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Should we use genetically modified mosquitos for abatement?   The Natural You: Wild Kingdom

Started Jun-12 by Showtalk; 316 views.
In reply toRe: msg 3

From: Showtalk 


This site has an active link just about every line, but it bring up good points.

I'd think that the modifications make them less likely to reproduce, so the genetically modified ones will have to be constantly re-introduced to compete with those non-modified.

However, there are always uncertainties as to how the ecosystem will respond. There might be an important niche we are unaware of. However, that conflicts with the need to reduce disease.

But going back a few more steps into evolutionary biology, disease is one of the ways to hold various populations in check and nuisance pests also tend to drive invasive species (even hairless primates) out of the swamps and other areas, or at least keep the numbers from overwhelming the local ecosystems. Of course now with electricity and air conditioning those fetid swamps are no longer natural obstacles to settlement and building of vast cities.


From: Showtalk 


They must have looked at all possible outcomes and think the benefits outweigh the risks.

Since the female offspring fathered by the genetically modified male mosquitoes don't survive, it results in a population crash. It also eliminates the need for pesticides that kills many beneficial insects as collateral damage.


From: Showtalk 


Then it’s positive unless losing mosquitos destroys the ecosystem in a different way.

Yeah. Presently there's no known harm but you never really know.

Speaking of killing a lot of very unwanted insects, there is a video called "Drone vs Bald Faced Hornets". Dude flew a fairly big drone right underneath a big hornet nest. The noise of the spinning propellers made the hornets angry. They all tried to swarm the drone, and they kept hitting the spinning blades and going splat.

The blades were spinning fast enough to sling all the bug juice off and not affect their aerodynamic lift. The angry hornets came wave after wave, trying to sting the drone, which just methodically chopped them up, until after nearly 5 minutes or so, the nest was effectively devoid of hornets. The pilot landed the drone about a hundred yards away and the video ends showing the entire drone just dripping with hornet bits.

Jeri (azpaints)

From: Jeri (azpaints) 


Our county sprays for mosquito control and the spray has other negative effects.  It can kill certain plants, make dogs and cats sick.  In AZ mosquitos carry West Nile which we had to deal with as horse owners.

I remember in the 1960s in the summers how the fogging machine went down the various alleys every evening to kill mosquitoes and whatever else would bug you trying to spend an evening in the back yard, such as cooking out.


From: Showtalk 


That is a disturbing image.

As a pre-schooler through about 2nd grade, I thought it was fascinating. I remember climbing to the top of our concrete block fence, which had an alcove that kept the trash barrels out of the alley right of way but easily accessed by the garbage collectors. This alcove wall was just the right height for my 7.5 year old self to get on top of, stand on it, and thus be able to get onto the roughly 7 foot high back fence, and stand on its 8 inch wide top, or sit on it, and watch the fogging machine.

It was just a trailer with a tank and a heater and some kind of blower. It looked like it had a pipe about 8 inches across that stuck out the back, and made a distinct whirring whooshing noise. I think it had a propane tank on it as well, which fueled a small engine that drove a powerful fan. It probably used the exhaust from the engine as a vapor superheater.

My best guess based on memory of what I saw looking closely at the machine, is it seemed to have these little tubes that went into the exhaust pipe from the engine that powered everything. The tubes first went into some kind of fire box - it had a burner in it, because I could see a blue flame through some cracks / air gaps in the sides of it.

The engine would pump the pesticide / oil mix through the tubing, which would then get heated really hot - maybe around 600 degrees or so. The exhaust and this high pressure hot spray would be injected into the air that was sucked through the fan, at a temperature not hot enough to actually ignite it, and this would discharge a very dense white cloud as it drove down the alley.

The "fog" would swirl into all the neighborhood back yards. I distinctly remember it had an oily but kind of clean, smell - and I suspect it was mostly diesel mixed with DDT.

It also could have been "sweet" crude oil, rather than more expensive refined fuel, as the oil wells all around us produced a light weight oil that could be cheaply heated to drive off the "drip gas" or lighter hydrocarbons, and those could be fed straight into the engine, while the heavier components just get hot enough to make a very fine mist after being combined with pesticide.

I thought the thing that actually put out the "fog" bore a striking resemblance to a small jet engine, and it had a whoosh like some kind of internal fan blades that were spinning a lot faster than a normal fan but nowhere as fast as an actual jet compressor or turbine.

Closest thing I've seen in the past 25 years or so, is a snow making machine. these have high horsepower electric motors that spin a set of blades that have stationary vanes so the air velocity is maximized, and a ring of high pressure injectors that spray hot water into the cold air on the mountain. The droplets vaporize and raise the humidity of the air, and passage through the fans almost instantly drops temperatures well below the dew point, which is already far below freezing. The vapor freezes directly into snowflakes, which the air stream now carries up to 50 meters or so where they fall as manmade snow on the ski slopes.

They might have dozens of these machines on a major ski resort mountain that run all night while it is bitter cold, building up fresh powder for the next days' skiers.