Viruses transmitted by mosquitoes such as dengue, Zika and West Nile cause a threat to global health due to increased geographical range and frequency of outbreaks. The bacterium Wolbachia pipientis may be the solution reducing disease transmission. Though commonly missing in vector species, the bacterium was artificially and stably introduced into Aedes aegypti to assess its potential for biocontrol. When infected with Wolbachia, mosquitoes become refractory to infection by a range of pathogens, including the aforementioned viruses. How the bacterium is conferring this phenotype remains unknown. Here we discuss current hypotheses in the field for the mechanistic basis of pathogen blocking and evaluate the evidence from mosquitoes and related insects.