Health officials plan long-term biological controls

The health ministry is promoting the use of natural predators to kill mosquito larvae. Officials call it biological control, but the proposals are less controversial than the use of genetically modified and sterile male mosquitoes.

Another zika story HERE!

The Ministerio de Salud said it is joining with the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía to combat the Aedes aegypti larvae. The plan involves using small fish that feed on the larvae as well as small crustaceans that like the larvae as well. The mosquitoes carry the zika virus as well as dengue and the malaria parasite.

Also being promoted is the use of a spinosad-based insecticide derived from the bacterium Saccharopolyspora spinosa. The insecticide comes in tablets that are suitable for placing in water tanks and other standing water.

Another bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis israeliensis, also kills the larvae.

Health officials said they like the use of these long-term mosquito controls because they are effective and not expansive. The fish,  crustaceans and some of the bacteria reproduce.

In addition, the creatures are not harmful to water destined for human consumption.

However, the health ministry said that these controls do not substitute for protecting the body with repellents and for eliminating the places where mosquitoes breed.

The environmental ministry said that protecting streams and rivers from soaps and chemicals is important so that the beneficial creatures are not destroyed.

Health officials in some countries are releasing genetically modified sterile mosquitoes to mate with the insect females, but some environmentalists have raised objections to the plans.

This entry was posted in Costa Rica News. Bookmark the permalink.