Some arthropods are vectors for pathogens, meaning they possess the capacity to transmit infectious agents to humans and other organisms. Nowadays, nearly 200 million people are infected by these vectors every year with parasites, viruses and nematodes. As a result of these infections, hundreds of thousands, mostly young African children, die annually. Additionally, some pathogens inflict severe lifelong disabilities that are associated with social stigma when visible (such as in the cases of elephantiasis or leishmaniosis).
Among these vectors, mosquitoes are one of the most “dangerous”. For example, they are vectors for pathogens causing Malaria, Elephantiasis and a bunch of viruses such as Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya, Yellow fever, West Nile, etc.
So far, the attempts to curb these diseases rely intensely on the use of insecticides. However, in light of the spread of resistance towards these compounds, it is clear that insecticides alone cannot provide long-term solutions. The development of alternatives and complementary approaches are required. On top of that, insecticides have low specificity, killing a broad range of insects with important effects on biodiversity. And to be fair, there are more than 3,500 mosquito’s species and only few of them are vectors for human diseases. And we cannot forget, mosquitoes play an important role in the ecosystems as pollinators and food supply for other organisms, so we need to find adequate control policies that consider public health as well as the environmental impact.