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Date: 06-16-2017

Biotechnology company opens mosquito factory in Lexington

A Lexington biotechnology company aimed at fighting mosquito-borne diseases such as the Zika virus opened a mosquito factory Wednesday on Malabu Drive.

MosquitoMate, founded by University of Kentucky entomology professor Stephen Dobson, will use the 6,000-square-foot space to raise millions of sterile, non-biting mosquitoes that will act as a “biopesticide” against other mosquitoes that sometimes carry infectious diseases. The company opened a research and development center on Regency Road four years ago, Dobson said.

According to MosquitoMate, the new lab will be able to raise more than 50 million eggs and three million male mosquitoes per week. Those male Asian tiger mosquitoes, or ZAP mosquitoes, do not bite and are sterile, so when they mate with a female mosquito, her eggs will not hatch. 

The company and its partners have conducted successful trials in California, New York and Lexington that dramatically decreased the population of biting mosquitoes, according to a news release.

MosquitoMate grew out of research done at UK.

Dobson said MosquitoMate has been operating under an experimental use permit for the last few years, and the Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing its research.

If approved by the EPA, the company plans to sell its mosquitoes to homeowners, “ the people this technology is intended to serve,” he said.

“MosquitoMate has very much to be thankful for,” Dobson said. “We have come very far in just a few years.”

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and UK President Eli Capilouto attended the ceremony and noted the potential economic impact of the company, which plans to add 12 jobs at its new location. The company now has 10 employees.

“This story is a Kentucky story, a story of momentum,” Capilouto said. “There’s a lot more that can come out of the University of Kentucky.”

By Monica Kast
Lexington Herald-Leader

 

Date: 05-30-2017

The finches are chirping again — a sound that didn’t seem likely days earlier when the birds were apparently abandoned along with dozens of other exotic animals at Backwoods Pets on Louisville Road in Frankfort.

“When the finches cluster like that and chirp, that’s a happy sound,” said Jean Unglaub, volunteer coordinator at the Franklin County Humane Society.

Humane Society workers confiscated the animals on Saturday after a customer of Backwoods Pets alerted authorities upon finding the store’s door locked and seeing animals inside without food or water, said Shelter Manager Nancy Benton.

The birds — 45 in all — are now being housed in an upstairs room away from the barks and meows of animals that might stress them. The Humane Society, which is not typically equipped to deal with feathered visitors, is soliciting donations of perches for birds.

Some 49 rats as well as various rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, a chinchilla and a brown basilisk — which Benton likens to the Geico mascot — are also being temporarily housed at the Franklin County Humane Society, which has been overwhelmed by the influx of nontraditional pets. Other animals confiscated in the raid, including tropical fish and assorted reptiles, are being temporarily fostered at Petco and other partners of the Humane Society.

“It’s a matter of moving them into safety and getting them there as soon as possible,” said Unglaub, who is also soliciting donations of small rodent cages.

By Alfred Miller
The State Journal

 

Date: 03-23-2017

Wild time at Pikeville Walmart

“When I saw it (the deer) a lady was trying to hold it down, it kept trying to get up but the floor was too slick for the deer to stand,” Mahan said. “When I saw it (the deer) a lady was trying to hold it down, it kept trying to get up but the floor was too slick for the deer to stand,” Mahan said.


A female whitetail deer was found inside the Pikeville Walmart on Sunday. Fish and Wildlife were called to the scene and were able to securely remove the deer from the location. They were able to successfully release her back into the wild without injury.

Brook Mahan was shopping in the store when she noticed the deer by the front doors.

“When I saw it (the deer) a lady was trying to hold it down, it kept trying to get up but the floor was too slick for the deer to stand,” Mahan said. She was able to take a picture of the lady stabilizing the deer by the front of the store. She said “it kept flopping around for a few minutes, then it managed to get up and move toward the grocery section of the store.”

Other customers said they noticed the deer walking in close proximity to the front of the store, in the parking lot, just minutes before the news spread that there was in fact a deer being held down inside. 

Adam Newsome was shopping with his young son, Max Newsome when they saw Fish and Wildlife working to remove the deer from the store. 

“I was really impressed with how the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife handled the situation, they were really good with the deer, and they kept it calm,” Newsome said. “It was a real feel good story, and my son got the biggest kick out of it ever.”

Many customers took to social media with pictures of the small deer being detained in the housewares department of the store. Customers were able to keep the deer stationary until the authorities arrived and were able to remove her.

 By Zach Brown
Appalachian News-Express