Students take on Wolbachia challenge

More than 100 school students will begin rearing their own Wolbachia mosquitoes this week, with the launch of the “Wolbachia Warriors” program in Townsville, Australia.

The students, aged from five to 12 years old, will rear and release Wolbachia mosquitoes in their gardens at home over the next nine weeks as part of this fun, applied science project. Each student has received a special kit, containing Wolbachia mosquito eggs, a mosquito release container and mosquito food, along with a project booklet and calendar to track the development of their mosquitoes.

Our Townsville team is working closely with Hermit Park State School to carry out the world-first program and principal Clayton Carnes said the students were excited about getting started.

“This program is a unique opportunity for students to learn about science in a fun, hands-on way that complements their education while helping the community,” Mr Carnes said.

“We have a culture of innovation at our school, so it’s incredible that our students have the chance to broaden their scientific knowledge through this new and exciting research project.”

The school-based program is part of our broader Townsville field trial, which involves releases across a number of suburbs. We hope the students’ releases will contribute to establishing Wolbachia in the local Aedes aegypti mosquito population, which we expect will reduce the risk of dengue transmission in the area.

Parents, teachers and community members have been eager to take part in the program, and we greatly appreciate their continued support.

We hope the Townsville Wolbachia Warriors program will serve as a stepping stone towards similar school programs in dengue-affected countries around the world.

For more information about the program, see our Wolbachia Warriors page.