Zapped: The Buzz About Mosquitoes is about our battle to prevent mosquitoes from spreading disease. It’s also about their exquisite biology, shown with extreme close-up photography. The tone is whimsical, as we learn more about the female mosquito. And it’s serious as we see the diseases she spreads.
When a female mosquito is sucking your blood, it’s difficult to appreciate her. But she is one of just a small proportion of the 3500 known mosquito species that blood-feed. Even fewer transmit diseases. Culex mosquitoes are the most dangerous in Canada because they transmit the West Nile virus. For now, it’s controlled. The big challenge comes from the Anopheles and Aedes mosquitoes that spread the malaria parasite and viruses such as dengue.
The documentary shows what scientists are doing to prevent that. One is attaching electrodes to mosquitoes’ antennae to find out which of our chemicals they’re attracted to. Another is infecting thousands of mosquitoes with the malaria parasite, and then dissecting their guts to learn more about the disease transmission process. Some are tracking dangerous mosquitoes in Canada; others are finding out where dengue-bearing mosquitoes are breeding and wreaking havoc in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
What’s the ultimate weapon in the battle against mosquitoes? Once it was DDT. These days, some believe it’s genetic modification. But it might simply be bed nets, and window and door screens. They’re separating dangerous mosquitoes from us – and saving lives.
Zapped: The Buzz About Mosquitoes is an up-close look at the increasing power this tiny insect has to survive, adapt, and unwittingly infect the whole world. But, we’re smarter than they are, aren’t we?