This Company Just Released 20 Million Mosquitoes in California—and the Reason May Surprise You

Updated: Jul. 24, 2017

These mosquitoes don't want to suck your blood.

This--Company-Just-Released-20-Million-Mosquitoes-in-California-492084520-frank60frank60/shutterstockMosquitoes like some people more than others. But regardless of your status or non-status as a mosquito magnet, you can agree that the winged things can be a real nuisance. So it may seem odd to you when you hear about Alphabet Inc releasing 20 million mosquitoes in Fresno, California.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, the massive mosquito release is actually meant to curb the mosquito population. All 20 million of the bugs released are males and are infected with a bacteria which prevents female mosquitos from laying live eggs.

In the meanwhile, doesn’t the population surge mean more bug bites for the local residents? No, actually, because only female mosquitos bite. And they don’t bite just because they’re hungry, but because the blood is needed to successfully grow and hatch eggs.

The mosquitoes will be released at a rate of one million per week for 20 weeks across two 300-acre neighborhoods in Fresno.

If the experiment proves successful, it could potentially be implemented on a larger scale to help combat the steadily rising mosquito population.   

Mosquitoes are known to carry viruses like West Nile and Zika—but there are some easy ways to prevent mosquito bites. And if you do get a bug bite, whatever you do, try not to scratch it.