A world without mosquitoes?

Wouldn’t you like to hit the mosquitoes back? Well, my friends, science is here to help.

You’ve probably heard public health experts advising you to empty water containers around your yard to help limit mosquito activity. Did you ever wonder why? It’s because certain kinds of mosquitoes like to lay their eggs in stagnant water.

If this water evaporates before the eggs hatch and the larvae complete their life cycle — or if you dump out that overturned Frisbee that collects rainwater — they die. No baby bloodsuckers. Can I get a amen?

Here in the United States one of the most common permanent water mosquitoes is the southern house mosquito, known scientifically as a Culex mosquito. These little buggers can carry St. Louis Encephalitis and West Nile Virus. So not only are they annoying, they can be deadly.

Which is why some scientists from India are awesome.

The scientists were trying to take various pictures of zebrafish, which like to eat mosquitoes. So the scientists treated mosquitoes with tiny carbon nanoparticles that could dissolve in water. These particles, once eaten by the fish, helped illuminate the insides of the fish.

What the scientists noticed is that even at small concentrations the nanoparticles blocked development of the eggs laid by the treated mosquitoes. Made by burning wood, and treating them with nitric acid, the nanoparticles would be relatively cheap to mass produce.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Releasing tiny, reproductive-blocking nanomaterials into the environment — what could possibly go wrong?

There are definitely environmental concerns when it comes to nanotechnology. And scientists are going to have to study the safety of widely distributing these nanoparticles into the environment.

But really, a world without mosquitoes? I’d look into it.

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