Trapping Mosquitos to Save Native Birds

Mosquitos are more than just a blood-sucking nuisance. They’re a significant invasive species that can spread avian malaria and pose a threat to endemic birds. To combat this threat, the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project (MFBRP) has been setting traps on the North Shore, trying to capture male Southern house mosquitos.

Courtesy Flickr / seanmccann

The idea, explained MFBRP coordinator Hanna Mounce, is to release these “incompatible males” into the wild, where they will breed with females that will then not lay viable eggs. Over time, this strategy can reduce the mosquito population.

“We need to monitor the success and movement of mosquitoes,” said Mounce. “We’re working in ‘urban’ settings now and hope to duplicate our methods in the mountainous areas of Maui, where Hawaiian honeycreepers, the kiwikiu, are about to go extinct because of malaria.”

Jacob Shafer