Last fall, South Carolina public health officials ramped up efforts to kill mosquitos that caused an outbreak of the Zika virus. Early Sunday morning, the time of day when Zika mosquitos are active, officials sprayed a conventional insecticide by air over a 15-mile square area. By Monday morning, the mosquitos were dead, but so were many millions of honey bees in the most pronounced incident of inadvertent collateral damage of 2016.
The incident illustrates one of the shortcomings of prevailing technology among insecticides, and why Valent BioSciences’ strategy for wide-area larvicide spraying is giving hope to public health officials who seek to conquer Zika and other mosquito-born diseases.
The traditional way to control adult mosquitoes is to “fog” an area with a broad spectrum insecticide, but to do so in the evening, when mosquitoes are most active, and beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies are not. Spreading insecticides targeting adult mosquitoes during evening hours keeps the insecticide floating in the air close to the ground where some mosquitoes live.
Zika-vectoring mosquitoes, however, are active during daylight hours along with bees and other beneficial insects.
Valent’s VectoBac larvicide, coupled with an innovative wide area spray technology platform, meets this challenge by delivering a highly targeted biorational insecticide directly into the tiny, hard-to-reach volumes of water where these mosquitoes breed.
Based on Bacillus thuringiensis subsp, israelensis (StrainAM65-52)., VectoBac has little to no impact on non-target organisms including mammals and beneficial insects such as pollinators.