There are several different techniques using Wolbachia to control mosquito disease transmission. Some techniques look to suppress the overall population while others look to replace the current population with a mosquito that is less capable of transmitting disease.
Regardless of the end goal, Wolbachia has been successfully used around the globe to reduce mosquito populations that transmit deadly human diseases such as dengue and Zika. In the continental United States, homeowners in Kentucky can now purchase regular releases of Wolbachia-incompatible mosquitoes to reduce the presence of Asian tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus) around their homes.
A map showing the uses of Wolbachia in various mosquito techniques such as Sterile Insect Technique, Incompatible Insect Technique, and the Wolbachia replacement technique.
These successes came only after rigorous testing, in compliance with established regulatory requirements. Hawaiʻi has the opportunity to learn from these efforts, build off what is already known, and adapt this technique to help prevent the extinction of our endangered native honeycreepers by reducing the chance they will get avian malaria.