Fighting Insects with Arachnids
As we fight against mosquitoes and their deadly diseases, we may have formed a surprised alliance with creatures of a smaller size that can pack a punch. Researchers have recently been working on a fungus that can kill mosquitoes, that is packed with toxins from spiders and scorpions. Here’s an article with more information about the discovery.
HUMANS HAVE TRIED A LOT of things to kill or repel mosquitoes. Pesticides, citronella candles, smelly DEET spray, and, most recently, gene drives have all been used on the pesky, disease-carrying insects. Scientists have now developed a promising new weapon in the war on mosquitoes, a fungus armed with spider and scorpion venom.
This is a genetically modified fungus that only has an impact on mosquitoes.
It sounds concerning to be releasing such toxins into the wild, however, other insects are unaffected by the fungus, and further tests are being carried out.
To ensure that the genes couldn’t be released in the environment or in other animals, a highly specific promoter sequence was inserted so the toxins would only be activated in insect blood. Tests were carried out on local bees by exposing them to the spores. After two weeks, no local bees died as a result of spore exposure.
We will bring you more on this discovery as it evolves, but for now keep up to date with your mosquito control, clear standing water and don’t let these pests take residency around your home.