Mosquitoes have long been known to carry and transmit a myriad of parasitic and viral diseases including but not limited to malaria, West Nile virus, and yellow fever. As modern science has expanded its knowledge on insect disease transmission, the eradication methods have become increasingly evasive. Mosquito abatement has become a standard practice in many states in the US as well as around the world to help combat the spread of mosquitoes and subsequently the diseases that they carry.
Many different methods of mosquito abatement have been developed over the years. Mosquito abatement consists of eradicating mosquito larva prior to the larva hatching. Mosquitoes generally will be found breeding around standing water where they will lay their eggs. Most abatement methods involve the spraying of harmful chemicals into pools of water where mosquitoes have been breeding. Synthetic chemicals from abatement can cause harm to other plant and animal life in the vicinity to where it’s being used.
A group of researchers trying to find a more environmentally friendly way to eradicate mosquito larva discovered essential oils might be the answer. The researchers used essential oil extract from yarrow, lavender, helichrysum, fennel, myrtle, and rosemary to test the effectiveness of essential oils in mosquito larva eradication. To their amazement, they found that when using helichrysum, yarrow, and fennel as an abatement agent, larva mortality rates ranged from 98.3% to 100%. Lavender, myrtle and rosemary essential oil extracts, although not as successful, still resulted in a 36.7% to 55% mortality rate.
These results are exciting for many reasons. In the developing world mosquito borne diseases still have a deadly impact on the population. The development of a natural, non-synthetically manufactured abatement method would reduce the spread of disease and not negatively impact the environment.
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