosquitoes need standing water to do natural life processes. Eliminate standing water and you might be able to reduce mosquito population around you.
- Coffee grounds: Dr. Balasubramanian shares how he has been using coffee grounds in his property to keep mosquitoes away.
- Citronella/ Lemongrass: widely used as a natural mosquito repellent. Want to grow and care for your own citronella? This article explains citronella basics. If your citronella needs fertilizer, we suggest an organic fertilizer as the best alternative.
- Fans/ Air movement: mosquitoes don't enjoy the breeze! regular airflow might just be the solution to decrease mosquito population in your home.
Want to learn more about Aedes Aegypti?Here is comprehensive guide by UF IFAS department of Entomology & Nematology.
If you live in an area where GMO mosquito is being released and have a certified organic production, please share that information with your certifying agency.
If you would like to learn more about regulations and official documents surrounding this topic, follow this link to Regulations.gov.
* Photograph by James Gathany, Center for Disease Control Public Health Image Library.