The Bright Side

Along with the summer season comes the pesky mosquito season.
With air conditioning giving relief from the humidity and high temperatures, the mosquito has moved into first place, overtaking humidity and heat to become the undisputed, and the most annoying part of summer. During some summers the mosquito population is low and in others it is high. It all depends on the weather. This year, despite all the rain, it looks like it will be a good year for humanity and not for the mosquitoes. The mild cooler days, following a day or two of warmer weather, lengthens the time the mosquitoes are in the larva stage (“wriggler” in the water) when they can be eaten by birds, fish, beetles and other insects. This reduces the number of larvae that survive to become mosquitoes. This summer should be another low mosquito summer for Lake Geneva, like last year.

On a scale of one to ten Lake Geneva mosquito rating is currently very low and not a concern (with a rating of one). On a separate mosquito issue, science has finally found a way to selectively eliminate the type of mosquitoes (Aedes Aegypti) that carries several viruses including yellow fever and Zika.  A British biotech company, called Oxitec, has received the Environmental Protection Agency approval for an experimental use permit for the release of genetically modified mosquitoes for the Florida Keys and Harris County, Texas. The genetically modified male mosquitoes (that do not bite) and have a special gene that prevents female offspring from surviving to adulthood, while the new males grow up. Over time, the number of female Aedes Aegypti declines. Although they have received the EPA permit, they still need local permits to actually be able to release them. As the particular mosquitos (Aedes Aegypti) spread northward in the summer of 2018, it became a major concern because of the Zika virus that causes birth defects in pregnant women who become infected.

Today, with less favorable mosquito conditions, the coronavirus, and civil unrest the worry over the Zika virus mosquitoes has dropped out of public concern and attention, but that doesn’t mean the issue has gone away.

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