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What if drones could help counter an infestation of tiger mosquitoes? This, however, appears to confirm an experiment conducted near Montpellier, the results of which were published on Tuesday.
For several years, the tiger mosquito has appeared in Europe and continues to grow. While many cases have already been reported in Belgium, they have now been detected in 65 departments in France. It is one of the most widespread species, with the constant danger that in addition to biting us and causing severe itching, it can transmit all kinds of diseases to us such as dengue fever, chikungunya or even Zika …
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In an effort to stop its spread, various methods are being implemented. In particular monitor the water points where the larvae develop tirelessly and dry them as quickly as possible.
In our French neighbors, a new method seems to be paying off: sterile male drop. The first tests were carried out on the island of Reunion (see the video below), so this summer this technology was used for the first time in mainland France.
40,000 mosquitoes released
A drone specially designed for this experiment dropped a total of 40,000 sterilized mosquitoes (they don’t bite because only females do) and tagged with fluorescent powder (to distinguish them from wild mosquitoes) in the town of Prades Lilles, on the outskirts of Montpellier.
Egg traps have been installed on the floor to determine their hatching rate in the laboratory, as well as scent traps to capture thousands of mosquitoes. consequences? The scientists found that 2.5-5.4% of the mosquitoes were sterile and the egg hatching rate dropped to 83% from 95% before release.
However, these numbers are still unofficial and the operational phase has not yet begun. However, the experience remains encouraging, and could lead to and fund new studies of this kind. However, for it to have a real effect on fertilization of eggs, sterile male mosquitoes would have to be 10 times more likely than wild mosquitoes.
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