EPA Requests Comment on the Proposed Registration of New Biopesticide to Help Control Spread of Zika and Other Viruses

Mosquito control products can be detrimental to honey bee health. The EPA is seeking comments on a new program that would release bioinfected male mosquitos to help reduce populations of mosquitos carrying the Zika virus. If effective, such bioremedies could reduce the reliance on pesticides.

report courtesy of the EPA


EPA is proposing to register ZAP Males®, a new microbial biopesticide that reduces local populations of Aedes albopictus (Asian Tiger) mosquitoes, which have the ability to spread numerous diseases of significant human health concern, including the Zika virus.

The registration would allow MosquitoMate, Inc. to sell the Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes (ZAP Males®) in the District of Columbia (DC) and the following states: California (CA), Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), Illinois (IL), Indiana (IN), Kentucky (KY), Massachusetts (MA), Maine (ME), Maryland (MD), Missouri (MO), New Hampshire (NH), New Jersey (NJ), Nevada (NV), New York (NY), Ohio (OH), Pennsylvania (PA), Rhode Island (RI), Tennessee (TN), Vermont (VT), and West Virginia (WV). Male mosquitoes do not bite people.

ZAP Males® are live male mosquitoes that are infected with the ZAP strain, a particular strain of the Wolbachia bacterium. Wolbachia are naturally occurring bacteria commonly found in most insect species. The ZAP strain is extracted from a different type of mosquito (than Aedes albopictus) and then introduced into Aedes albopictus embryos. Infected males mate with females, which then produce offspring that do not survive. With continued releases of the ZAP Males®, local Aedes albopictus populations decrease.

EPA’s risk assessments, along with the proposed pesticide labeling and EPA’s response to public comments on the application for registration of this product, are available for public comment until September, 27, 2017. They can be found on www.regulations.gov by searching under docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2016-0205.