Mosquitoes are the bane of summer. There's no surer way to ruin outdoor fun than to be dive-bombed by a horde of these biting buggers, which cause angry red welts that can leave you miserably itchy for a week or more. But a newly published study in the scientific journal Nature has found a way to eliminate mosquito bites almost completely.
While these flying menaces are certainly a nuisance here in the U.S., spoiling many a barbecue and beach day, in several parts of the world mosquitoes can be much more dangerous—and even fatal. The World Health Organization has actually declared the mosquito "one of the deadliest animals in the world," with the ability to spread serious diseases—like malaria, dengue, yellow fever, zika, and West Nile virus—that cause millions of deaths around the globe every year.
How the Experiment Worked
Population control is the most effective way to stop mosquito-borne diseases, according to the American Mosquito Control Association. This new study's experiment took place on two islands in southern China, which had a large population of the Asian Tiger mosquito, a highly invasive species that has proven especially difficult to eradicate using traditional methods like pesticides. According to the report in CNN, the islands' population of Asian Tiger mosquitoes was almost entirely wiped out when scientists infected males with a particular bacteria and sterilized females with low-level radiation, then released both during peak breeding season. This reduced the islands' female population of the mosquito, which are the main source of bites and disease transmission, by a whopping 94 percent, and reduced the number of reported bites by an amazing 97 percent.
How to Save Your Summer
Hopefully the results of this important study will have wide-ranging benefits for the rest of the world. But in the meantime, there's a lot you can do to help prevent mosquitoes from ruining your summer right in your own backyard: traditional bug spray, of course, but also bug-repelling plants, candles, tech devices, even incense sticks. Here are even more mosquito-repelling products to try:
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