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Saturday, September 8, 2012 - 00:00
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Researchers at New Mexico State University are studying a technique to help reduce the mosquito population without using harmful pesticides.
Researcher Immo Hansen said there are two common mosquitos in Southern New Mexico, the yellow fever mosquito and the southern house mosquito, both could potentially carry disease.
"The best method to prevent these diseases is to kill the vector and that is the mosquito," Hansen said.
Hansen said the life cycle of a mosquito is not very long.
Only female mosquitos draw blood and develop eggs that are deposited in water.
In about a week, new adult mosquitos are born and it takes them about two or three days before they can take blood.
During those three days the mosquito looks to reproduce.
That reproduction process is what Hansen is hoping to stop through the sterile insect technique.
"We produce a lot of male mosquitos, sterilize them and then we release them," Hansen said.
The male mosquitos will then mate but will not be able to fertilize any females resulting in no new mosquitos.
Hansen said the best way to curb the problem is to get rid of standing water.
The sterile mosquitos are still being lab tested and are still some time away before they can be introduced into the environment.