Mosquitoes are the worst. They're a complete waste of biomass and they're annoying. And now, private companies want to decimate the mosquito population by releasing millions of modified mosquitoes into the wild. True story. Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest animals on earth. The World Health Organization's 1996 World Health Report said 2.7 million deaths annually could be pegged to these suckers.
The numbers have dropped since that '96 report, but solid numbers are hard to find, with some saying it's now only several hundred thousand -- which is still a lot. Of course, mosquitoes don't kill people directly. Nobody's ever been sucked bone dry by a swarm of mosquitoes outside of the B-movie horror script I'm writing. Mosquitoes kill so many people, because they're carriers of diseases like malaria, dengue, and zika.
They're also really hard to control. We can't just pesticide them into oblivion because we'll kill a lot of other bugs indiscriminately and damage the ecosystem. And eliminating where they breed by draining or treating every puddle of standing water is totally impractical. So we need a different approach. A couple different companies have come up with basically the same idea.