The parent company of Google has built a robot that can grow and release 1 million mosquitoes a week into environments in California.
The mosquitoes are male, so they won’t bite anyone, but they are also sterile so they can’t breed.
The exercise is part of a mission to curb growth of disease by controlling populations of the insects. Killing as many as 800,000 people a year, mosquitoes are by far the deadliest animal on earth.
Verily, the health division of Alphabet, created the machine which breeds mosquitoes, selects the males and infects them with a bacteria called Wolbachia which prevents them from breeding. The bacteria is deemed harmless to humans and other animals.
Once the swarms are released into the environment, where they compete with and hopefully outnumber fertile male mosquitoes, leading the wild females to breed unsusccessfully.
Over the next 20 weeks, the plan is to release 20 million Aedes aegypti mosquitoes which can carry illnesses such as Zika, Yellow and Dengue fever.