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A whopping 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes are going to be released in Florida. Yes, 750 million. And yes, genetically modified.

Sounds like something out of a science fiction book or movie, right? It’s true and is actually being done intentionally! Local officials in Florida have approved the release of the modified mosquitoes. The goal of this is to reduce the local populations of mosquitoes that carry diseases which can infect people.

Male mosquitoes actually don’t bite people—they feed on flower nectar. Female mosquitoes are the ones who bite people and require blood to produce their eggs.

So the plan in Florida is to release the male, modified mosquitoes and let them breed with the wild female mosquitoes in the hopes that only the males will survive to pass on the genes. The plan is to release the mosquitoes next spring in the Florida Keys.

While some people are optimistic about the goals of the release, others have questioned the plan. These people have expressed concern about damage to ecosystems and the potential for creating a mosquito that is more RESISTANT to insecticides.

For most people, mosquitoes are just a minor annoyance that can leave short-term itchy spots on the skin. Unfortunately, mosquitoes also carry a wide variety of diseases, including malaria, yellow fever, West Nile virus, and Dengue fever.

There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world and about 200 of those species live in the United States! In Arizona, mosquitos are most abundant between March and October, but they can be active year-round in parts of our state.

There are a few simple things you can do to help minimize your exposure to these pesky bugs. Mosquitos are weak fliers, so an oscillating fan can be an effective tool in keeping them at bay. Minimizing the standing water around your home and empty buckets and containers is a good idea, as is removing the unnecessary junk and waste if you have a yard. Things that you wouldn’t even expect, like old tires, can be sneaky hiding areas for mosquitoes.

Actress Yifei Liu as MulanMovie Theaters Are Ready to Reopen!

Big movies are coming back to the big screen…and your living room.

For many people, summer includes swimming to stay cool and checking out the latest movie at the local theater for some popcorn and frosty air conditioning.

This summer certainly looked different for a lot of people as COVID-19 shut down theaters and film companies for most of 2020. The good news for movie fans is that theaters are reopening and moviemakers are coming up with new ways to get films in front of audiences.

Harkins Theaters reopened all of its Arizona locations on Aug. 28. They will be showing a mix of some older movies and new releases and using strategies to help moviegoers stay safe that is becoming more familiar to all of us: requiring face masks, offering sanitizing stations throughout the theater, and requiring reserved seating to ensure social distancing.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas and FatCats have also opened their auditoriums in recent days, and AMC reopened all 12 of its Arizona theaters on Sept. 3. Like Harkins, these theaters are all taking precautions to help keep customers safe.

AMC’s reopening date coincides with the release date of a blockbuster PG-13 movie, “Tenet.” But that may not be the biggest movie of the month if Disney has its way. “Mulan” is now streaming on Disney+. For $30, viewers can access the Premier Access feature to watch “Mulan” as often as they want as long as they subscribe to Disney+.

“Mulan” was originally supposed to premiere earlier in the year, but its release was delayed because of the pandemic that required theaters to close. Disney has not yet announced whether other movies will be released directly to viewers to watch from their living rooms or whether this will be a one-time type of distribution. There are still some places where the movie is being released in theaters. In places where theaters have been able to reopen and Disney+ is unavailable, like China, Disney is releasing the film to the big screen.

Edition: 
Phoenix
Tucson
Issue: 
September 2020