Researchers from University of Miami revealed that ornamental bromeliad plants are responsible for breeding of mosquitos in Miami.
The outbreak of Zika from Aedes aegypti mosquito bites hit Miami-Dade County in 2016. The other diseases caused due to Aedes aegypti mosquito are dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya. These vector borne diseases pose a serious threat to public health. Researchers from University of Miami have revealed that Ornamental bromeliads are contributing to the growth of Aedes aegypti mosquitos in the region.
According to the study, water accumulated in the bromeliads’ leaf axils works as a breeding site for mosquitos. Different varieties of bromeliads are common throughout Miami and Florida as it is a popular choice for landscaping. An extensive survey by the researchers in collaboration with Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control discovered presence of immature mosquitos at 51 locations in Miami-Dade. The reservoirs of the plants were drained and screened for larvae. Around 750 immature mosquitoes from five different species were found and Aedes aegypti was the most common of them all.
The researchers recommend that destroying the plant was not the solution. However, the understanding of how mosquitos reproduce and bromeliads gather nutrients to grow can aid in controlling mosquito breeding. “Environmental changes due to human intervention has impacted the ecology of mosquitos, which has resulted in dominant presence of the Aedes aegypti species in bromeliads”, said John Beier, Sc.D., a Miller School entomologist. The study was published in the journal Parasites & Vectors on June 15, 2018. Vector-mosquito suppression efforts were initiated since the Zika outbreak in 2016, by Dade County Mosquito Control in collaboration with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The University of Miami acted as research partner and dealt with mosquito mapping, surveillance and trapping.