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Learn More About Irradiation

What is irradiation? 

Irradiation, such as with gamma rays and X-rays, is used to sterilize mass-reared insects so that, while they remain sexually competitive, they cannot produce offspring. SIT does not involve transgenic (genetic engineering) processes. 

 

What is the process of irradiation?  

Large numbers of mosquitoes are raised in a lab. Male mosquito pupae are separated from female pupae. Males are irradiated, using ionizing radiation, to make them sterile. Male mosquitoes are bred and sterilized using the same radiation found in x-rays. Males are then regularly released to mate with wild females. The resulting eggs will not hatch.  

Process of Irradiating Male Mosquitoes for Mosquito Control
Step by step process of the irradiation technique for mosquito control

 ​​Is it harmful to humans or other animals? 

The EPA evaluated the potential risk of releasing GM mosquitoes into communities and determined that there is no risk to people, animals, or the environment. 

For more information: EPA’s Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessmentexternal icon

 

Will this method help decrease disease outbreaks? 

Releasing males that are irradiated is not intended to stop an outbreak. However, releasing these types of mosquitoes over several months can reduce the number of specific mosquito species, such as the invasive Aedes mosquito which can transmit diseases.  

 

What can I do as a resident to help OCMVCD to help combat this invasive species? 

Mosquito control is a shared responsibility. Everyone must take charge of their yard and eliminate standing water and unneeded containers weekly. Residents can sign up to become a mosquito advocate in their neighborhood to educate their community: https://www.ocvector.org/become-a-neighborhood-advocate