Launching sterile tiger mosquitoes in the province to tackle the plague

This project is developed in Vilavella and Betxí and the diptera that are released do not bite

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Ending the tiger mosquito naturally. It seems a chimera, but the Valencian Institute of Agrarian Research (IVIA) is willing to get it or, at least, to try it. This is the objective of the pilot project consisting of the launching of thousands of sterilized diptera , of this invasive species, which the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment has begun to develop in Vilavella .

This population of La Plana Baixa has been chosen by the IVIA to continue with the research of a method that has produced "encouraging" results in the Valencian localities of Polinyà and Albalat, where the first phase of this plan was developed, which started in 2017. In addition, the monitoring and control of the results obtained is being carried out from the neighboring town of Betxí .

Fly of the Mediterranean

This method, which is called sterile insect technique (SIT ), is already being used successfully to stop the Mediterranean fly . It consists of the breeding of male insects of the same species to fight that are sterilized by irradiation in the premises of the IVIA, in the Valencian town of Montcada, and, then, massively liberated in the area of ​​action, in this case, in the Vilavella . The sterile males mate with wild females , but the eggs laid by them are unviable, which prevents their offspring. A very important fact is that the males do not itch, they are the only ones that cause during the summer months annoying redness.

Currently, the presence of this invasive species in the province spreads out of control and is already located in 69 municipalities , mostly in the coastal strip, but also in inland areas.

Natural technique

The general director of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the Valencian Community, Roger Llanes , has explained the details of this initiative, which will be developed until next year with a budget close to 800,000 euros . "It is an appropriate technique to fight against this species, which is expanding, in a natural and innocuous way," he said, while stressing that, without doubt, the ultimate goal is "to eradicate this plague" in the Region. Valenciana
«After the first phase that gave encouraging results in terms of its effectiveness, we decided to develop the technique on a larger surface and, due to its characteristics, Vilavella was chosen to carry out the launch, and Betxí, where it is carried out. the entire control process, "said Llanes.

The method proposes to launch thousands of sterile tiger mosquitoes in the municipality of Vilavella, placing traps to monitor their proliferation, although these will also be implemented in the neighboring town of Betxí to monitor the entire process and check whether the catches are of wild or sterile mosquito and if there is a variation in the population of this invasive species. According to studies, to ensure the effectiveness of the technique, it is required to throw between three and six sterile mosquitoes for each wild one.