It was standing room only at the annual conference of the American Mosquito Control Association this week. In a chilly convention center ballroom here, the leading lights of mosquito control gathered, as they do every year, to talk about bugs and new ways to get rid of them. But this year an ominous urgency infused the session. Mosquitoes in this hemisphere have an unpredictable new weapon, the Zika virus — a threat that left the participants comparing notes like field commanders before summer battle.

Nearly a year after the first cases of Zika were diagnosed in Brazil, the virus, which is suspected to cause birth defects and other neurological problems, is bearing down on American shores. It is already in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. There have been more than 50 cases of Americans infected abroad, and most experts believe that by summer, the continental United States will have some of its own homegrown cases, meaning that domestic mosquitoes will have the virus. READ MORE