Mosquitoes are often looked at as unwelcome part of subtropical living, but scientists in Florida say they have found a way to use the insects to help protect people from deadly disease.
The Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control and Habitat Management Division is releasing millions of mosquitoes infected with a bacteria that will curb the insect’s population.
The lab-bred males are infected with Wolbachia, bacteria officials said is not harmful to humans.
The bacteria will prevent any mosquitoes produced when the non-biting males mate with wild females from surviving to adulthood, authorities said.
“Those matings when they take place, none of the progeny survive,” Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control Director William Petrie told WPLG-TV.
Preventing the offspring from surviving will help drive down the population of mosquitoes that can spread Zika, dengue fever and chikungunya fever, authorities said.
Scientists expect to have released two-thirds of a billion male mosquitoes by July.