CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A new technique to eradicate mosquitos by breeding and releasing millions of infertile males is causing a buzz in the Carolinas, as concerns about the West Nile virus grow.
“It's just kind of scary that a lot of people are just getting nervous about the unknown,” said Carl Giles, GM of Charlotte-based Mosquito Authority.
“Mosquitoes kill about 1 million people every year.”
A dead bird in Columbia, S.C. was confirmed to have West Nile.
And experts say it’s possible that mosquitos carrying the disease could move into the Charlotte area.
“It's very serious because it's coming up the east coast,” Giles said.
As concern grows nationally, many are turning their attention to Fresno, Calif., where a company just started testing a new way to get rid of mosquitos.
Google sister company Verily came up with the idea: to breed millions of infertile male mosquitos, load them into vans and release them.
Males don’t bite, carry disease, or lay eggs, so the company says it’s low-risk to the public. They will still breed with the females.
“The females will lay eggs but the eggs will never hatch then we can eventually eliminate a local population,” company affiliates explained in a video posted to YouTube.
“Males don't bite there's no risk,” Giles added.
Giles says they’d be willing to test it out in the Charlotte area.
“Anything that we can do in general to reduce mosquito population would be willing to try,” he said.
The company says they’re targeting so-called ‘bad’ mosquitos, breeds that usually carry disease because killing them ALL could disrupt the ecosystem.
The program in Fresno started this week and will continue through the summer.
Local county officials did not comment on whether or not they’d consider a similar program.
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