A giant technology company will release up to 20 million bacteria-filled, buzzing mosquitoes this summer in Fresno, California.
That’s supposed to be a good thing.
The bug campaign, which starts Friday, is part of a plan by Alphabet Inc.’s Verily Life Sciences unit. Reared by machines, the male mosquitoes are infected with a bacteria that, while harmless to humans, creates nonhatching dead eggs when they mate with wild females — hopefully cutting the mosquito population and the transmission of the diseases they carry.
The swarm’s target is Aedes aegypti, a mosquito breed that carries viruses like zika, dengue, and chikungunya. They’re an invasive species in California’s Central Valley, first arriving in Fresno in 2013.